Review

Song Review: Chungha – Bicycle

The roll out for Chungha’s first studio album Querencia has stretched across eleven months, showcasing a variety of sounds and styles. This extended run of singles has been quite successful, offering a little something for every taste. The album itself takes advantage of this. It’s divided into four distinct sides, each driven by a specific mood. And at twenty-one tracks, you’re bound to find at least one highlight. Unfortunately, title track Bicycle is not that highlight for me.

Bicycle sounds like a noisy boy group track, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. I’m concerned about K-pop’s increasing instinct to place noise ahead of melody. Bombast without substance is just bombast, after all. Bicycle opens with a bang, presenting a wall of guitar distortion. This feels like the only original texture within the track. Everything else is driven by the same limp, soulless percussion that’s become synonymous with this DIY, everything-comes-from-a-sample-pack pop era. How satisfying could Bicycle have been if its lurching beats were replaced with something funky and organic? Invite a skilled percussionist to add some flavor to the track. Right now, it all feels canned.

A memorable hook might have overcome this instrumental mush, but Bicycle is content to coast on catchphrases and melodic scraps. Ninety percent of the track is sing-talk nonsense. Chungha briefly segues into hip-hop during the second verse — an improvement over the attitude-fused bluster that precedes it. At least her rap feels rhythmic and intentional. Everything else is a joyless compilation of “Get out of my way,” “ride it, ride it,” “vroom vroom vroom” and “you know how I like it.” Despite Chungha’s undeniable charisma, Bicycle feels incredibly dull.

 Hooks 6
 Production 6
 Longevity 7
 Bias 6
 RATING 6.25

41 thoughts on “Song Review: Chungha – Bicycle

  1. This has none of the Chung Ha charm. Its alright, generic tough girl kpop with splashy costume changes. Or, yes I can hear boy band too. Boy solo. Its a pass for me.

    Liked by 7 people

      • While Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” / “Bicycle” combo would clearly apply here, I was referring to labelling a girl who slept around as a “bicycle” because “everyone got a ride” on her.

        I humbly ask for your forgiveness. I will take time to reflect on my bad joke and return as a better person. /90° bow

        Liked by 1 person

        • In addition to that – a bicycle is not very sexy to begin with. Women are often associated with/associate themselves with (riding) sleek cars or motorcycles – y’know, things that look cool and expensive and are fast and powerful. Riding those gives you a thrill (..is what I suppose, I have never done it).

          A bicycle on the other hand.. as a frequent bicycle rider I can confidently say there are few ways of transport that are less sexy. It’s not very exciting, it takes a lot of effort, and you don’t look hot hunched over the steering wheel pedalling against the cold wind.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, I don’t know about that. I was once riding a couple of 10-speeds with a girl that was wearing really short cut-offs and a loose crop top on a muggy, sweaty day. We were riding on a public road, so she was in front. We reached a small hill, so she had to stand up to use her body weight to pump the peddles, which in turn meant that her and the bike were rocking side to side like some over-exposed fleshy metronome. I.. ..I.. ..dammit!

            Shower time!

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            • For shame! (Here I will add again that apparently only in the greater NYC area where I grew up is the chorus to the NCT song Punch a really really bad locker room phrase.)

              I haven’t really thought about whether the act of cycle riding is sexy or not, but the after cycle riding is definitely not sexy at all. My husband who is otherwise a tidy guy sweats a lot on his cycle rides, so much so that I give him a wide berth when he gets home.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. i’ll commend it for taking notes from rina sawayama, especially using the guitar riff like xs does, but it lacks the charm that it should. i think it’s moments like the all english sung part of the song that don’t work for me. i appreciate the effort though and hope that it’s perfect with someone else instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It just doesn’t sound like a Chungha song. It doesn’t make use of her talents, the lyrics are cheap, there’s no hook. She should have released the album after Stay Tonight tbh.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As a Chungha fan that hasn’t felt disappointed until this point…man. So much lost potential. Definitely a high-budget music video, but no budget put into the song itself.

    Flying on Faith or Masquerade are both possible Buried Treasures in my humble opinion 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I see why it was chosen for title track status, but it really is one of the worst songs on the album.

    I’m LOVING the album, by the way. A very ambitious project which only falters in about 3 or 4 tracks. Masquerade, Flying on Faith, Bother Me, Lemon… are fantastic additions to the mostly great singles. I feel like Stay Tonight, Dream of You, Play and X fully blossom in the album context. She deserves the world!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I cannot understand how a team that just released Stay Tonight, Play, and Dream of You could seriously think this was a good follow up. Like this is supposed to be the cherry on top but it’s just blah. This reminds me of Taemin’s following Criminal with Idea. Yeah, not a fan. But hey Chungha has been doing so great for so long it’s about time someone drops the ball-they’ve been juggling bop after bop for too long.
    I hope this is just a fluke cause if 2020 has taught us anything Chungha is one hell of a performer and she can do so much better than this

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I was really hoping that distorted guitar would’ve been what the track built itself around; I enjoy it everytime it pops up. The ” Get out of my way, yeah!”, on the other hand, is SO ANNOYING, and not the type of thing I would’ve ever expected in chungha’s music. For that alone, I think I might skip this song ever time it pops up on spotify. If they changed it to something else, I doubt it would save the song but at least I could’ve used it as moody background music

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was not expecting to read what I just read. This article is quite harsh and, if anything, debased Chungha’s talent. I find that the track, Bicycle, is a different style that she has not previously explored. To associate her with this stigma that K-Pop is about “placing noise ahead of melody” is ridiculous considering that her previous tracks differ. If anything, I think that this song is dynamic. Powerful.

    Like

    • If you read all the replies, many here (myself included) are Chung Ha fans. However, a lot of TBL regulars also believe that you can really like a performer/group and still dislike a specific release. It would be an unfair betrayal to an artist to just blindly adore everything they drop.

      Additionally, no one is condemning her for being experimental. Many regulars here praise originality. However, was it really wise to use a song that is way outside of her usual repertoire as the titular track? The title track is the central tent pole for the rest of the release. It needs to be the hook that draws you in so you’ll be interested in exploring the rest of the album.

      If I had never heard of Chung Ha before, and was introduced to her latest album with “Bicycle” as the calling card, I would’ve moved on and probably never looked back; which is a genuine shame, because then I would’ve been missing out on one of K-pops top artists.

      Like

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