Summer might be a bit quiet this year (unless you’re selfish and cramming up against a heap of shirtless bodies on an island at night somewhere, I digress), but our beloved K-pop Queens are doing what they can to keep us entertained with some much needed at-home escapism.
Chung Ha already delivered one of the year’s best songs in the form of “Stay Tonight,” the first pre-release from her forthcoming album, which even managed to spark non-K-pop fan interest and go vaguely viral on social media because of its choreography-filled, vogueing-inspired visual. (On a related note, if you liked that, watch Legendary on HBO Max.)
On Monday (July 6), Chung Ha returned with Pre-Release No. 2: “Play,” and this time, she’s going full “Living For Love”-era Madonna and supplying us with a full matador-meets-Midsommar flower-filled fantasy.
The Latin-pop inspired banger was co-written by her frequent collaborators Anna Timgren, Vincenzo, Any Masingga and Fuxxy, who all also worked on “Stay Tonight,” as well as “Offset” and “Bad Boy” for Offset and “Flourishing” and “Chica” for Flourishing. The song also features a verse from rapper Changmo, who collaborated with Chung Ha on “Remedy” last year. (He references that song, as well as “Play” and “Stay Tonight” in his rap.)
“Play” is a loud, hectic one for sure, full of noisy production and banging beats as Chung Ha belts her way through the pulsating, tropical dance beats. Like many of her past releases (“Roller Coaster”), it’s fairly English-heavy as well: “Do it for me, uh, that’s my bae / Play, play, play you on repeat!” she cries out. ‘
The urgency of it all might feel like a bit of an aural assault at first, but on repeat (eh heh), the song really reveals itself to be an infectious smash for the sunny season.
True to Chung Ha form, the accompanying music video is a visual feast – and is about as overloaded with blink-and-you’ll-miss-it imagery as the sonically stuffed song itself: from basking in a field of flowers (Florence Pugh would be proud!), to providing some elements of flamenco dancing and a mesmerizing bullfighter-meets-sports car scene (you wanna Lamborghini? you better bullfight, bitch) – extremely Rosalía‘s “Malamente” of her to do, actually.
And of course, she’s never missed a beat when it comes to supplying the fancy footwork – the captivating choreography is yet another successful and energetic display.
As with Sunmi, Chung Ha is one of South Korea’s most promising solo acts on the scene. And the fact that “Play” is still just a pre-release, and not even the title track from her upcoming release due out sometime later this year, bodes well for what should absolutely be one of the year’s best K-pop records.
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Photo Credit: @chungha_official