Edited by Yoon
Translated by Kim Yoo Hyang
While “Roller Coaster” and “Gotta Go” focused on the Korean market and brought great success, they were not enough to make an impression as Chungha’s music as an artist. Perhaps this was because the attributes of the producers, Black Eyed Pilseung, were more present than Chungha’s. She drew a positive response from the public by clarifying her style through songs such as “Snapping”, “Chica”, and “PLAY.” The title track of her first full-length album, “Bicycle”, also stands on that same line of music.
Though Querencia is her first full-length album, it surprises with a whopping total of 21 tracks. The album follows a Western way of arranging, with pre-released singles in between songs. The fact that the album has four different concepts and parts (SIDE A, B, C, D), the epilogue, and the pre-released singles clearly exhibit the intention and direction of the album. Chungha’s flair as an artist can also be seen behind the grand project. It also demonstrates that it aimed for diversity and stability. From songs customized to the artist such as “Masquerade” to “Lemon” and “Byulharang,’ the album carries a variety of songs.
Amongst the magnificent glamour presented, one of the biggest disappointments is none other than the album’s title track “Bicycle.” It is way too ‘stable,’ as it attempts to match the artist’s key, vocals, and performance; in other words, it is fairly boring. Whilst a title song is what should be the most vibrant and memorable in an album, this song’s presence is way too weak. Its flaw is made more evident as there are many other songs in the album which present similar moods.
Though the song starts with a strong guitar riff, it fails to sustain that power through to its end and it’s hard to find a catchy melody nor a unique sound. Because the majority of the song is tailored with English lyrics, the delivery of the song’s message is also regrettable. There are several bumpy parts where the connection between Korean and English lyrics isn’t smooth, and the rap of the second verse is not particularly remarkable because it lacks flow and use of exceptional language.
The most disappointing part is its chorus, which should typically be the highlight of the song. The chorus fails to continue the energy after the pre-chorus which builds the song up with the accelerated beat. It is made less iconic rather than catchy because the chorus is soft and the melody and lyrics are unclear. However, the ‘Broom broom broom broom’ is serving its role as the catchy part of the chorus.
There was a similar sense of disappointment in her previous work, Flourishing. Whilst “Chica” was a more attractive song than “Snapping,” it was not chosen as the title track. The pace of “Chica,” its melody and rhythm expressed by Chungha were excellent, and its identity was also clear as it had a storyline of the ‘Chica’ becoming a ‘Woman now.’ It makes one wonder what could’ve happened if “PLAY”, a clear Latin-pop, or “Dream of You” with unique sound and development, were the title track of this album.
Indeed, the album cannot be fully enjoyed only by listening to it because the focus is also on the performance, this also means that its strength could lie within its performance. Although the song has strong and layered sounds which could be somewhat messy, the song fits well to its artist like her own clothes, without much excessiveness. She also perfectly expresses the intricate rhythm of ‘ride it ride it’ and the fierce facial expression that fits the song. The dance break at the bridge is what will compensate for the song’s flaws. It seems that she threw a winning shot at this performance. The dance break utilizes stepping (a dance that originates from Indigenous people’s dances, where one hits hands to make sounds), and is more so refreshing as a long dance break is not usually included in a solo artist’s performance.
Going for the clothes that suit you best is definitely a safe choice, but it also could be regrettable as it becomes too familiar and boring. This makes listeners look forward to different musical attempts and a much more iconic image for her next discography.
Editor Yoon: I love music, especially K-POP, and I dream of becoming an A&R person, lyricist, artist, etc. I will cover various articles, including song reviews, artist reviews, and K-pop market analysis.