Song Review: Hot Issue – Gratata

Hot Issue - GratataIt’s debut day for girl group Hot Issue, who join many of their peers as the latest attitude-infused act with a penchant for onomatopoeia chants and aggressive percussion. With the global success of groups like BLACKPINK and ITZY, this template has become a go-to style during this era in K-pop. Unfortunately, its brash energy is rarely to my taste and feels more derivative with each track that’s released.

A generation ago, this sort of edgy girl group fare was a staple on my playlist. 2NE1 ruled the roost, but they were supported by excellent songs with killer melodies. Even a song as melodically skeletal as I Am The Best never succumbed to an exhausting “rumpumpum” or “bambambam.” And that’s the biggest issue with Gratata (그라타타). It’s as much a cliché as it is a song.

This is despite some satisfying percussion and hints of vocal prowess that convince me Hot Issue are capable of greater things in the future. Unfortunately, Gratata’s threadbare chorus does them no favors. It’s laughably bad. “I’m a sniper!” “I’m gonna shoot, shoot, shoot!” “You’re gonna boom, boom, boom!”

I mean, the song kind of reviews itself, right? This is just silliness, but it’s performed in a way that never embraces the joke. Instead, we get that omnipresent, ‘pissed off cheerleaders’ delivery that characterizes too many modern comebacks, supported by a self-seriousness that makes the whole affair feel even more ridiculous. I hope their agency invests in stronger material for the first comeback, because this debut just gets lost in the shuffle.

 Hooks 6
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 6.75

25 thoughts on “Song Review: Hot Issue – Gratata

  1. “I’m gonna shoot, shoot, shoot!” “You’re gonna boom, boom, boom!” “We’re gonna bang-a bang-a bang-a”

    Ah, true poetry.
    I wonder if they know the innuendo in the last part of the chorus

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Who wrote the lyrics, I need to lecture him or her ASAP.

    “I’m gonna shoot shoot shoot! You’re gonna bang bang bang! We’re gonna bang bang bang!”, “Nobody deserve (sounds like desert), nobody deserve, but you”, and the whistle-hustle rhyme. It was just…. sad.

    (My spell-correct software did not like that previous paragraph at all)

    Also, I think they are trying to go for a South Asian or Middle Eastern sound, and can’t differentiate one from another. This is a mess, and that is sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ah geez when I saw Hot Issue show up on the April release list, I was excited because I thought they were Hot Place which released the bonkers “TMI” this time two years ago which was a serious guilty pleasure. … This group is not Hot Place, who I now know disbanded some time last year after years of lineup and name changes.

    At this point I think I could write a competent girl crush bratty concept song if so challenged. Just like how a basic dark theme boy band has been ossified into a standard template that is no longer fun or creative or interesting.

    Liked by 3 people

      • What, you are going to make me actually listen to the lyrics?!

        This one really isn’t on my scale, and I am not making a special subcategory just yet just for this song.

        Using an ad hoc point system instead:
        Any song that starts with a “yeah” or inarticulate grunt gets an instant minus one,.
        The English parts actually rhyme, so I have to give them a point.
        On the surface the repetitious elements are a good idea, though comical and poorly executed, so that adds only a half point.
        Single or double entredres are also a good idea in pop, although these girls here maybe don’t know that these are, so only a half point.
        But those are so cringey they are not even cringetastic, so minus a point.

        So overall, I would say the song winds up somewhere in the middle of the muddle.

        As a reminder, the scale is:
        Intelligible English good lyrics that rhyme
        Intelligible English good lyrics
        Unintelligible English of any quality lyrics
        A single lyric line that is so craptastic it is great
        Mispronounced but decent lyrics
        Cringey but campy lyrics
        Oh so bland lyrics
        Really, What does that mean lyrics
        A single word said over over like that will make it mean something
        Well-pronounced lousy lyrics

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s perfectly specific and perfectly accurate. It also explains why these girls tend to come across as bratty rather than actually badass.


  4. Whelp.. ..I.. it? Granted, the lyricist needs to be conked over the head with a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. Still, I found myself more entertained with the music and construction in this song than some titular releases from groups like BP, (G)I-dle, LOOΠΔ, et al.

    Maybe it’s just me, but if you can dodge the lyrics and focus on the little touches added to the music, there’s a real song under there. I don’t know, maybe they just caught me in a generous mood. I’ll revisit this comment in a couple of days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the lyricist was inspired by their four-year-old playing soldier. I agree with Xeno though that aside from the lyrics I don’ think it’s that bad. The production sounds a little messy but it’s not un-enjoyable. There is something there.


    • I don’t think its a bad song, it just sounds and looks like a dozen or more songs already out there. For what it is, it is OK, especially on whatever small budget this agency might have.

      I find myself this year debating whether or not to bother with songs where one little plonkety plonkety change in the some instrumental is the only alluring element for me. The little touches, as you say. In the recent past, I have been willing to toy with sub-optimal songs anyway. Now that I have filled up three ipods, and my listening habits have changed over the past year, the when and where and how I listen to what songs by whom, I’m not as generous this season. There is so much content available, why bother with the little things? Maybe this feeling will pass, maybe it won’t.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I share your sentiments, regarding the trove of offerings in the past two years; though I believe we’re getting triggered for disparate reasons. The industry has definitely become less focused on finding/maintaining a signature sound and more towards a musical chairs mentality of riding the latest trend.

        Can you imagine 2NE1 trying to release “Gee” or “Oh!”? …or Sistar putting out “Me Gustas Tu”? MADNESS! Growing as an artist and experimentation is good. Abandoning what made you “a thing” is not.

        ATTN: To all you group-specific producers! STAY IN YOUR LANE!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Well, after listening to the song several more times, my original assessment stands. I still like it. I understand the “It’s an anathema; kill it with fire!” consensus, but it somehow got its hooks into me. That’s how music is sometimes.

      As a service to the general public, when I’m out and about, I’ll only listen to it with headphones. You’re welcome! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Same here. I especially like the ‘nowhere to run!’ part. Kinda crazy that I prefer this sort of ‘Itzy-knockoff’ to the actual Itzy song that just came out.

        Liked by 1 person

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