Song Review: Chungha – My Friend (ft. pH-1)

Chungha’s been hinting at a full album release in the near future, and she’s taking a promotional approach more widely seen in Western acts by unveiling several singles before the official comeback. This is a shame, as I really think that April’s Stay Tonight deserved the full title track treatment. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for new release My Friend (여기 적어줘), which feels like the kind of phoned-in coffeehouse fare that can be found all across the Korean charts.

I get that this kind of song is popular because it’s pleasant mood music, but My Friend does nothing for me. Chungha sounds nice, delivering a relatively subdued performance. And I suppose that joining forces with rapper pH-1 scores her some “cool” points. But, the song goes nowhere. The instrumental hinges on that same tired, mid-tempo trap r&b that has long since worn out its welcome. The production doesn’t even attempt to take any interesting turns. It’s pretty much the same monotonous beat all the way through.

My Friend’s chorus has an airy pleasantness to it, but evaporates almost immediately after you’ve heard it. Like the instrumental, the melody is so slight and unassuming that I’m not sure why it exists at all. I assume that the producers and composers (one of which was Zion.T!) took some time with this, but the song just feels like they were making it up as they went, absentmindedly forming melodic refrains that are neither here nor there. I’m quickly learning that there is a sizable audience for this kind of “play it in the background while I’m studying or doing chores” music. For better or worse, I’m just not part of that mindset, so this gets a hard pass from me.

 Hooks 6
 Production 6
 Longevity 6
 Bias 5
 RATING 5.75

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7 thoughts on “Song Review: Chungha – My Friend (ft. pH-1)

  1. Completely irrelevant topic: Do you have interest in expanding the scope of legendary reviews a little bit further? Like these:

    Also, this song is pretty lazy and didn’t do that well in charts considering it’s Chungha


    • I like both of those songs, though my Lee Junghyun track of choice will always be Peace. What a freaking jam that is. The beat is pure early-00’s MJ.


  2. I don’t share your disdain for trap, but I have to agree that I just don’t understand why these songs that are so bland and uninteresting become so popular. Even when I’m studying or relaxing, I normally listen to much more upbeat music that I listen to whenever I’m doing pretty much anything (some of my Kpop favorites recently have been Dal Shabet’s Someone Like U, BTS’ UGH, Chung Ha’s Stay Tonight, & Apink’s Dumhdurum). If I am in the mood for something more chill or down-tempo, then I normally pick something a lot more melodically complex (say, Red Velvet’s Bad Boy, Jimin’s Serendipity, IU & Seo Taiji’s Sogyeokdong, or Taeyeon’s 11:11, all on my current playlist) than these coffeehouse background fillers that seem to have a stranglehold on the charts. Those are four very different songs, but I think they’re all examples of what I consider to be good “chill” K-pop music. We all have different tastes, and I respect that, but I just don’t understand people’s persistence to chase a particular “vibe” when listening to music. I understand that one could be attracted to a particular genre or style, but it seems like a lot of people have become captivated by the same sound. I feel like I would be very bored all of the time if all of my favorite songs sounded the same!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m actually kinda shocked that you still review this type of songs. I know it’s what you do – reviewing every idol release – but personally I would have given up by now. There’s just so many of these basic, lifeless, extremely generic trap/r&b/”coffee shop” ballads getting released that you’re basically saying the same things for them now. Your reviews for these songs have become just as predictable as they are. That is not criticism because I would have said the same things. I understand. I think what we need is more legendary song posts. Let’s look back at those instead of wasting time with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m reminded of how Sunny Hill’s more adult contemporary songs were better received by the korean public than their more bombastic ones. It’s a kind of song that has a place and a very big market for sure. For me, songs like this just a reminder of the fact that the kpop artists are ultimately trying to cater to domestic tastes & trends vs. international ones. Which is to say that I thought this was pleasant enough but definitely something I forgot a bit right after and wouldn’t immediately point to as a favorite automatically


    • If you think about it, a 5 is almost worse than a 2.

      At least with a 2, a song elicited an actual (bad) response. I can respect that, in a weird way. A 5 is just forgettable — no response whatsoever.


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