Monday, January 14th, 2019

Chung Ha – Gotta Go

Stepping out alone after her Readers’ Week collaboration


Joshua Minsoo Kim: While Chung Ha showed immense promise during her Produce 101 and I.O.I days, “Gotta Go” solidifies her as one of the best Korean female soloists today. She partners with Black Eyed Pilseung and Jeon Goon here — the same people behind her breakout hit “Roller Coaster” — for her most impressive single to date. The song features a dazzling arrangement of synthesized flute melodies, warped vocal samples, trap-like percussion, ice-cold synths, and a spattering of freestyle elements. It comes together elegantly, at once desperate and sorrowful and seductive. Over the instrumentation is Chung Ha’s vocal melodies, curling and soaring to express her anguish: she’s in love with someone but it’s already midnight, and the threat of losing everything looms over her now that it’s time to leave. What is “Gotta Go,” then, but an unresolved Cinderella story — one that portrays the horrifying realization that after the royal ball comes the same, loveless life of old. There’s no fairy godmother, no glass slipper, no search party to come; the real world has no qualms about your vanishing happy ending. In a final attempt at changing the trajectory of her life, Chung Ha screams out in the bridge: “I’m really trying to make you see!” In the extended instrumental section that follows, you sense her intransigence turning into acceptance; the cries of “Gotta Go” that were once a last-minute grasping at straws are now of dejected admission. The End.

Thomas Inskeep: I like the tone of Chung Ha’s voice a lot, and the track is so all over the place (trappish beats! weird synth hiccups! brief freestyle fx!) that I can’t stop listening for more elements. This is how you throw everything and the kitchen sink at a song and make it work.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: A trap pop song but with the saturation on everything turned all the way up — when the bridge comes in with a new array of candy-colored hooks with a minute left in the song, I was almost shocked at the sheer excess. If anything, “Gotta Go” is slightly overstuffed. It’s a great time as is, but with a little extra time to breathe Chung Ha’s charming vocal performance could really shine.

Nicholas Donohoue: One thing that has endeared me to my limited dive into K-pop is how much effort is put into every detail of production, which is what interests me here; this sounds like a demo track. A detailed, layered and managed demo, but one where the hits sound a little too low, the breaks in the transitions seem rushed and messy, and like a few more vocal takes mixed and matched could have heightened the song more.

Alfred Soto: The sampled whistle grows in intensity in the last third until “Gotta Go” rattles like a Rihanna or freestyle track yearning to breathe free.

Ryo Miyauchi: That snakecharmer’s flute sounds deceptively simple for a song with a complicated story, and the dark bass shrouds it in this vague aura of familiarity like a face you can’t quite remember. It inspires a curiosity that works in Chung Ha’s favor as she lures you closer only for the night to seemingly get in the way. She may sing about the end as an unfortunate farewell in the chorus and especially the bridge, squeezing as much melodrama as she can out of the implied loneliness. But she’s ultimately the one in control of this narrative, always the one tapping her watch to signal her time to go without a care for a clean exit. She makes you a fool for believing in such a thing called fate.

Reader average: [6.71] (7 votes)

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2 Responses to “Chung Ha – Gotta Go”

  1. I’m really glad Jacob hit at the same messy nature I did, I like when there’s different subjective takes on an agreed upon qualitative element.

  2. Between this and apink’s new song, black eyed pilseung is knocking it out of the park