With K-pop, it’s gotten to the point where I can almost predict how I’ll feel about a song from its title alone. The exclamation “Gratata” sends shivers down my spine, conjuring images of lame finger-gun dance moves and clanging beat drops that hit with all the nuance of a toilet tumbling down a staircase. This is to say: the fate of Lapillus’s Gratata was all but sealed before I even pressed play on the music video.
Look, I feel for this group. They were already saddled with one of the worst debut tracks of the year and they’re managed by an agency that has its fair share of issues. With this in mind, Gratata is not nearly as bad as I would have expected. The problem is, we’ve heard this exact song at least twenty times over the past year or two. There is literally nothing unique about it. This makes it difficult to have any opinion about Gratata – either good or bad. It’s a well-produced facsimile of a trend that — against all odds — still seems to have teeth within the industry.
On the plus side, I enjoy parts of the instrumental. I can’t tell if that’s sitar I’m hearing or just some fancy synth run through a filter, but I appreciate the production’s inexhaustible energy. It doesn’t lurch here or there, or drop out just when you expect it to get good. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a song draped over this instrumental. The girls are made to shout from beginning to end, whether it’s the titular (and oh-so-predictable) chant or the incessant sing-talk of the verses. Even when their vocals get a spotlight during the pre-chorus, the melody remains clipped and unremarkable. It’s a shame, because Lapillus won’t be able to distinguish themselves from the pack with material this uninspired.