The following is an excerpt from NME. Read the full article here.
Over the last year, music’s escapist capabilities have become more important than ever, offering a route out of a world that has been ravaged by the pandemic. Much like how Dua Lipa’s ‘Future Nostalgia’ captured our imaginations and transformed rooms into a disco wonderland, Chung Ha’s debut album ‘Querencia’ whisks us away to another universe – one where impeccable pop bangers replace the blues of quarantines and lockdowns.
‘Querencia’ might have the same effect as Lipa’s acclaimed second album, but it takes its own path getting there. There are no mirrorball-flecked sounds of the ’70s here, but a globe-trotting trip through a melting pot of sounds and influences. We might not be able to travel far from our front doors right now, but one of K-pop’s most in-demand stars is helping us hop from continent to continent, country to country in our heads.
An important part of Chung Ha’s travel itinerary is Latin America. There are the sounds of Latin genres dotted throughout the record, which itself takes its title from the Spanish word for “a place where one finds peace of mind” or can be their authentic self. Her voyage takes in the salsa swings of ‘Masquerade’ to the reggaeton rhythms of ‘Demente’, aided by Puerto Rican rapper Guaynaa. The latter marks the first Latin and K-pop collaboration for a female Korean soloist and highlights Chung Ha’s refusal to be pinned down or limited by boundaries – either geographical or genre – meshing Korean, Spanish and the dancehall-derived beats into an infectious, vibrant cut.