Song Review: TRI.BE – Doom Doom Ta

Over the past few months, some of K-pop’s most respected producers have creating groups of their own. Last November saw the debut of STAYC, under the guidance of duo Black Eyed Pilseung. And now we have TR.IBE, who are managed by a-list producer Shinsadong Tiger. If only my beloved Sweetune would get in on the trend and cobble together a super group as well! Producers like this have been ensconced in the industry long enough that they’ve earned a certain level of trust. Their name alone carries a promise to the listener. You may not always like what they’re going to give you, but you always know it’ll be polished and expertly crafted.

Shinsadong Tiger is no stranger to girl groups. Not only has he produced tracks for many of them, but he actually founded his own label for 2012-debut EXID. In fact, a quick glance at his history reveals several such endeavors. This guy opens labels like nobody’s business, and his latest is TR Entertainment – home to new group TR.IBE. Of course, none of this means anything if the music itself isn’t good.

Thankfully, Doom Doom Ta is good. It rides on the 2019 “ITZY” sound, but succeeds thanks to its focus on percussion. Doom Doom Ta has an incredibly addictive beat, and rarely strays from it. This single-mindedness is increasingly rare in K-pop, but invaluable when it comes to a rhythmic track like this. The drum loop here is unyielding, and will almost certainly get your body moving. In fact, it’s so addictive that they actual melody (and group!) kind of plays second-fiddle. Make no mistake, Doom Doom Ta is home to as much ineffective sing-talk as the next K-pop track, but when stabs of brass join the party for the hands-in-the-air climax, none of that matters. This is a stone cold groove, and that goes a long way.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9


30 thoughts on “Song Review: TRI.BE – Doom Doom Ta

  1. Thank heavens they pronounced their name a few times. I kept thinking “A Tribe … called quest” when I saw it on the list.

    This song has a lot of momentum to it, and best of all it keeps up the momentum for nearly all of it.

    Once again, the live showcase has zero live vocals, those things aren’t even turned on, why bother. ‘

    This kind of flavor occupies the same soundscape as a lot of other groups out there, some of them recently debuted and some recently disbanded (I really can’t keep track), but the recent StayC also comes to mind. Even perhaps aespa and Itzy could drift to this sort of song – the Itzy Icy song is a sing-song hair away from this – sub out “I say blah blah, … they keep talking I keep walking” for the chorus – you have to start a beat or so ahead of the measure.

    I wish them the best of luck. They spent a boatload on the video, perhaps too much, so I hope that in a few comebacks they still have money for a good product. It seems to be the kpop business style recently to put all the money on the first and second release to make it big out of the gate, rather than make careful choices to construct a sound and fanbase a la, say, Dreamcatcher.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I don’t have the eyes and ears for live vocals that you have, so I have been wondering.. have ‘older’ groups also evolved to using more backtracks and prerecordings? Or do they still sing live? (Alright, fine- yes- I am thinking of Shinee’s Marry You performance).


      • The give-away here was the utter lack of movement noises despite the choreo. It starts to be obvious with the second singer – the head and hair flip at 0:24 and yet nothing seems to change about the intonation and inflection in the vocals. And then it keeps going on like that – the utter lack of sound of movement, the utter lack of sound coming from the room. The room sounds non existent, and not just because there is no audience. Plus there are a few lip-syncing errors here and there.

        Shinee Marry Me ‘ – that is a half and half style. The verses are live. Taemin’s mic has a mild echo effect on it. There is a clear (arguably heavy) backing chorus on the chorus that comes from the track, with the boys just singing along with the melody line. Also the later verses have harmony from the backing track. Onew and Key have some nice falsettos in there – you can hear the human-ness in it – the light cracking, and running out of breath.

        Shinee same showcase ‘ It’s a bit more obvious that Taemin’s vocal is a different sort of half and half – The verses are live with little tah’s and pah’s of the force of his breath against the mic; the first half of the chorus is probably canned the second half of the chorus live. Minho and Onew are both live. I really don’t know about Key. The crowd noise is canned on all of the above, and the same can of canned.

