Review

Song Review: Chungha – Sparkling

Chungha - SparklingAfter 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.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

19 thoughts on “Song Review: Chungha – Sparkling

  1. Bright and sparkly indeed. Effervescent.
    Fans these days get so nitpicky about everything little thing, but if I were a ChungHa fan I would be very pleased with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i’m delightfully surprised with this one. despite the embedded trendy retro sound which i’m getting sick of lately, i find it very refreshing and pleasant. the album was pretty good too!!

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  3. Chungha’s glow up as a solo artist has been so nice to see. She got the ideas, the ambition, the versatility and the talent to back it all up.

    The album’s really impressive again. As with Querencia, no two songs in it are alike but she really makes it work. XXXX, Sparkling, Love Me Out Loud, Nuh-Uh and the perfect California Dream (LOVE those French-house influences) are all fantastic. Part 2 can’t come soon enough!

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  4. Although the 1980’s synthwave trend has already got old for me, I really love this song. Except for that motherfucking second-verse trap breakdown, it’s just so grating…
    Nevertheless, Chungha always manages to save things with her glorious performance. Rating is about right.

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  5. This is so fun and refreshing, like the best kind’ve CF song for a Sprite endorsement lol

    I’m really glad that she’s back and I’m also glad to see there seems to be a summer mermaids trend? Her, WJSN, Sunmi. I hope for more!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. LOVE this song!!! It is refreshing and fun, and she has the voice to back it up…with has been my problem with Nayeon. Can´t wait to listen to the album.

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  7. I like it, but first. The production bugs me a little. Idk if it’s the whistling sound, which is always a risky proposition with me (despite my love for Dreamcatcher songs Piri and Whistle), or if I was wanting a bit more reverb/atmosphere from the synths. The brief second-verse slowdown doesn’t help.

    Otherwise, though, this is by far my favorite Chungha song. This actually has a melody and not just a bunch of high notes splashed on, which is what made erstwhile favorite “Stay Tonight” fade for me. The guitar is nice too.

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  8. day 4 of reviewing jpop songs until nick renews the 90s jpop roadmap (i skipped the weekends lol). the song i will be reviewing is

    sirius – news

    news’ quartetto is so far my favorite album from them, and this song is quite possibly my favorite song in it. its that kind of gigantic pop song that contains a soaring chorus that i would kill for in kpop. from the high notes to the constant use of electric guitars and violins, this is an absolute anthemic jpop song that is pretty much made for me

    hooks: 10
    production: 10
    longevity: 10
    bias: 10
    rating: 10

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  9. anyway because i didnt review a jpop song yesterday or the day before, im gonna review another one

    world quest – news

    I. LOVE. THIS. SONG. it contains everything i love about News’ sound, from its anthemic sound to its soaring chorus. the group bring their powerful vocals and belt them out sky-high with its incredible melody. if this song was put through a battle of the anthems, it would win 1st prize. its an absolute jubilee and quite possibly my favorite out of News’ single run

    hooks: 10
    production: 10
    longevity: 10
    bias: 10
    rating: 10

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  10. hello Nick….i hope you are doing well….i wanted to suggest a group and video for you to review, if you would like to….i don’t know much about them, but Reddit has them as a new group, formed from some kind of Youtube show or contest….their name if UiU….a female kpop group, i’m assuming?….the only information i can find on a profile is on Kpopping, but i don’t think it is thorough….nonetheless, their song, “Starlit” is one that i think (?) you would like….it has the kind of tempo i think you like, as well as some solid vocals by the girls, and a fun concept….i liked it only after one listen….i believe it is a nice k-summer song….and then again, it may not be anything you like at all, but i do think it is something you should check out, if you want….no worries if not….

    i also like Busters’ new release, “Tropical Romance” a lot….i think that is a nice summer k-pop too….

    -t gumbo

    On Mon, Jul 11, 2022 at 10:00 AM The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussi

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  11. Yeah this is lovely stuff. There are also some really nice songs on the album (California Dream, Good Night My Princess, Love Me Out Loud). The instrumentals in the beginning of Sparkling reminded me of Dua Lipa’s Cool a bit 🙂

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  12. I have to say, despite it being brief this second verse breakdown felt extra unnecessary. An old I hate that I felt it coming too. Otherwise I really like the verses and chorus, this energy fits chungha so well

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  13. I’m kind of sick of retro now but it’s a bop and chungha’s always destroys me so should have known really
    I was expecting some more buried treasures first though ?? Lots of great b sides this summer from groups like Enhyphen Kepler Loona
    So many actually, I feel like the b sides are so much better than the title tracks lately but maybe that’s just me being picky ://

    Like

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