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Another long overdue album review is finally here. CHUNG HA made her comeback in July earlier this year with the lead single Snapping, which features as the title track of first part of her second studio album, Bare&Rare. Alongside Snapping, there are seven other tracks on the album, all of which will be reviewed today. It follows the release of her first studio album Querencia in 2021 and Killing Me single from late last year. More recently, we have seen CHUNG HA in collaborative singles like When I Get Old (with Christopher) and Color Me (with JUNNY). This first part of the second studio album proves to be top-notch and continues the strong impression that she left on me through her first studio album. More on the songs below.
1. XXXX – XXXX gives Bare&Rare a bold start, with the deep vibrating synth to kick off the song. This for sure leaves an impression on you. The rest of the song continues its dark tone, repeating the same deep and low vibrating synth, along with some trap beats. CHUNG HA sounds good in XXXX and she delivers her lines in a seductive and alluring manner, which I think makes sense with her intent of the song – which was to tease her haters and those who wrong, whilst also promising to return as a stronger person. (8/10)
2. Sparkling (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for Sparkling. (9/10)
3. Louder – Next up is a pop track that has a funky and groovy undertone to it. Louder is simple, its feel-good and its just brings forth a positive mindset. CHUNG HA makes this song a pleasant one with her vocals, while the instrumental has a bouncy dance tinge to it, which I quite enjoyed. Personally, I am not a big fan of the children voices in the background to bulk up the final chorus. I liked the intent of it, but I felt like the kids made Louder feel quite childish. CHUNG HA is a mature artist and I wished she maintained that persona in Louder’s final moments. (8.5/10)
4. Crazy Like You (ft. BIBI) – Crazy Like You is such a moody song, but I am all for it. I really liked the slow swaying melody to this track, and how all the percussion adds texture to the song. There is also a bit of a rock influence to the song, which I would have liked the song to explore more of. CHUNG HA sounds great, and she really shines with this style of music. BIBI, while was great in her portion of the song, was heavily under-utilised. She was ideal for this song and could have brought more to Crazy Like You, but we never got to see what that would have eventuate to as we barely heard from her. (8/10)
5. California Dream – We get another pop track through California Dream, and it delivers funky and groovy undertones once again. I love how subtle this track is, keeping to itself and never overwhelming. It is extremely pleasant and is quite enjoyable on the ears. I am loving the way the ‘반짝반짝한”(which roughly translates to ‘Sparkling’ in English) rolls off CHUNG HA’s tongue and starts of the chorus. This one is a charmer. (9/10)
6. Good Night My Princess – As I had expected, Good Night My Princess is a ballad. And this one has special meaning to CHUNG HA as it is an ode to her mother. With that context in mind, I feel it is kind of rude to say anything other than praises for this track. But CHUNG HA doesn’t give me much opportunity to say anything negative, as it was a breathtaking pop ballad. The instrumental was dreamy and soothing, and I am loving the guitar work. CHUNG HA herself was captivating and sound beautiful throughout Good Night My Princess. (9/10)
7. Love Me Out Loud – Love Me Out Loud returns to the pop focus of this album. But this one is much more profound, going down the dance pop route. I mean, nothing says dance pop more than the piano or keyboard we hear in the song and those hollow synths. I like the way the chorus soars, courtesy of CHUNG HA herself, which (I think) made me go wow the first time I heard the song. She also made me go wow, again, for the bridge. Two wows. I think it is safe to say with such a song in a corner, CHUNG HA is definitely someone who belongs to the pop genre. (10/10)
8. Nuh-Uh – Final song on the album is Nuh-Uh, which is probably the most experimental she gets on this album. The chorus was definitely a scene-stealer, with the flute work, the repetitive beats, trap elements and CHUNG HA’s attitude with some of her lines and a much lower tone delivery. I also found it to be quite intense, concentrating everything around it into an amazing centerpiece. Elsewhere in Nuh-Uh, we also get a deeper influence of traditional instruments and R&B. It is definitely a cool closer to the album. (8/10)