CNBLUE’s ‘Between Us’ music video & song review

CNBLUE’s music has changed greatly over the years and their newest song “Between Us”, released on Mar. 20, adds even more layers to their unique sound. With this new track, they continue to evolve as musicians while still portraying the talented band we all love. Having had their last comeback in April 2016 with “You’re So Fine,” “Between Us” has been highly anticipated by fans the world over. At long last, the wait is over.


Musically speaking, CNBLUE has changed drastically since they first debuted back in 2009. Listening to one of their earlier songs, such as “Love Girl,” and then listening to “Between Us,” the fact that they’re sung by the same band is almost unrecognizable. Over the past couple years, CNBLUE has definitely leaned more towards the pop and electronic side of music, which they’ve added to their rock band roots.

Also on Kultscene: LOONA 1/3’s “Love & Live” Music Video & Song Review

That’s not to say, however, that they’ve lost sight of who they are. “Between Us” has a funky, synthetic sound, but it’s clear that instruments are still an integral aspect of their music, performances, and music videos. Some fans might love their new style, and others may prefer their earlier songs, but by delving more into pop music, their fan base will only continue to grow.

While the song is heavily influenced by electronic beats, some of the strongest aspects of the music are actually the instruments that CNBLUE have made a name for themselves with. Yonghwa’s piano playing and Minhyuk’s drumming in particular stand out and are even highlighted through their contrast to the rapid and sporadic EDM. The lyrics of the song themselves focus on the confusing relationship of two people who are in between being friends and being something more. This concept makes it easy for listeners to relate to the song and the artists themselves, with it being such a universal situation that many people find themselves in.

Music Video

The music video for “Between Us” is pretty typical for CNBLUE. The members played their instruments with vigor in between scenes of them speaking on the telephone with a confusing lover. It was very interesting, however, to see Yonghwa without an instrument. Unfortunately, it came off as a little awkward, as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do with himself, but it was nice to see a different side of him through this video.

Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with the video because while the song is upbeat and exciting, the video felt a bit flat. There was very little interaction between the members, aside from them walking around each other, and there really wasn’t a storyline at all. With the lyrics of the song, the video could’ve been so much more interesting than it was. It wasn’t a bad video per se, but it’s certainly nothing we haven’t seen already from CNBLUE. Videos such as “Love,” “Hey You,” and even more recent releases like “Supernova” have shown much of the same music video formatting as this one. It’s time for them to release a music video in which the members interact with each other a little more.

Also on Kultscene: KCON 2017 Mexico’s M! Countdown Day 1 Concert Recap


“Between Us” is upbeat and both musically and lyrically well-made. It adds yet another dimension to this band’s sound and portrays their growth as artists. And while I love the song, I can see why some fans may be put off by it. There will always be fans who prefer the more pop-punk vibe that the group started off with, and that’s valid. However, I think if listeners give it a chance, they’ll grow to embrace this new side of CNBLUE. Unfortunately, the music video did leave a little bit to be desired, but that’s the only complaint. I think no matter what they do, CNBLUE will always be incredibly talented and devoted to their music and, as fans, that’s all we can really ask for.

What do you think of “Between Us”? Tell us what you think in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Weekly K-pop Faves March 19-26


Last week saw a lot of great releases from K-pop, but our most recent KultScene weekly K-pop faves playlist found us in love with parody K-pop act BGA and a CNBLUE b-side.

”Who’s It Gonna Be” by BGA (Released March 25)

What started out as a parody K-pop group created by a bunch of Asian Youtubers actually became a legit(ish) one with their comeback release “Who’s It Gonna Be.” Featuring a familiar and somewhat realistic MV storyline (especially for fans of K-pop) as well as smooth vocals and much improved Korean lyrics, the release actually makes for a pretty addictive song. I also really loved the equal line distribution in the song, giving listeners a chance to hear the (less autotuned) singing voices of each BGA member. The talents of the various members really shone as well, with David Choi’s songwriting, Ryan Higa and Jun Sung Ahn’s directing and so on. This group is certainly one that I can count on to never take itself seriously and is pretty refreshing amongst regular K-pop releases, as can be seen by its surprisingly amazing performance on iTunes charts or on Youtube (it racked up around four million views within a day of its release) I can’t wait to see more of this group in the near future!


