Need more proof that K-pop is going global? Just take a listen to “Demente,” the charming new single from K-pop idol Chung Ha, which finds the free-spirited singer duetting in Spanish with the Puerto Rican rapper Guaynaa. Taken from Chung Ha’s debut album, Querencia, the track marks the first time a K-pop artist has released a song sung entirely in Spanish.
On “Demente,” Chung Ha flexes her language skills and feathery vocals over a breezy, mid-tempo melody and a reggaeton beat. Guaynaa drops in for a rapid-fire verse before the two combine voices on one final loop of the instantly catchy, head-bopping chorus.
The perfect soundtrack for a sun-soaked beach day, or a subtle kiss-off anthem before a night out with the girls, “Demente” — loosely translated as “insane” in Spanish — finds Chung Ha lamenting a lost love, while waiting unsuccessfully for him to return.
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Chung Ha’s delivery on “Demente” is at once pleading and unbothered, leaving the listener to wonder if she’s really in mourning or just playing her lover for laughs. “Every time I get closer, your love escapes and it leaves me all alone,” she sings, her coquettish voice floating over the dancehall-style rhythm and light synths.
Born in Seoul but raised in Dallas, Chung Ha says she turned to her American friends to help perfect her Spanish on the song, which was originally recorded as a Korean/Spanish track. The full Spanish version of the song cements her global reach, as K-pop continues to explode across regions (a recent Twitter survey found that fans from Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina were among the most engaged when it came to tweeting about the genre). Teaming up with Guaynaa also continues Chung Ha’s streak of international collaborations, having previously worked with Dutch DJ R3hab and Indonesian rapper Rich Brian, among others.
“Demente” is the latest release from Chung Ha’s long-awaited debut album, Querencia, which dropped last month via the Asian-American label, 88rising. The album marks the singer’s first full-length release since leaving the K-pop girl group I.O.I. to go solo in 2017.
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