Chungha - Roller Coaster
Chungha is a solo artist under M&H Entertainment. She is probably most widely known for having debuted with I.O.I in 2016, but she made her own solo debut in 2017 shortly after their disbandment. "Why Don't You Know" was unexpectedly one of my top songs for last year, so I was really excited that Chungha was not waiting until later in the year to drop something new on us.
The song begins with echoing xylophone notes before a sudden "ayy" voice sample crops up unexpectedly. A sharp, shrill sound fades out imitating a Doppler effect while finger snaps alongside hi-hats drop in and texturize to the beat. A quick building of these same instrumentals crescendos before we hit our first verse. Chungha's warm and silky vocals are blanketed over the same beat, an occasional heavy bass tone thumping in at first until the second half of the verse where it pulls more weight overhead a light drumbeat that replaces the finger snapping.
The pre-chorus slows things down and introduces an acoustic guitar strumming over a grooving synth, and the drums kick back in at high speed to pull us into our chorus. The refrain shifts us into a very buoyant atmosphere with heavy emphasis on rolling high-toned synth notes and a booming bass while Chungha lays down fast-paced vocals before a post chorus hook presents us with a hauntingly catchy "roller coaster" lyric. The bridge is what one might expect, slowing the song down before escalating us to our final chorus and high notes.
"Roller Coaster" starts off with an interesting set of sounds to pull you in, and then pulls the rug from beneath your feet as it swaps into a disco-styled party. I absolutely love how many different styles there are throughout this song, especially because none of them pull too far apart from one another to be jarring. They're blended tactfully and cohesively, and it's flawless in this regard. It sounds like it has an identity rather than it throwing everything it can at the wall and seeing what sticks. If you listen too closely to the song you might find yourself in a bit of a jumble around the chorus, as there are just so many things happening, but otherwise it's not even noticeable while casually listening to it.
The video begins with us in a room with all the lights missing, presenting us with a neon, glow-in-the-dark dance opener before we're transitioned to Chungha walking in a narrow corridor of what looks to be a bar. We get shots of her standing in front of a screen with patterns being projected onto her and then her heading into a trailer. The shots then mostly proceed to swap between these three scenes for the rest of the video, occasionally giving us a boxed room room for dance sections.
This video doesn't really do much in the way of new, but this video does its job of displaying exactly what fans want from Chungha: gorgeous visuals, closeups, and of course the dancing. There's a lot of variation in terms of colors that saturate the screen, but all of them bleed heavily on the side of a vibrant and cheerful atmosphere to match the song. There's not much that I can say about the video other than it being a visual treat. I do think that the glow-in-the-dark outfits are going to help it stay memorable for me, but otherwise this video is just about what I expected.
Chungha surprised me last year, winning me over in a matter of a day when she released "Why Don't You Know." "Roller Coaster" did not disappoint me as a song whatsoever, and I'm glad to say that Chungha is very quickly becoming one of my favorite solo artists in the modern K-Pop scene. If you're into the retro side of things, I'd say that this song is right up your alley, and even if you're not, you might find it worth your while to give it a listen.