Monday, May 21st, 2018

(G)I-DLE – Latata

That sounds like the New K-pop Girl Group Klaxon!


Jessica Doyle: New multinational Cube girl group with a witty debut video and a song whose chorus relies heavily on onomotapeia… we’ve seen this before, and I’m tempted to pessimism, but on the other hand CLC and Pentagon have also put out their respective best singles to date this year, and Hyuna put out two of her respective best singles in 2017, so maybe the harbinger of things to come here is not the relative emptiness of the song but Minnie’s relishable slide away from the primary key.

Alfred Soto: With its trop house accents and beats as sharp as the voices, “Latata” can be as onomatopoetic as it wants. 

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: The right track (a very current tropical-pop production, with lots of clattering percussion and enough space to truly bounce) for the right vocal performance (gritty, yet youthful and sensual) for the right concept (a group built around Jeon Soyeon). Strong debut. No nonsense.

Iain Mew: “Latata” is well represented by its two contrasting hooks: “I love ya,” a four syllable vocal tropical wave, and “latata,” much more percussive and in-your-face. It would be easier to decide on one or the other to work with, but they carry on filling the space with both, and more besides. A song stuffed full to the seams works for them and suits a debut, the overall impression being of how much possibility lies ahead. 

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Kim Tae-ho aka Big Sancho announced his departure from Cube Entertainment at the end of April. He was one of the label’s most crucial in-house producers: he crafted 4Minute’s “Crazy,” the CLC song that begged immediate comparison, and played a role in every Hyuna single since “Red” except “Babe.” That last point is amusing since (G)I-DLE’s “Latata” is the producer’s first attempt at tropical house, and comparing the two tracks illuminates why this is so drab. Most of it comes down to how bloodless this is, placing it alongside similarly forgettable songs from K.A.R.D, Blackpink, and Winner. While the chorus certainly hits hard, it doesn’t reach the sensual ecstasy that the lyrics strive for, and the titular line undermines this goal in favor of hollow rhythmic functionality. While Minnie’s haunting melisma and the ghastly vocal sample that hides underneath it are certainly exciting, the rest of the song is far too impenetrable and familiar to allow any of the girls’ personalities to shine through — hugely damning considering this group has Jeon Soyeon. Still, I know my musical biases prevent me from ever loving a song like this; tropical house is one of the least exciting Western trends to find its way into K-pop and I’m only gonna be impressed if the genre is creatively used (as with “Babe”) or its presence feels absolutely earned.

Mo Kim: K-pop has played enough with the tropical house sound in the last few years that “Latata” comes across as familiar, even comforting. What propels it, and excites me most about (G)-IDLE moving forward, is the immediately distinct quality of this six-piece’s voices: the girls sing of “igniting a moment,” and heat emanates from Soyeon’s laid-back confidence, Soojin’s smoldering intensity, and Yuqi’s surprisingly powerful alto. It’s a slow but memorable flame of a debut, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that it registers full marks on the “doing choreography in the shower and almost dying after slipping on shampoo suds” scale.

Reader average: [6] (2 votes)

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11 Responses to “(G)I-DLE – Latata”

  1. just going to point out everybody should take the time to read Joshua’s mouse-overs

  2. I’d missed those mouse-overs and they’re all great and otm, especially baffled by the popularity of KARD

    as far as great k-tropical house goes, Snuper’s “The Star of Stars” is right up there with “Why” and “Babe” for me

  3. Tropical house has really been one of the most disappointing pop trends in recent memory. I’m all for more of a balearic sound in pop and those great Bieber singles at the start of the wave had me very hopeful but it’s managed to end up extremely bland except for a few k-pop gems unfortunately

  4. I just would like to say Moon Hyuna and EU Erine’s “Doong Doong” was one amazing ~tropical pop~ from Kpop last year

  5. I like KARD. I’ve liked their singles. I certainly haven’t been blown away or taken by surprise. But I like the members. And I want a co-ed group to make it big, which is the most important thing speaking in their favor for me.

  6. All right, clearly we’re going to have to come to blows because I thought “Because I’m the Best” was awful (still do) and “Lip & Hip” a considerable improvement.

  7. oh yeah Doong Doong rules

  8. omg totally forgot kard existed

    wtf happened to them

  9. @Ryo Very true. It’s interesting that Doong Doong is good because it’s so simple. It sounds like stock music that I’d hear in a Sandals commercial or something.

    @Jessica I’m intrigued to know why you like Lip & Hip so much! Please explain!

    @Jennifer they played SXSW and said in a Fuse interview that there’s a lot currently in the works and it is presumably gonna be different than their previous stuff.

    On a somewhat related note, I find something like “Because I’m The Best/Roll Deep” exciting because it took inspiration from DJ Mustard’s sound at the time and did something interesting with it. Several K-pop songs have done the same thing (Red Velvet’s “Time Slip” immediately comes to mind) but it seems like this has been relatively not true with trop house? Travis Scott also doesn’t get copied wholesale and if K-pop songs are getting influenced by him it’s usually just via his adlibs.

    A part of it is also just that the trop house sound is so played out. Like, while I wasn’t necessarily huge on Seventeen’s “Don’t Wanna Cry“, I definitely appreciate the very dramatic and very K-pop bridge. But if there were a ton of straightforward Chainsmokers-esque songs out there (which I expected considering their popularity in SK), I would definitely be pretty upset. At least we got a Travis Scott/Chainsmokers type song via Lee Gi-kwang’s “Trick“. Same thing goes for the relative lack of Weeknd-esque songs we got, the most explicit being G.Soul’s “Excuses” trying to be like “Wicked Games” and Jonghyun’s “Let Me Out” trying to be like “Earned It” (note that the first Weeknd-esque song in SK only came after the Ariana collab. And of course SK has an undying love for her).

    I’m also reminded of how I was OK with Loco/Jay Park remaking those Chris Brown RnBass songs on “Thinking About You” because it wasn’t something that had been explored much in SK prior, and in retrospect the track seemed to be a good transition into the general sound that defines AOMG and other popular non-idol rap/r&b nowadays. I think I’m more lenient with stuff that seems to be burgeoning/developing though, like Korea’s underground rap scene (see: Jibby’s “Blossom” being a mediocre take on “Magnolia”, Wet Boyz doing sadboy stuff, or Dbo making an album called Arter 7 because of Young Thug) and dance music scene. If you’ve read this all I’m gonna assume you won’t mind me shamelessly plugging my 2017 K-pop list (which my “Babe” hover text was from. I’m a fraud!) and 2018 Q1 Korean Music list (which, *clears throat* is relatively comprehensive regarding music coming out of Korea? I’m not sure I’ve seen other sites/blogs cover all the different type of stuff that I try to there).

  10. The funny thing (to me anyways) is probably since these blurbs were written that LATATA got its first trophy (even if it was on The Show which I think has a really heavy voting focus which makes it ‘less prestigious’ I dunno I don’t pay that much attention)

    Anyways, DSP is what happened to KARD.

  11. I just listened to this and OMG @ Minnie’s parts. How does her voice sound so good?