Just a little more than a year after their debut in Korea, C.N. Blue has released their first full length album First Step.  The band, made up of members Jung Yong-hwa, Lee Jong-hyun, Kang Min-hyuk, and Lee Jung-shin, held a press conference at the M Pub Project located on the fifth floor of Times Square in Yeongdeungpo, Seoul at 1:00 pm on March 21st,  The press conference was to introduce their efforts to take a step in the direction of becoming more than idols…  the first step to becoming well rounded and respected musicians.

C.N. Blue debuted in January 2010 riding on the wave of Yong-hwa’s new found fame through his acting debut in the Kdrama fan favorite You’re Beautiful and hit a home run with their single “I’m a Loner.”  Their debut led to huge success for the band, but their success was not without controversy as their hit was met with a plagiarism scandal and critics called them a ‘fake’ band for performing unplugged on shows which led drummer Min-hyuk to tears in one interview.  The group had already showcased some of their writing talents with songs like  “Love Light” and “Tattoo” (Yong-hwa), “Sweet Holiday” (lyrics by Min-hyuk) off of their second mini album BlueLove.  With their first full album, the members took on a bigger role in composing and writing their songs.

First Step has 12 tracks on it: 1. 직감 (Intuition), 2. Love Girl, 3. 상상 ( Imagine), 4. I Don’t Know Why, 5. 사랑은 비를 타고 (Love Rides the Rain), 6. Lie, 7. One Time, 8. Just Please, 9. Wanna Be Like U, 10. Ready N Go, 11. 고마워요(Thank You), 12. One of a kind (Bonus Track). The album reached 100,000 units in pre-sales.

Yong-hwa composed the songs “I Don’t Know Why,” “Love Girl,” “Just Please,” and “One Time.”  He also has lyric writing credits for “Imagine,” “Ready N Go,” and the Korean lyrics for the song “Just Please” which was composed by Jong-hyun and previously released as a Japanese single.  Jong-hyun also composed the songs “Love Rides the Rain” and “Thank You.”The boys of Blue worked tirelessly for the past 8 months on their first full album while also being busy with appearances, acting roles, modeling gigs, and appearing on various shows.  The members spent many sleepless nights in preparations for First Step.  Check out the MV for their title track “Intuition.”

I can appreciate an edgier C.N. Blue, conceptually and/or musically, but the whole delinquent vibe of the MV feels more immature to me than the mature concept they were supposingly trying for. I like the song, I especially like the driving guitar, Jung-shin’s awesome bass playing, and Min-hyuuk’s drumtasticness- but I really dislike the ‘step by step’ chorus, it kind of ruins the song for me.  After a first quick listen to the album, I’d have to say that my fave song is “Love Rides the Rain,” which is a beautiful love ballad with Jong-hyun on lead vocals.  I wasn’t blown away by the album after going through all the songs once, but I’m reserving judgement until I can re-listen to it all a couple of times.

C.N. Blue was scheduled to have a ‘guerilla concert’ at 7:00 pm on the 21st to promote the album and treat fans, but the location was a tightly kept secret due to crowd concerns.  They will also begin to promote their new material on the various music shows this week.  The race for the top spot wil be really interesting this week, will Big Bang continue to dominate or will DBSK or C.N. Blue be able to knock them off?

(SportsSeoul, ArtsNews, TheChosunIlbo, FrontierTimes, CNBlueStormTonyKpopMV)