Song Review: Lapillus – Gratata

Lapillus - GratataWith 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.

Hooks 6
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7

24 thoughts on “Song Review: Lapillus – Gratata

  1. What do you mean when you say a melody is ‘clipped’? I’ve seen you use that phrase a lot in the context of these blustery attitude-filled tracks.


    • I mean that the melody lines are sharp and brief — more like melodic talking than the kind of dynamic swoops that characterize a song like RoaD-B’s Icarus.

      Basically, the melodies never have enough time and space to develop into anything interesting or memorable.

      Liked by 3 people

        • Definitely! I love songs that use a staccato approach, where these clipped melodies are a function of the rhythm and highlight the groove. Something like the verses of SHINee’s U Need Me, for example:

          Liked by 3 people

        • Itzy “Dalla Dalla” is another good kpop example.
          People look at me, and they tell me …

          To go old school, early U2 has remarkably short lines, such as “Electric Co”. The whole sung part of the song is perhaps 12 lines long.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Haha speaking of Universe reviews, there’s one coming up tomorrow and I think the app’s influence has finally broken me. I may just write a normal review for it. I didn’t realize these Universe mvs would be going on for years when I started with the novelty reviews!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. These are teenage girls. Why in the hell are they getting this kind of music to work with? I can excuse the whole gunpoint dance moves with groups like Big Bang, but the youngest member of this group was born in the same year I had my bar mitzvah.
    As for the song itself, I think a 7 is extremely generous. I found the arrangement to be extremely grating and the constant brrrrrrr was irritating. For the love of Talos, please give this group something bubbly and fresh instead of this nonsense.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh no…
    Oh nooooo….

    How faceless and uninspiring. I’d rather go and listen to the gorgeous Color Me by Junny and Chungha instead of suffering through this obnoxious shitpiece.
    I feel for Lapillus and I believe that one day they’ll be blessed by material which is genuinely nice, which helps ’em show all of their talents..

    As for the rating, Nick’s one is too high. For me, it would be in the low 6’s at best.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It does not bring anything new to the girl crush soundscape but it is good enough. I’m starting to like some of the vocal tones of the group, especially Chanty and Yue, and I think it makes their songs sound different from other girl crush songs. Additionally, it seems to be their signature thing to have a couple of high notes towards the end of the song, and it seems to work out pretty well. Overall, I’m not mad. It is fine, but unremarkable. I did think that Nick would have rated it lower than a 7. I personally think that this is 7.5.

    Unpopular opinion, but I genuinely liked Hit Ya. The running motif (the arabian sounding thingy every time the chorus drops) is one of my favorite things I’ve heard the whole year. There are tons of kpop songs with different melodic lines in the instrumental but only few that I can truly remember easily, and Hit Ya’s beat drop melody is one of them. If there is anything I liked more in Gratata than in Hit Ya, it is the fact that Chanty who is one of their strongest singers got actual melodic lines than saying ‘my engine never stop’. But besides that, I like Hit Ya a lot more than Gratata. It is almost like a guilty pleasure.

    Unrelated to the group, but the live stage of Dice made me appreciate the song a lot more. I feel like the terrible vocal mixing and imbalance with the instrumentation played a big role in making it sound more obnoxious in the studio ver. The talk-singing lines also sound less sharp in the live ver., which makes them more bearable. I hate how the studio ver. kind of emphasized the vocal’s worst qualities.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agree on all of your points here. I’ve liked both of Lapillus’s featured tracks; and I think the south Asian sounding beats help set them apart.

      NMIXX’s performance renderings of both of their title tracks have been better than the MV’s. It’s been surprising…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Makes me wonder if it is really that hard to get the studio ver. to sound as good as it should be… JYP does not lack budget, nmixx have the ability to actually sing, yet other groups with weaker vocals and from smaller companies have better vocal mixing than them. Think IVE and STAYC. It really should not be that hard right???

        Also NMIXX is really able to showcase their talent in live performances. One of the best performance groups out there right now, whether it be singing, dancing and stage presence. They actually sing live and sound good live. It makes me frustrated when they sound better doing covers than their own songs sometimes…

        At this point I don’t actually dislike O.O and (to some extent) Dice but like since they have the talent to pull off anything the company needs to keep up with their talent and give them good songs. I get that their idea is mix pop and they can keep this idea as long the execution is polished. I hope their 3rd comeback will be a proper hit because it is such a shame when groups get music that don’t keep up with their talent. One of the main reasons why O.O and Dice is not a total train wreck is because these songs were given to group with solid skills all round. But JYP should not rely on their skills completely.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is generic, but a good step up from whatever Hit Ya is. The instrumental has good pacing and intensity to compliment each part. There is enough material to let the vocal team shine, and the rappers also get good amount of lines to serve. There are also interesting vocal mixing techniques done here as well. Overall, it is still generic, but done well for me. 8/10 for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Better to make a bad song than a generic one!

    Hit Ya is still the more memorable song, for all it’s…terrible parts.

    This is a song I’ll probably never listen to again.


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