A K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
The first half of Chungha’s Bare & Rare album sees her at her chameleon-like best, switching between genres and moods with ease. There’s not a bad song there, though its breadth of sounds pretty much guarantees different listeners will have different favorites. Unsurprisingly, I’m partial to the upbeat stuff. California Dream is an utter treat, but in my opinion Love Me Out Loud takes the cake.
This song does a great job blending upbeat sounds with the confessional energy of the album’s slower tracks. It’s quite an anthem, moving from gentle pop to house-influenced pre-chorus to cathartic, vocal-led hook. Love Me Out Loud is enjoyable in all these segments, though I think it could have exploded even more dramatically as we reach the climax. That house piano is too fantastic to relegate to pre-choruses only! Still, a rousing bridge delivers the high point we need.
Chungha sounds fantastic on the track, utilizing a fuller range of her vocal to paint each moment with its own character. When it comes down to it, Love Me Out Loud is a simple, straightforward pop song. But in the context of the album – and with Chungha at the helm – it takes on a sense of personal significance that’s quite engaging. It’ll be interesting to see if the second part of Bare & Rare continues this approach.