Hot issue debuted earlier this year with the attitude-infused Gratata. Like many onomatopoeia K-pop songs, the sound wasn’t for me. But as fellow 2021 rookies Ciipher proved yesterday, there’s always room for improvement. The ladies are making their first comeback with Icons – another in the seemingly endless series of “I’m the best” girl crush tracks. And true to form, you get what you pay for. If you enjoy this style, Icons will be for you. If not, it’s best to move on.
Of course, my mission to write about every big K-pop release means I won’t be moving on. So, I’ll trudge through the noise in search of redeeming qualities. I’ll also apologize to those who enjoy this omnipresent style. You can either sit through another Bias List temper tantrum, or simply click away. I won’t blame you for choosing the latter!
The thing is, there have been songs within this sub-genre that hold great appeal. ITZY’s debut year comes to mind. But, the style has been so overused these past two years that it’s all but exhausted its ideas. Hot Issue do what they can, and generate a few sparks during the standout pre-chorus. But, once the track plunges into its clanging, Bratz Doll chorus, Icons has lost me. Instead, you’ll find me in the corner drafting a letter to the K-pop industry: “I get it, your idols are cool. They’re badass. They’re the best. I don’t need the constant reminder. Show me something new instead!”