Try as they might, Cube Entertainment just hasn’t been able to push girl group CLC over the finish line. This makes the decision to debut I-DLE a little surprising — especially since these girls are peddling quite a similar sound. But business decisions aside, I’m always here for new female acts that opt for an edgier aesthetic. “Latata” may not be revolutionary, but its well-worn template gets the job done.
I-DLE has been ostensibly built around leader Jeon Soyeon (of ‘Produce 101‘ and ‘Unpretty Rapstar‘ fame), but she’s joined by a quintet of compatible performers that match her formidable charisma. “Latata” gives them plenty to do, pinballing between KARD-style tropical pop and attitude-heavy hip-hop. This all would have felt more impressive a year or two ago before these sounds had become completely overused, but it’s to the group’s credit that the song works despite its derivative nature.
“Latata”‘s instrumental bolsters its tropical blips and bloops with a resounding stomp as the chorus drops. This sense of enormity makes the track feel bigger than it is, and offers an addictive contrast to the high-pitched “I love you” hook that bookends its refrain. There may be a bit too much instrumental repetition in place of an extra blast of melody, but the girls sell it in the same way that BLACKPINK elevated the similarly simplistic “Playing With Fire“. It’s strange. “Latata” is very much a trend-following debut and can easily be compared to several established acts. Yet, it somehow paints a more individual picture than most new girl groups seem to manage. I’m excited to see where they go next.