Song Review: TRI.BE – Rub-A-Dum

TRI.BE - Conmigo
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.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7

24 thoughts on “Song Review: TRI.BE – Rub-A-Dum

  1. OOOOH. I loved that. This is just fun and wild.

    I wasn’t fully on board at the start, since it does start with just the drop and some generic rap verses. The raps have grown on me after several listens. But overall, the hooks are pretty great even if one of it’s just an iteration of random three letter words slammed together that k-pop girl groups seem to like. The melodies really sell it, but the production is just nice. I also like the varied instruments used. But honestly, it’s just very fun and I will listen to it more just because of that. Also because the chorus is pretty great.

    Also, even if it does contain the word rub, the title of RUB-A-DUM is not any less worse or better than RING DING DONG, DamDaDi, Umpah Umpah, BIM BAM BUM or any variation of the nonsensical noise titles. At this point it’s just sound.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow _ I really agree here! My immediate thought after listening…
    “This when in one ear and right out the other”

    the grooves great. It’s interesting to see a k-pop to target a South American audience with the baile funk/Brazillian funk concept.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Try be be da loca. Its catchy as all hell, somuchso that I call the former Big Hit new name as “High-be-be da loca”. For native English speakers, btw, Rub-a-dum is mixing phrases in a really odd way. The kids nursery rhyme Rub a dub dub three men in a tub. Plus Dum Dums, which is a brand of lollipop very popular for Halloween trick or treating. Or perhaps the “Pa rum pa pum pum” refrain from the Little Drummer Boy Christmas song. So its an extra odd mix of onomatopoeia.

    First thought: This song is bonkers. This is about as bonkers as the Cravity “Aria” debut last year, speaking which where the heck did Cravity go?. I have no idea if it is good bonkers, but I am willing to give it a few more spins. I am not hip with all the dum dum songs out there, so y’all will comment on which dum dum song the dum dums here sound just like like.

    Second thought: I really want to see these girls pull this song off live. Not live-ish like the showcase available right now, but live live. See if they can rise to the occasion of this bonkers song. To me, it seems like the song could be harder to do than most typical songs. The intensity doesn’t let up, but always keeps on a pace, noisy in a noisy way and busy in a busy way. Its going to require strong showmanship from just about all of them, and that doesn’t always happen with kpop girl groups. Its also lower than most girl groups – the typical pitch of G-idle songs come to mind here.

    Third: I don’t know where the filmed this, but the video locations reminded me of Disney world, as if the opening is in the safari ride area of Animal Kingdom, then parts of Grand Floridian, then parts of other places like Morocco in Epcot, Disney Vero Beach, and the restaurant with Donald Duck also in Animal Kingdom.

    OT: speaking of low songs and live live. Raise hands who likes low voices! Me! Me! Woorim-shi, the ultimate bias wrecker. How to own a song with just your voice, charisma, and a blinking light bulb. Not that he needed that blinking light bulb. ‘ with great live audio from a fan cam. Woorim is V’s age btw. The lowest notes are about D#2 and D2’s in the chorus.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I rarely remember rookie group names but when I read their name on this review my brain instantly went: TRIBE! BE DA LOCA! They definitely did something right with that catchphrase.

    As for the song, I do like it. It is a little all over the place, especially in the middle, but it does not seem as fragmented as this weeks’ release by aespa. I really appreciate the energy and the unique sound of the production – I don’t mind the whistle, it adds a lot of unique flavour.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Well this is more my flavor. It’s a fun song that makes me happy. Love the flute and the aesthetic. It’s kinda like a psychedelic Sesame Street.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Psychedelic Sesame Street?!

      iirc right after Sesame Street played Zoom, followed by the Electric Company.
      Hey you guuuyyyyys!
      This show played at about 11am every weekday morning. … This may explain some things.

      Bonus clip that autoplayed as I was typing this up

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I liked it on first listen but found it a little too obnoxious on replay. However, I really like the b-side Loro. I’m a softy for the latin-influenced sound and this reminded me pleasantly of some of the highlights from Chungha’s Querencia.


  7. This song is too obnoxious and annoying and that whistling hook is unpleasant. It’s like being thrown into a grinder that is bright and bubbly and full of sparkly colourful stuff (with a funky tinge?) and being forced to like it.


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