”When I Was Young” by CNBLUE (Released March 20)

CNBLUE has always been a band that I kinda respected but didn’t really love them or their soft rock sound. But this new album, 7°CN really impressed me and nothing stood out more than “When I Was Young.” The synth-heavy song is exactly the type of electronica-influenced poprock that I love, and the mellow sound–which honestly reminds me a bit of The Chainsmokers– hits all the right notes for me. I personally think that the album version is better than the live since songs like “When I Was Young” benefit from sleek production, but take a look at the quartet performing live:


What was your favorite song of the week? Share your suggestions in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Playlist Sunday: Worst Korean Singles of 2015

Worst Korean Songs of 2015

Now that 2016 is well under way, we’re definitely ready to say “goodbye” to some of K-pop’s
worst singles of 2015. For this week’s Playlist Sunday, KultScene’s staff members each picked their least favorite songs of the year.

[Disclaimer: These picks are based on individual taste, so feel free to disagree in the comments.]

I get it. “Lion Heart” is the epitome of what Girls’ Generation represents: The archetype for the perfect feminine and demure woman. The song’s beat and the overall styling of the music video takes us back to the ’50s and early half of the ’60s, when young women aimed to look like their older and glamorous mothers. When the sexual revolution and women’s liberation was about to explode and a woman’s value equated to her looks and how refined she seemed. But fine, it’s a pop song, and every woman can choose to be anyone they want and dress however they want. But. That. Chorus… If you want to torture someone, just play “Lion Heart,” it’ll make their eardrums bleed. Truth is, SNSD’s latest album and singles (with the exception of “You Think”) were largely disappointing compared to their previous work. Especially considering that the album had better bubblegum pop with throwback feel contenders like “Fire Alarm.” The whole concept behind “Lion Heart” makes sense for a group like Girls’ Generation, yes, and we all like them for their girly ways. However, musically, they don’t have the vocal chops to carry that chorus, no matter how nasally and high they make Yuri sing.

— Alexis

Girls’ Generation’s “Party” makes me want to dive into the body of water that they’re filming the music video on and stay submerged for as long as humanly possible (without dying, of course). Can someone please tell SM Entertainment and Girls’ Generation to stop it with their attempts at rapping? Oh, and for Tiffany to stop it when her random ass English segments in their songs. Yeah, yeah, we get it, it’s party time. “Party” had a lot of ups and downs (emphasis on the down) moments for me; I couldn’t figure out if they were trying to make this a summer anthem or if it was an attempt of them being sensually cute by experimenting with livelier beats and adding alcoholic beverages in their lyrics but either way, I was disappointed. There were too many transitional breaks throughout the song, too many moments that had me waiting for someone to hit a higher/lower note than they actually did. Sure the music video was semi fun to watch, also very scattered, but the song just makes me want to pull out every strand of hair on my head. Can they have more concepts like “Oh!”, “Run Devil Run,” and “The Boys”?

— Tam

JYP Entertainment had a great year in terms of music. miss A released a pretty solid album, Wonder Girls finally came back, and the company even debuted two new rookie groups, both of which quickly grew in popularity. They did everything right and more… Except for one disservice. I don’t know what they were thinking with giving the green light to 2PM’s “My House,” but the song is a far cry from their usual good releases. I get that they want to spice up their sound and want to show that they are more than party boys and sex icons, but something feels lacking. Where are the interesting beats? Where is the build-up? Maybe it’s because I have been babied by fast-paced songs like “A.D.T.O.Y.” or “Go Crazy,” but “My House” feels bland. It’s very forgettable, and doesn’t add much to their already remarkable repertoire. The only saving grace was the video, which contained an underlying fairy tale thematic.
Oh well, better luck in 2016, boys.


