Review

Song Review: Chungha – Stay Tonight

Since her solo debut in 2017, Chungha’s popularity has steadily climbed. She’s arguably become the most successful female soloist in this generation of idol pop, with every title track lodging itself in the charts for months at a time. With this in mind, I’ve always felt left out from the party. Beyond a song here or there, her music just hasn’t connected with me. However, that changes with the release of Stay Tonight – a song that perfectly crystallizes Chungha’s appeal while offering a groovy burst of dancefloor drive.

As a performer known as much for her dance skills as her vocals, Chungha’s music demands a certain level of rhythm. It should unfold the way that a good piece of choreography does, and Stay Tonight understands this. From the first verse, it’s committed to its percolating groove, beckoning you with 90’s house beats, atmospheric electronics and a subtle hint of disco guitar. In this way, Stay Tonight seems to be taking its cues from the success of western artists like Dua Lipa, and this is a perfect road-map for Chungha. Refreshingly, the song never takes a step back in tempo or intensity. Rather than try to be a million things to a million people, it narrows its focus and succeeds on the strength of that consistency.

If Stay Tonight falters in any way, it’s from the lack of a killer hook. The instrumental is beguiling, but a mammoth chorus would have put the track over the top. The verses’ slinky structure compliments both Chungha and the track as a whole, and that sense of movement carries through into the chorus, which opts for a more stripped-back arrangement. I think this approach is effective, but the hook almost needed an extra piece – something that would move it from cool and aloof to euphoric and enveloping. Even so, Stay Tonight is an excellent match for Chungha’s strengths, and yet another case for her becoming this generation’s answer to BoA.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

16 thoughts on “Song Review: Chungha – Stay Tonight

  1. Stunning video and song. And this is just the buzz single, oh my.

    I definitely felt the Future Nostalgia vibes here. We can only wish this is the “Don’t Start Now” to her “Physical”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. .

    Houston we have a hot one!

    That chorus drop out is very au courant Dua Lipa-inspired.

    The song is pretty gosh darn good as is, but I agree it could use a slightly sharper hook, or more simply a better bass line. When the instrumental drops away and its only Chung Ha and the bass, the bass is there but it isn’t its own voice. Its just another instrumental line, with fat sound to make it sound better than it is. If ever someone should have hired a real kick ass bass player, this was the time. Think “Coffee Break” featuring Richard Bona from SM Station a few years back, whoever did that was =inspired=.

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  3. OK, so I woke up in the morning, listened to both songs with phone speaker. My initial thoughts were “Nonstop” is fine although the trap stuff feels odd and forced, and “Stay Tonight” has a confusing top line.
    I went out and went back and listened again with my headphones. I still like “Free Somebody” more than “Stay Tonight”, which is the comparison I came up with when I was listening to teasers, and “Nonstop” became literally unlistenable.

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  4. REALLY enjoyed this one, like you mentioned this was the most convincing case yet for me that she’ll go down as a soloist people will remember for a long time, especially with the improvement she’s shown in her vocals. They sound so strong and confident here and without any trace of the borderline grating high pitch she had in her early songs. She keeps growing and it’s awesome to see!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Girlkind made a comeback with “Future”. They sang “Fanci” and “S.O.R.R.Y”. I really want to know your thoughts on it.

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  6. At first I thought it was fine, but its energy kept on drawing me back. Now that I’ve listened to it a few times, its not perfect but overall makes a great and enjoyable package. This is easily the only track by Chungha I’ve really enjoyed and will be playing it repeatedly for the next few days. I’ll give it an 8.5 though I would have rated it higher if the second part of the chorus was less annoying.

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  7. The first shot of her with bangs gave me whiplash because I saw Bom for a second.
    This is definitely a song that benefits from a video. It’s a performance song, not necessarily something I was to listen to without the dance. Boy, is it great to watch though.

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  8. Imagining a stage for blackpink, do you think that merging Chungha’s songs (singles and b-sides) with those of BP could help the band to be bigger? Or would it decrease the interest of the general public?
    Comparing the quality of both, which one is better? (leaving sales and streaming aside)

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  9. I love this song but I can’t listen to it because the first 10 seconds sounds like my alarm and I get PTSD every time I listen to this song…

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