After nearly eight months away, Chungha has returned just in time for summer. Many of her most notable singles have been tied to this season, and Sparkling is bound to join their ranks. Like so many of her peers, she’s opted for a series of retro influences, tying them to more familiar K-pop tropes. This results in a great track that could have been excellent with just a few small twists.
The teasers for Sparkling promised a huge synthwave banger. That potential is most fully realized during its guitar-laced climax. As a fan of maximalist, ‘go big or go home’ pop music, I wish the producers would have laced this energy throughout the entire track. However, Sparkling is no slouch. It’s enjoyable from the first moment, bursting forth on an effervescent beat. Chungha’s vocal skirts the instrumental with ease, enhancing the rhythm and bringing plenty of character.
Sparkling’s chorus delivers a solid centerpiece, tying catchy hooks to a more robust arrangement that delivers the driving synthwave style I was hoping for. I like how the chorus builds toward its own mini melodic climax. I would’ve beefed up the production further, giving these hooks even more punch. And, I certainly wouldn’t pull back during verse two. But, second verse breakdowns are par for the course in K-pop. This one doesn’t overstay its welcome, and Chungha’s natural charisma guarantees a sense of cohesion as the tempo kicks back up. Overall, this is another super-solid entry in a discography filled with highlights.