[Review] Play – Chungha ft. Changmo

Over the last few months, Chungha has been leaving breadcrumbs for her upcoming solo comeback which yet to be announced. The first breadcrumb was the release of the pre-release single, Stay Tonight (a track that I want to revisit when I revise my ratings for some songs in a new segment). The second breadcrumb is Play, which was released today and features Changmo. Since Stay Tonight, Chungha has also collaborated with the popular rapper pH-1 on the track My Friend, which I have yet to review. But we are here for thoughts on Play, so let’s get to that first.

By the time I had finished listening to Play for the first time, I knew that this was going to the be the 2020 Summer song to beat. The energy and atmosphere she creates for herself in this song is so epic and grand, it really helps to overlook the song’s flaw, the Latin pop genre. While that has been a typical sound throughout the Summer seasons over the last few years and Play itself incorporates with brass elements and synths that we have heard many many times before, Chungha manages to somehow reform it to make it come off refreshing and exciting in Play. That is already a strong cause for an applause. I really like her vocals in this song. The instrumental could have easily overwhelmed and masked all of Chungha’s vocals. But Chungha’s vocals soar high enough to be in the forefront of the song. And that is saying a lot, considering how blastful and bombast this instrumental got, especially as we approached the end. Also featuring on this song is Changmo, who’s rap sequence added a cool dynamic to the song. It somehow balances out the upbeat energy of the chorus and gives us some relief after the first chorus. Same thing can be said about the bridge, which slows the song down (but allows for the return in the final chorus to be super impactful). The melodies and hooks were catchy and may become super addictive if I give the song any more listens (which will happen!). Overall, I am in awe and loving Play.

Once again, the music video takes on that closeup and choreography approach, which I have (many times) stated was a bore. But the music video for Play is captivating enough to override that statement. There were some epic moments, aside from her beautiful visuals (which alone were enough to steal my attention away from the formula), that really wowed me. Chungha becoming a bullfighter with the red sports car was definitely one of those. Actually, any moment in that particular setting was amazing. I also really liked the birdcage choreography scenes, as that set looked really cool.

It is unknown whether Chungha would be promoting this time around. It soon became apparent that Stay Tonight would be extremely difficult to perform on stage due to various formations formed. But I don’t see any of that in this choreography, which may present hope that we will be seeing a stage performance of Play soon. I really like how the atmosphere from the song came through in the performance and how charismatic Chungha looked throughout the performance. I also liked the energy that came from the chorus routine alone, as that looked cool.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.5/10

[Review] Yours – Raiden & Chanyeol ft. Lee Hi & Changmo

Two weeks ago, Raiden and Chanyeol collaborated on a single titled Yours. We got less than a week’s notice and I had not picked up on its earlier, so I was caught off guard with the release of Yours (my excuse for posting a late review). For those who don’t know Raiden, he is a DJ and producer under SM Entertainment. For those who don’t know Chanyeol, he is the main rapper of the widely known KPOP group EXO (who is also under SM Entertainment). Credited as a featuring artist in Yours is Lee Hi and Changmo. Lee Hi is a former YG Entertainment solo artist, who has recently signed with Makeus Entertainment (home of Sunmi), while Changmo is a very popular rapper in Korea. Together, this is a very star studded collaboration, adding another to the month of May.

The different artists participating in this song are all very different in usual content that they release as standalone artists. But Yours converges them all into a light funky R&B track. There is a bit of retro vibe to the instrumental, but it is very subtle. In terms of overall impressions of the song, I found Yours to be very upbeat and fresh. It has a nice Summery vibe, which I think is suitable for this time of the year (for South Korea). In addition to all of that, Yours is also has a pleasant and calming tone. Chanyeol predominately sings. Usually, I find his voice to be very husky. But it sounds quite smooth in this song. Lee Hi’s airy vocals sounds very innocent and sweet, unlike any Lee Hi release I remember from the top of my head. Both singers do a really good job of harmonising together, helping bringing the track together. I really like the vocal layering during the chorus. They both sing and harmonise in the top layer of the chorus, while Chanyeol sings in the background. It may appear to be a little messy, but it actually gives the song additional definition. Somehow, this becomes a clever hook, in addition to the two singers singing the ‘I’ll Be Yours‘ in the chorus. Changmo adds more of that rap roughness and his vocal segments give the song some texture. Adding to the texture of Yours at the very end was the heavily electronised robot-sounding vocals, which felt like a ‘just right’addition. I don’t think Yours is my personal cup of tea, but it a really nice song to kick back to.

I thought the music video was rather artistic. While Chanyeol and Lee Hi shines in the actual music, I feel like the music video does a great job of highlighting Raiden’s presence in this collaboration. The sets and cinematography when we see him perform the various instruments looked really cool. The only artist to feature alongside Raiden in the video is Chanyeol, who takes pictures of the various sets which we see him in. All looked quite good and I am sure there is a deep meaning to each of the images he hang up at the end, which looks like they represent the seasons.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10