HOT ISSUE is the debut girl group from S2 Entertainment, a company started recently by CUBE Entertainment founder Hong Seung Sung. The group itself made their debut today with “GRATATA“, which seemed to take them down the BLACKPINK blueprint for better or worse.
HOT ISSUE is a group that’s extremely interesting to me. As mentioned, while not from a major company, their founder obviously knows what he’s doing and should have connections to get them places. How he handles things now that he has the reins again is something to watch, as is whether he backs his at times advocate stances on the industry in practice.
Additionally, now that “GRATATA” has been released, it’s intriguing to see how a group does that has followed BLACKPINK’s musical blueprint seemingly down to the gun onomatopoeia singles. The production follows many of the main cues from a BLACKPINK effort, especially from the second verse on. It’s not identical, as there’s perhaps less space to breathe and more attempt at melody, but it does otherwise hail from the same school. Now for me that’s not necessarily a good thing, as the BLACKPINK songs I’ve loved have focused on melody over “swag”, but there’s obviously an absolutely gigantic market out there for pretty-but-deadly girl crush type concepts.
Still, the chorus especially comes off as misguided, as if a warning to those asking BLACKPINK to flesh out theirs. The “gra-ta-ta” is fine, and I’m used to dealing with corny in K-pop, so the “shoot shoot shoot” is tolerable as well, but then it just keeps going. The fact that the most grating part of the song is the central chorus that replays multiple times makes it just difficult to enjoy.
There have certainly been worse debuts, and none of the shortcomings of “GRATATA” stem from the girls themselves, so it’s nothing a quality follow-up couldn’t fix.