        But to answer your question, I think the 2nd gens who are still promoting all sing a helluvalot live more both then and now versus whatever we are calling the current gen.

        TVXQ Mirotic then and now
        SuJu Bonamano then and now
        Big Bang “Haru Haru” then and now-ish

        Other kpop groups back when examples – far from a complete inventory, but clearly actual live signing was de rigeur
        ‘ Debut stage!
        ‘ Bum notes and all
        ‘ classic performance
        ‘ surely you’ve seen this one too, 100m people have seen this one

        Or how about these guys and girls

        Liked by 1 person

        • Whoa, thank you! This is so interesting. I was thinking that it was probably a half-half situation too, some parts really have a live sound to it (first verse) but in the chorus I can barely distinguish their voices at all- the backing vocals are so louud. Now that you pointed out the echo on Taemins mic I can’t unhear it but I would not have noticed it before.

          The TVXQ performance in particular strikes me because wow, the choreography looks so calm compared to choreos now. It makes sense then that they can focus more on live singing.

          (Also let no one reading this assume that we’re here to pick apart Shinee or any group on their vocal performance. I know Shinee are good singers with or without backing tracks, effects or editing.)


      • It should be noted that many stages use a backing track because the artists are expected to also execute exhaustive dance routines. Even if each singer could offer a pitch perfect live performance if they stood still, very few could pull it off while dancing. You often hear Park Jin-young (JYP) trying to teach his artists how to balance dancing and singing during a live performance.

        Still, there are artists in K-pop that can’t sing a note. If not for the witchcraft happening in the studio, they’d be reduced to marionettes; though, technically, some still are. Shh.. ..I never said that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • True! And there is nothing wrong with that. Kpop artists to me are performers first, singers second (or just..not at all). This is especially true for 3rd and 4rth gen groups – choreography, visuals/concept and variety talent have become increasingly important. Many groups need only one or two members specialized in singing – the others can be trained up to average and technology can do the rest. Those ‘others’ (usually) have other things they specialize in, like rapping or dancing.

          What annoys me is the lack of transparency. Comments under performances saying ‘wow they’re so stable live’ when the video shows the group doing parkour on stage over a backing track. We should not believe that idols can do everything, simultaneously, perfectly – even when it looks that way.

          I know this is probably me preaching to the choir, my apologies to the choir.

          Liked by 3 people

          • No apology necessary. And you’re right, there’s a lot of people that build up their faves without doing the mental math, but I’ve been guilty of the same. Still, some fans are blackout levels of punch drunk for their stans. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to deal with a sloppy drunk, but it is a clumsy ballet that I never wanted tickets to. That’s what it feels like reading some comments on YouTube.

            That’s why I come here to post. Nick’s social cafe has the right level of sensibility that I need to offer up my 2p.

            Liked by 2 people

      • Update: there is a music show that is live-ish from Mnet.
        Its OK, about typical for expectations these days for “stable singing”. Its the sing-a-long with yourself style, which means those girls that have been pitch corrected more are very easy to pick out. Hearing it again made me realize that the bulk of the song is almost C to C with a few excursions slightly higher or lower, so it isn’t very rangey. That high note (4:00), that wasn’t good, that was reaching and screaming it out.

        I will second Xeno’s comment that some kpop kids these days can’t even carry a tune. This is not the first time I say it on this blog, and it won’t be the last.


        • That’s the downside of using a backing track I suppose – when you have idols sing along with a perfectly pitched track any deviations are going to be even more obvious. Some of those high notes became extra jarring because the ‘correct’ note could be heard at the same time!

          You’re not wrong – it’s just that many idols these days don’t have to be good singers. They have different roles and strengths and on top of that their performance can be enhanced with technology. On top of that, rap and sing-talk style is more popular than ever.

          Personally I’m still a sucker for a good vocal performance though (hence many of my biases being main vocals of their group).


