Review

Song Review: Secret Number – Who Dis?

Originally scheduled for debut in March, COVID-19 pushed back Secret Number’s first single album to May. And, as any new act is wont to do, they’re confidently asking us: Who Dis? Extra points for the intentionally bad spelling and grammar. But though that title might conjure images of cringe-inducing “hip-hop hands” and misguided hair styles, Who Dis actually throws back to a different time in K-pop. It would have fit in perfectly with 2015’s slate of brass-heavy girl group singles.

Seriously, upon listening to Who Dis, I thought I had gone back a few years. This isn’t a bad thing. After all, 2015 K-pop >>> 2020 K-pop. But, it did surprise me. The track’s instrumental isn’t at all inventive, but I’ll take its straightforward energy and driving percussion. The central brass loop has potential to grate. Thankfully, it’s used sparingly, replaced with a more buoyant arrangement for the chorus.

I also appreciate how Who Dis doesn’t force the girls into an affected aegyo-meets-girl-crush style. For the most part, they give a clean, direct performance that emphasizes power and vocal blend. With that said, I would have loved to hear a big belter like Ailee really attack the chorus. As evidenced by the satisfying pre-chorus, Secret Number clearly have some talented vocalists, but the song would have been improved by a bravura performance as its centerpiece. Instead, much of the track’s personality falls to the group’s rapper, who infuses the post-chorus with a fun sassiness. Ultimately, Who Dis exists just on the razor’s edge of “generic,” but its energizing sense of verve helps it stand out.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

16 thoughts on “Song Review: Secret Number – Who Dis?

  1. For a debut, this was actually pretty good. There is an Actual Low Note in the verse, that is sung and not whispered, more than once! 0:25-0:27, and again in other verses. About a D# or E. … I think it is supposed to be an E, but somehow (for a low note) it is sung flat to be approaching a D#.

    I was thinking more Itzy influenced than 2015ish influenced, so maybe it is both!

    I couldn’t place the brass sample, but I know it is from or also used on something else recent on my itunes.

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    • I am very triggered by singers who sound like they have a sip of water in mouth once they reach B or higher. Maybe that’s the biggest itzy influence, also the video as well. The beat comes from 2015.

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      • They just sort of muscle there way up there to about a D in the chorus don’t they, sliding both up and down, where others might jump cleanly into head voice. It doesn’t bother me so much as it isn’t a whiny tinny strained sound, just a bit sloppy. It is definitely a “pop vocal”.

        Have I introduced you to my new kpopera favorites Forestella yet? Oooh Forestella. nom nom nom

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    • Oh yes, that too! So three rookie groups all using essentially the same sample in under a year. (Dongkiz, MONT, Secret Number) Does anyone know the original song they are all sampling from?
      This is like the Tom Tom Club “Genius of Love” sample for kpop. (… 80’s song by a sub-group of the Talking Heads, sampled by everyone, most notably on Mariah Carey “Fantasy”.)

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  2. Out of the 3 recent girl group debuts that’s definitely the one that I like the most. I’m a huge sucker for melodic songs and “Who Dis?” is right up my alley!

    Like

  3. Um its a nice song but is everyone going to ignore the poorly mixed prechorus? They seemed to be fighting the beat and it sounded very awkward. Which is weird given how good the rest of the song is good

    Like

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