Maybe I loved “Can’t Stop” way too much to have realistic expectations for anything CNBLUE could offer for their comeback but I was woefully disappointed with their 2015 release “Cinderella.” They may have achieved a lot of commercial success (as usual) for this song but while the song isn’t horrible, I’ve definitely seen (and heard) CNBLUE do so much better than this auto-tuned track that seems to only have two lines and a bridge that hardly seems like part of the same song. To make it worse, their album “2gether” actually has some great B-sides such as “Roller Coaster” and “Radio” that overshadow this title track completely. Seriously, what was going on in the heads of the album producers? In a K-pop industry with more and more popular bands (both indie and idol ones) CNBLUE really has to step up their game in 2016 to show fans what they’ve truly got.


Let’s get one thing out there. Park Jin Young aka JYP is a great producer. But he’s a misogynist, and his hit song “Who’s Your Mama?” highlights that more so than just about everything else he’s ever said or done. The song’s funky, jazzy beat is good, and Jessi’s solo rap is nothing to sneeze at, but Park Jin Young is literally describing his perfect woman’s ass and saying that that’s all what he looks for when looking at women. I wish I could say that it’s satire a la Psy’s “Gentleman,” but that doesn’t seem the case. The song begins with Park asking a woman what her hip and waist measurements are before going into a song describing his love of big butts. “Shake that booty” is one of the most prominent lines of the song as Park diminished women as anything other than physical beings for him to oggle. “Who’s Your Mama?” is K-pop’s “Baby Got Back,” and the song did exceptionally well on charts, but that still doesn’t make it okay. 2015 was the year of the booty, but JYP took it to another level in a way that was blatantly sexist. We’re in 2016, let’s put an end to this obsession with equating women with their ass-ets.


I could have picked any song from the many iKon released towards the end of the year, but for sheer lack of imagination, I’ll go with “Airplane.” Apart from their whole shtick being based off what’s popular in K-pop right now (rap,) iKon also come across like Big Bang-lite (so like another WINNER but even less interesting.) “Airplane” has twee synth and piano sounds that are used to make their ballad sound less like a ballad. I’m all for ballads not sounding like ballads but this screams of trying too hard, “it’s not a ballad guys, we rap, we’re cool, I was on that rap show remember?” Speaking of Bobby, I’m also not one to care too much about line distribution but this is ridiculous. It’s unfair to both B.I and Bobby who should be in a duo or going solo and to the rest of the members whom might as well not exist. Mostly I hate how YG thinks he can put a bit more rapping into a song and that makes it good enough to be recycled over and over. It was great back in 2008, but it’s time to move on.


‘Hello, I Love You’ Is (Probably) The First Novel About Romancing A K-Pop Star [INTERVIEW+GIVEAWAY]

hello-i-love-youThere is no such thing as too many books, especially when they relate to K-pop and falling in love with K-pop idols. Katie M. Stout, the author of the young adult romance novel “Hello, I Love You” spoke to KultScene about her book.

1. Congratulations on publishing “Hello, I Love You”! How did it feel when you got to the end of the long writing-editing process?
Thank you! Honestly, it felt a little surreal. I wrote and edited the book for about nine months before I queried, then that took almost a year. My agent and I were on submission for about six months with it, and all-in-all, it was about three years from finishing a first draft to seeing it on shelves. So publication day was definitely a victory day.

2. The book is all about K-pop, and there’s a lot of mentions of Korean dramas. How did you get into that scene?
I’d never even heard of a Korean drama until I was in college. I was teaching English in China and went into a video store, where they had some K-dramas featured. I picked up one on a whim (it was “49 Days”), and once I’d started, I couldn’t stop. That led me to other dramas, like “Heartstrings” and “Dream High,” which ended up being two inspirations for my book.

3. What made you decide to write a book about South Korea? Have you ever spent time there?
Because I was writing about K-pop, it seemed like a natural progression for the book to be about South Korea. It didn’t make sense to me for a book about a K-pop singer to be set in New York, for example.

I had never been to Korea when I was writing the book, but I actually got to visit the same week I signed with my agent. I had finished up an internship in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and made a stopover in Seoul before going back home. It was so fun to visit the places I’d written about!

