It’s not often a singer sheds all pretences and reveals their true selves to the outside world. It’s not hard to guess why: we aren’t very forgiving when it comes to opinions we don’t agree with. That’s why the bare honesty in ‘Grandma‘ is so unexpected: for once, Lay is telling his own story rather than hiding behind a made-up one. Then again, if anyone was to break conventions, wouldn’t it be the man who sang ‘I’m hot like wasabi’ in Namanana and ‘Mad potential, mashed potatoes’ in Tattoo? Either way, Lay chose to remember his grandma in words neither mysterious nor extravagant, simply the truth.
Your white hair
The last moments
Being by your side
Remembering my childhood days where you were teaching me to ride my bike
I was growing up, you were growing old
Backed by a characteristic piano with hints of a trap beat, Lay reflects on their sweet relationship in a smooth, lyrical and achingly sad way. However, this EXO’s ‘Promise’ style ballad hides a dancer’s rhythm, with moments where the sung lines begin to slip into rap. These hip-hop influences come out most clearly in the deep, murmured rhyme after the chorus. The mastery of this part is that while the listener shares in his solemn remembrance, they can’t help but want to dance to his groovy rhythms.
In making a song so personal it seems wrong to sing along, Lay created something people can identify with all over the world. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from this multi-talented artist, it’s that if you’re true to who you are, great art will follow.
Kpop Review Café’s Overall Album Ranking: 6/10
Written by Krystal