  2. I would barely give this a 7 lol. It kinda sounds like if StayC tried to do ITZY… but failed? I don’t know, it just doesn’t have much to it. Maybe it will grow on me, at least it’s not overly noisy.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s hilarious that a group debuted only two years ago already has sons in the industry. That being said, 2020 onward’s influx of itzy rejects are a ton of fun and this is no exception. I’ll probably get sick of the trend within a year or two but in the meanwhile I think I’ll be tri be be-ing da loca


  4. This almost veers too far into Itzy territory for me- if you told me this was their new title track I would have believed it. Part of me wants to complain that it doesn’t sound original. However, before my naggy side can fully kick in the groove has caught me and all is forgiven. After all, having more music sound like Itzy is not a bad thing to me.

    I particularly like that harmonised high note in the bridge. Pretty good!

    Liked by 3 people

    • If I hadn’t listened to the entire song, I would’ve completely agreed with the first part of your post. Like you, it was the last third of the song that snared me. It’s as if the producers said, “Okay, we roped them in with the trendy stuff, now let’s give them some flavor.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow…I can’t get this out of my head despite not enjoying the song all that much.

    On another note, the B-side “Loca” sounds almost too similar to Blackpink’s “Pretty Savage.”


  6. Observation Mode – The Music Video:

    I’m almost numb to girls being pretty models wearing high fashion in this industry, so I’m more tuned to scoping out idiosyncrasies and personal flair. A few of the girls piqued my curiosity in that regard. It’s too soon to start calling out a bias based on individual talent or personality so the jury will be sequestered until additional releases drop.

    Observation Mode – The Song:

    I like it; provisionally. They went the chaotic “Weki Meki debut” route of trying to throw everything into the introduction, but I’m getting used to companies doing that. Since they went the “spaghetti against the wall” route, I’ll admit that a few strands stuck with me. They’ve got my attention. I will look forward to their next release which will hopefully be more singularly cohesive.

    Comment Mode – Nick’s Review:

    I remember back to my early days in K-pop World. I was panning the YouTube stream for K-pop nuggets. There was a ton of 1st gen stuff, but I wasn’t tuned in to that era; I was mining for 2nd gen. One of the earliest entries into this genre for me was a woefully underappreciated song called “Do You Know” from a girl group called “Brave Girls”. I completely fell in love with it. Sure, it was a blatant nod to The Pussycat Dolls, but so what; it was wonderful. I hunted down the few other releases by them, and they were different, but didn’t draw me in as much.

    I wasn’t elbows deep into K-pop back then, so I wasn’t trying to look at the man behind the curtain. Whatever was going on behind the scenes, (e.g., producers, production, company, etc.) wasn’t my focus. As time progressed, I learned more about Brave Girls. More specifically, the creative force behind them.

    Which brings me to Kang Dong-chul, otherwise known as Brave Brothers. Turns out, Brave Girls is one of his house groups. As one of the most prolific producers of songs for over a decade, it confused me that some of his best creations went to “other” groups. He would occasionally give a song or two to one of his in-house groups. We’d get a Brave Girls release once in a while, but the songs seemed “less” compared to some of the truly great stuff he was sending to other agencies. Maybe he felt the financial rewards were greater as a song producer versus a group producer. I don’t know.

    Anywho, I just bring him up because he is an example of what the original post was touching on.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m getting tired of all these girl groups debuting with the same concept and I’m also getting tired of when they DO these kind of concept, ITZY is most probably mentioned. I love ITZY and this is their sound and why do producers still keep jumping on that trend when no one can do it better than ITZY ? This is a solid 5 for me. Quite forgettable, also why the bside Loca sounds a lot like Pretty Savage.


  8. The instrumental is like a super sped up version of the horn intro from Don’t Touch by WJSN. I just had to leave this comment here because it took me forever to figure out what it was reminding me of— I knew it was a girl group b side. I don’t know if they cribbed this from WJSN or if the sample is from something else that I’m not aware of?


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