Pop rock isn’t quite dead in the world of Korean idols, and K-pop band CNBLUE has been at the forefront of the idol-band movement since their start in 2010. But with the release of their seventh EP 7°CN, the quartet moved slightly away from their soft rock leanings -- which has elicited comparisons to Maroon 5 and Jason Mraz -- to breathe some fresh life into their music with the addition of polished electronic elements.
One of their most innovative album in years, 7°CN is filled with genre-blending tracks. Led by the upbeat synth-rock single “Between Us,” a propulsive fusion of rock 'n' roll and Top 40 dance music, the album also features the brassy funk of “It’s You” and the smooth electronica of “When I Was Young.” CNBLUE's more traditional rock sound can be heard on “Calling You" and “Manito," and the album's final track, the polyrhythmic electronic-acoustic hybrid “Royal Rumble,” which is the Korean version of a track originally unveiled on the band's Japanese Euphoria album last October.
Released on Monday (March 20) in Korea, the new album is the group’s first Korean release since last April’s Blueming. Each of the six tracks were co-written by either CNBLUE's Jung Yonghwa, Lee Jonghyun, or Lee Jungshin along with a team of international producers. Though it's not the first time CNBLUE's turned to EDM, 7°CN as a whole blends together to showcase the group's ability to combine rock music with K-pop's experiment nature. After a tumultuous 2016, which saw both of the group's vocalists Jung and Lee Jonghyun accused of insider trading, the album is a well-needed pick me up that exhibits musical growth from one K-pop rock's most recognizable acts.