Chungha has been teasing her new album for a while now. Her first pre-release Stay Tonight was a great modern dance track and even her CF single, Be Yourself was surprisingly solid. Not only has this raised anticipation for her album but it also proves that she’s a dynamite performer capable of pulling off multiple different styles with ease. Play is the second pre-release from that upcoming project and its unrelenting energy is perfect for the summer.
Opening with a tropical dance beat, Play doesn’t seem like it’s going to really amount to all that much. However, Chungha’s incredible vocals and the songs steady dance beat help maintain the energy needed. While covered in tropical blips and a consistent moombahton dance beat, the track just feels fun. If this were to be released a few years ago, I would have brushed it off as another generic copy. But boy does it feel refreshing in 2020. The sheer amount of energy Play exudes goes a long way in compensating for its rather generic soundscape. The entire song plays out like a mini carnival and in summer, it’s just the kind of song we need more of. This is mainly thanks to the inclusion of more traditional instrumentation during the songs second half that really helps differentiate it from your average tropical bop. The whole song cackles with danceable energy and would have fit right into a Bollywood movie. It’s honestly quite surprising in the best way possible.
Speaking of surprises, we don’t have a post-chorus trap breakdown! I’m not the biggest fan of features but rapper Changmo fits perfectly into Play. In fact, I would consider his verse one of the songs standout moments. It perfectly maintains the energy and momentum of the chorus whilst still allowing for an enjoyable rap breakdown that doesn’t feel needlessly shoehorned in. But whilst most of the song feels like the party of the year, I feel like the melody during the chorus could have been just a little stronger. It’s in no way weak but it just feels a little too basic. A more unique and memorable refrain would have truely made this transcendent but I’ll take what I have.
For now, Chungha is 2 for 2 in terms of pre-releases and the hype for the eventual title track couldn’t be greater.
Final Rating: 8.5 / 10