Also on KultScene: YA E-Sports Novel ‘In Real Life’ Shows The Dark Side of Korean Trainee Life

4. I read somewhere that the book was supposed to be set in China. Why the change?
Yes, originally, the book was set in China. I wrote it that way because I was inspired by my own time in China. I also liked the idea that both of my main characters would be foreigners living in another country and they would bond over that. However, when my book was acquired by St. Martin’s, the team there felt like it was too confusing to have that many cultures represented in one book. So I shifted the setting of the entire book to South Korea, which I’ll admit, was no easy feat.

Fun fact: the book was originally called “From China, With Love,” referring to the letters that my main character writes her brother back home. My editor at St. Martin’s came up with the idea to name it after the Doors’s song that features so prominently in the book.

5. “Hello, I Love You” is about music. What songs were you listening to when writing, other than the title song?
I listened to a lot of music while writing, mostly K-pop. I joke that, like some actors are “method actors,” I consider myself an “immersive writer,” meaning that whatever I’m working on at the time, I consume only media that matches my current work in progress. So while drafting and editing HILY, I listened to a ton of Girls’ Generation, BIGBANG, CNBlue, Shinee, Teen Top, and other K-pop bands. I also watched a lot of K-dramas; some of my favorites at the time were “Big,” “Monstar,” “Rooftop Prince,” and more recently, “My Love from Another Star.”

6. What Korean music and television shows are you a fan of? Have you ever gone to a K-pop concert?
Other than the ones mentioned above, my favorite K-drama is probably “City Hunter,” which is mentioned in my book but not by name. Two of my characters have a conversation about a specific drama, and I think people who’ve watched “City Hunter” should recognize it based on the description. [We did!]

I haven’t been to a K-pop concert, sadly. I’m from the Atlanta area, which never really has K-pop bands come through, and while I was living in England, I was in a region that had no concerts at all, so it just hasn’t been convenient. I thought about going to one when I was in Seoul, but I ended up not doing it. I still regret that.

7. What difficulties did you face while writing?
I had the usual difficulties, including the big one, which is namely trying to ensure that your book doesn’t suck. That means I agonized over words and character development and pacing of the book, etc.

But more than that, I had a lot of researching to do. I’d never been to the places I was describing, which meant I needed to know what they looked like. I also had to look up old Korean rock bands, because I didn’t know any but my characters needed to. And there was the typical research about food and language and other parts of the culture that I didn’t know previously.

And lastly, I really struggled with my main character. She’s going through a very specific personal struggle, and I wanted to portray that genuinely. While some people have felt that my portrayal isn’t sensitive, I’ve been encouraged by readers who have moved to other countries and lived as expats who’ve told me that Grace’s experience reminded them of their own. It’s certainly similar to the one I had when I moved to England, and I felt it was important to portray a character going through culture shock if she moves to another country – that’s real, and it’s not realistic to not talk about that at all.

Also on KultScene: Inside KCON LA 2015 [PHOTOS]

8. Which character do you think you want to be friends with?
Oh, Sophie for sure. I loved her from the first page she showed up. Both of my main characters have a little too much angst, so I wouldn’t want to be with them all the time, but Sophie is just kind and fun and funny. I also really like Yoon Jae, and if I were in Grace’s shoes, I think I might have been interested in him instead of a certain brooding leading singer.

9. What was it like creating an imaginary K-pop band? What were you influenced by?
My biggest inspiration for the band in my book was CNBlue, one of the few K-pop bands with members who play instruments. I knew I wanted them all to do more than just sing and dance, so I needed a real band to model them after. I imagine their sound to be similar to older CNBlue music, as well – songs like “Love Girl” or “Sweet Holiday.”

10. What’s one thing you want readers to know about the book?
I think it’s helpful for them to know that the book isn’t just about K-pop. It has K-pop in it, but it’s more about two people who have broken pasts that have to learn to recognize their faults before they can come together. It’s also told from the perspective of a Westerner with zero knowledge of Korean pop culture, who holds some distinct prejudices she never knew she had – and that she has to learn to recognize before she can move past them. It’s about culture shock, family, love, and forgiveness. And it has kissing, too.

