Leading up to the release of her long-fabled full album, Chungha has catered to various markets. We had the energetic Stay Tonight for the dance clubs, the dull My Friend for the coffee shops, and now the upbeat Be Yourself for the… Sprite drinkers. Yes, this song is not only part of MNH’s ongoing New.wav project – it’s a CF for Sprite. As such, the music video only incorporates a portion of the song.
In the context of Chungha’s discography, Be Yourself is a sonic sequel to 2018’s Love U. I was in the minority that loved that track, so a similar-sounding release is quite welcome – even if it comes alongside a heaping dose of carbonated beverage advertising. I think Chungha’s vocals work well in this tropical setting, supported by an insistent rhythm. On Be Yourself that comes courtesy of strumming guitar, though the true star is a brassy synth ornamentation that runs through both the pre-chorus and chorus. It’s a refreshingly unique tone in a year that seems to regurgitate the same synth samples over and over again.
Even better is Be Yourself’s ever-climbing arrangement. Rather than vacillate between soft and intense, the track constantly surges with an ever-expanding sound palette. The CF version doesn’t do this justice, as it cuts out a minute from the middle of the song and upends its sense of steady growth. But in either case, Be Yourself’s final chorus is a kaleidoscope of bright, exciting sounds. A few elements even come close to freeform jazz, as filtered through K-pop’s hooky prism of course. In short, this is a lot more than I would’ve expected from a commercial for soda. She’s certainly sold me here… and I kind of want a Sprite, too.
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