Song Review: Chungha – Play

Though Chungha has yet to release her 2020 album, she’s delivered quite a few new tracks already. Not all of these have been equally successful, but I’ve generally been pleased with her more up-tempo offerings. New single Play follows suit, harnessing the well-worn power of tropical pop to craft a summer-ready anthem. It mostly works, even though we’ve heard this exact style of song from Chungha before.

Play’s instrumental encapsulates almost every element of the tropical trend that’s swept K-pop over the past few years. It’s got a bit of Latin influence, a heavy dose of island sounds and plenty of moombahton drive. You’d think that this stale combination would be enough to drive me over a cliff, but it works within the context of this track. The instrumental is dense and larger-than-life, and never really strays from that level of bigness. There’s nothing particularly unique or groundbreaking about it, but the groove goes down easy. It becomes especially galvanizing during Play’s final moments, when the percussion grows even more intense.

To Chungha’s credit, she never gets lost within the maelstrom of production. I’ve had issues with her vocal performance in the past, but I think her tone is unique suited to this sound palette. She’s charismatic to a fault, and brings a dancer’s sensibility to her phrasing of the chorus. Guest rapper Changmo adds little to the track beyond a chance for Chungha to catch her breath after a tricky power note, but he doesn’t derail Play’s momentum either. I don’t know how well this song will age, but for now it’s a welcome addition to the 2020 summer K-pop playlist.

 Hooks 7
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

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


10 thoughts on “Song Review: Chungha – Play

  1. I thought it was gonna be another tropical pop beat drop chorus, but so glad she didn’t go that route. I love the verses.


  2. This is a bit off topic but I gotta tell you! I was curious about Chungha’s producers, so I clicked on a song after song and there you were! In her wiki page for Stay Tonight! In the critical reception and promotion part. Your blog is now up there with the big boys, congrats!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Wow, you know you’ve made it when you’re mentioned as a source on wikipedia! Haha now who’s going to make a whole Bias List wikipedia page?? Just kidding.

      Thanks for bringing my attention to this!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I pretty much think this is the best they can do with the genre given. The chorus could really do magic for her former teammate Sejong, or Seulgi/Wendy.

    Side note: at this rate she will be able to collect another SuperM from SM by like next year. Key + Changmo + Max…?


    • OT, my dear fellow vocal lover, have you heard this yet? ‘
      Just going full out, yeah, with awesomeness. Parallel octaves, ahoy! Three key changes!


  4. This song sounds like a lot like Bvndit “Dumb Dumb” from last November. Its not quite identical but the vibe especially in the chorus is very close. ‘

    As is, its OK. It is somehow sounds bland, even though Chungha is doing her best to sell it, and the song and performance hit all the expected marks.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. maybe it’s just me, but this song really sounds like “Dumb” by BVNDIT. they’re both under the same agency, of course, so maybe it was supposed to be for BVNDIT at some point? It’s very good though either way.


  6. I have always liked chungha as a performer but i gotta say, it’s only till stay tonight she finally caught me songs wise.

    This one is also her best moombahton takes yet, her album seems nice if these are only pre-releases.


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