Chunga’s first full length studio album has been teased for almost a year now with a number of very strong pre-release singles and alluring teasers. Songs like Stay Tonight and Play saw Chungha at her strongest, which only raised expectations for what could have been one of the most momentous comebacks of the year. Unfortunately, lead single Bicycle is nothing of that sort, failing to live up to the hype with an arrangement that feels too faceless for a performer of her calibre. Though it does have some surprises up its sleeve.
The thing with Bicycle is that I can easily see some people love it. There’s much to like about the blasts of distorted guitar and more percussion heavy trap soundscape and given a few tweaks it could have been a real standout. It feels like they were going for something along the lines of Rina Sawayama’s excellent XS but ended up with something more along the lines of Ariana Grande’s not so good 7 Rings. That’s because XS felt like it wasn’t trying too hard, leaning into its more melodic and laid back charm to contrast its harder edged instrumental choices. Bicycle sounds as though it’s throwing almost everything it has towards the listener resulting in a track that feels more like an amalgamation of trendy sounds than a cohesive whole. And the worst part is that apart from the distorted guitar sample and hyperactive percussion during the pre-chorus, none of these samples feel unique or original. Unfortunate indeed.
But what really sinks Bicycle is that awful chorus. Had the track had an irresistible smooth chorus like the song it’s obviously pulling from, then we could have had something here. Instead we’ve got a collection of annoying and instantly grating catchphrases that are a disservice for someone like Chungha. I like the rap that follows in the second verse but the central hook repeats itself too many times for me to ignore its faults. This coupled with an irritating tinny percussion and you’ve completely lost me. Where I’m coming from, this is easily her weakest single since her debut.
Final Rating: 6.5 / 10