TRI.BE debuted earlier this year, bolstered by the production power of Shinsadong Tiger and EXID’s LE. Though I liked Doom Doom Ta just fine, its legacy has been tied up with the group’s infuriatingly catchy catchphrase: “TRI.BE be da loca!” I find myself chanting it now and again, instantly embarrassed and annoyed. It’s a classic earworm – the kind that sticks around despite attempts to dislodge it.
Of course, that calling card appears in new single Rub-A-Dum as well. In fact, it kicks off the track, just in case you forgot the group you were dealing with here. Beyond that, Rub-A-Dum is a less successful rip-off of Doom Doom Ta, more fragmented and less hooky. It feels like several songs stuck together, borrowing BLACKPINK’s How You Like That pre-chorus and surrounding it with every modern girl group trope you can imagine, from half-time rap breakdown to chant-heavy hook. Rub-A-Dum swerves this way and that, often threatening to fall off the rails completely.
The track’s incessant rhythm holds everything together, but just barely. I appreciate the energy, but too many of its percussive elements feel unconvincing and obnoxious. Rather than focus on one potent groove, Rub-A-Dum throws everything it can into the blender, creating a hodgepodge beat that can be difficult to parse. I’m not a fan of the whistling production underlining the chorus, though the melody itself is more enticing. When all is said and done, the track lacks a unifying idea. It may get your blood pumping in the moment, but Rub-A-Dum is surprisingly difficult to recall once it’s over. Plus, the song is called… Rub. A. Dum. On a certain level, it’s just hard to get past that.