Chungha’s months-long rollout of singles has nearly reached its conclusion, with an album release just around the corner. Even if the quality of these singles has been mixed at times, I’ve been very impressed with their versatility and Chungha’s development into a well-rounded artist. New single X (걸어온 길에 꽃밭 따윈 없었죠) continues to grow her sound. With little in the way of teasers to go by, I had expected another big dance track. Instead, X is a stately mid-tempo with a great melody and performance.
I generally prefer upbeat tracks, but the mid-tempos I love best tend to have a hearty arrangement and dramatic sweeps of melody. X checks both of those boxes. Its atmospheric instrumental borrows just as much from classic rock as modern K-pop tropes, and has a wonderfully dramatic surge to it. There’s a constant sense of climax to the production, and this really gets going during the song’s second half. Wisps of backing vocals give way to swoops of glam guitar. It’s beautifully mixed, allowing for robust texture you just want to get lost in.
Chungha gives a solid performance here, sticking mostly to her lower register. X doesn’t build to any knockout vocal climax, but she remains engaging and charismatic all the way through. My favorite moment is actually the spoken-word coda to each chorus. This change in structure really captures your attention, adding a sense of finality that gives the track a cinematic quality. X’s melody largely circles around the same themes, but resonates well thanks to its blend with the instrumental. Yet again, Chungha has shown her willingness to approach diverse soundscapes, and it’s really paying off for her.