11. To my knowledge, this is the first English-language novel about K-pop. How do you feel about that? Do you think we may see more in the future?
There may be other YA novels out there about K-pop, but I don’t know of any. In many ways, my book is the first of its kind, and that was actually both exciting and difficult. I came up against a lot of closed doors. I had numerous literary agents while I was querying tell me that they liked the book but had no idea how to sell it. I was told over and over again that the market wasn’t ready for a book about K-pop, and it was disheartening. I’m still thankful for both my agent and publisher who disagreed with everyone else and thought the YA market was ready.

It’s encouraging, as well, that my book did something new. I’d love to see more books about K-pop in the future! I’ve gotten some criticism that my book isn’t as informative as many people wanted it to be, but I like to think that I helped open the door for more K-pop-focused books in the Western YA industry – so we can have those books that are more informative and about Korean protagonists and are more in-depth studies of culture and everything my book is not. I think that would be amazing! And if my little book accomplishes anything, I hope it’s that.

Do you want to own a copy of “Hello, I Love You”? We’re here to help! Katie M. Stout gave KultScene the chance to raffle off one copy of the book, so enter now for your chance to win! (Unfortunately, this is only open to residents of the United States, but you can buy the book from Amazon and many other bookstores.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What K-pop star would you like to fall in love with? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

K-Pop Idols Who Need to Release Holiday Songs

This Holiday season we all need some music to fit the mood. It’s about time that some K-Pop idols release a Holiday song or even a Holiday CD. The idols listed below are known for being able to sing in both Korean and English, which is beneficial for this particular concept considering there are a lot of Holiday songs originally sung in English. English or Korean, or another language, it would be great to see these songs happen this year.

Eric Nam

eric nam holiday songs

via jjigaehouse @Tumblr

Eric Nam is well known for being the main host of After School Club. His quirky and fun personality keeps fans engaged and entertained throughout ASC and the After Show. Not only does Eric have the personality, and looks, but his voice is spectacular. Winter Wonderland, The First Noel, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and others would all be great choices for Eric Nam and he would be do justice to all of them.

Also on KultScene: Best English Covers By K-Pop Artists


ailed holiday songs

by kpopcorngifs

Ailee could ace any Holiday song coming her way. Her voice is so powerful and regal that any song would sound great. But a few that would sound amazing are Silent Night, O Holy Night, and the Holiday classic All I Want For Christmas Is You. She has actually already sang the latter song choice, but I wouldn’t mind a solo performance where fans can really feel her power.

miss A

suzy holiday songs


miss A is a group that doesn’t have many comebacks and are extremely talented. Instead of a full on comeback before the Holidays, we’ll settle with a song or two for the season. Carol of the Bells would really show off their abilities vocally and would sound great with a girl group at the helm. It would be hard to pull off, but miss A can definitely sing Carol of the Bells beautifully. For a more fun route, they could take on Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree as well. The fun and upbeat Holiday tune would be much more fun with miss A singing it.


cnblue holiday songs

via cnbjonghyun @ Tumblr

CNBLUE would be a great group to add a rock vibe to the Holiday classics. They really could pick any Holiday song and pull it off. They have the looks, the sound, the talent, and the vocals to make any Holiday song a smash hit. Little St. Nick, Feliz Navidad, and Jingle Bell Rock are a few classics they could rock on a small stage or a huge arena.

Also on KultScene: The Colors Of K-Pop: Red


mama moo holiday songs

via @lovelyhari99

The all female rookie group would bring Holiday classics to a whole new level. Their sultry and soulful voices would only enhance current classics, such as White Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, and more. Mamamoo would have the best stage for a Holiday classic. I can see it now, they would be in a red dresses with white faux fur trim and their makeup and hair would be spot on (as usual).

The ultimate Holiday gift would be if all of these artists got together to create a Holiday CD and collaborate on a few songs with each other. If only, if only.

What Holiday songs do you want to hear from the K-Pop world, and who do you want to sing them? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.