[Review] Sparkling – CHUNG HA

CHUNG HA kicked started the week off with her comeback Sparkling and the first part of her second studio album, Bare & Rare. This comeback is the first time we have seen CHUNG HA on stage in over a year and a half following the release of her first studio album Querencia and the title track Bicycle at the start of 2021. CHUNG HA has released some music since that comeback, but has not been actively promoting her releases. Some music include My Lips Like Warm Coffee (a collaboration with Colde), WHY DON’T WE (another collaboration, but with RAIN) and the special single Killing Me at the end of last year.

CHUNG HA’s Sparkling, since the very beginning, has been a very bright, refreshing and upbeat track that fits perfectly into the Summer season. Since its release on Monday, I find each listen to be a great experience that just makes me happy and that it is a vivid listen. It was a mostly consistent pop synth sound, which for Sparkling is a great sound profile to have. The only part that doesn’t necessarily fit well for me was the trap styled start to the second verse, particularly the presence of those metallic clang and twangs. It was passable when I consider the overall sound of Sparkling, but it still does stuck out like a sore thumb. On the other hand, I enjoyed the addition of guitars in the final chorus to give Sparkling some extra oomph at the end. It adds a rock like influence to the end that just did wonders to the song and help prevent Sparkling from falling into the trap of being too consistent, if you know what I mean. I also enjoyed the small details in the instrumental, such as the whistle and that pop in the midst of the Sparkling‘s main hook, which just added nice character. Talking about character, CHUNG HA did an amazing job with solid vocals throughout Sparkling. There were also strong hooks and melodies throughout that helped made Sparkling memorable in my books.

For the music video aspect of this comeback, it was a good one. It fits in with the upbeat and bright sound of Sparkling nicely with an underwater concept, the second one this year (the first one was WJSN’s Last Sequence). Throughout the video, CHUNG HA looks pretty and I like the smiles she brings to the video. The video itself experiments with some different camera angles flying over CHUNG HA, and has a nice vivid colour palette as well. However, I do want to note that this isn’t her best music video of all time. Sparkling‘s video takes on that typical formula of closeups and choreography shots, and doesn’t really do anything within those boundaries to set it apart from other music videos that manage to make me go wow with one or both components.

Her past few comebacks have shown off a sexier side, which is completely fine. But for Sparkling‘s choreography, I quite enjoyed that she departed from showcasing that sexier side, even though it wasn’t a knockout routine. It felt quite refreshing and gives CHUNG HA to show off a different dynamic and side as a performer. There are still some sensual moments in the choreography (it just isn’t upfront!), but for the most time, the choreography is lighter and brighter (as with her smiles).

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

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