Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of k-pop, I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
It’s funny. Despite Chungha embracing one of my least favorite K-pop trends (tropical house) on her new mini album, the entirely of Blooming Blue has captured my attention more strongly than any of her past work. It feels like her music is gradually gaining strength. Her vocals are more confident and better produced. The songwriting is getting stronger.
With that said, I feel like Chungha would have really secured her spot as this generation’s BoA if Cherry Kisses had been chosen as Blue’s title track. Not only does it twist the tropical style in interesting directions, but its standout melody offers the best showcase for her vocals yet. The song is perched somewhere between mid-tempo and dance track, recalling the melodic pop music of the early 2000’s. Its soaring chorus is utterly fantastic, moving from a dramatic, layered refrain to a stripped back hook with compelling duality. The big moments sound grand and impressive, but the small ones are just as beguiling. This isn’t a song designed to reinvent pop music as we know it. It’s still pretty generic, after all. But damn if that final chorus doesn’t knock. This is the Chungha I’ve been waiting for since her solo debut.