Debut group TAN (To All Nations) were formed through MBC’s Wild Idol audition show, which paired typical Produce-esque tropes with outdoor training and survival challenges. It was a bizarre concept, and I’ll admit that I gave up on the series after episode one. Even Infinite’s Sungkyu as a celebrity mentor couldn’t keep my attention! Thankfully, TAN’s music has no real connection to the show. Du Du Du stands as one of the year’s stronger debuts so far.
Opening with a capella vocals and a simple finger snap, the track lays down its slinky sound piece by piece. The overall approach is pretty rote at this point in K-pop, but the vocal performance is solid and the melody has some bite. The layered arrangement during the pre-chorus feels as if it could have been plucked from the industry’s “second generation,” largely forgoing manic percussion in favor of dramatic vocals. This continues into verse two, which replicates Du Du Du’s core melody but injects an extra bit of oomph to keep momentum growing. It’s a simple trick, but one we rarely hear in K-pop anymore.
If anything, Du Du Du suffers from its trendier moments. The chorus is fine, and would have sounded more exciting if every other group hadn’t already done the “slink bass drop hook” to death. Thankfully, the arrangement grows more robust as the track goes on, giving Du Du Du a character of its own. In the end, a sense of cohesion wins the day and TAN have quickly established themselves as a new group to watch closely.
**With all that said, why the heck wasn’t the fantastic album intro turned into a complete song and promoted as the group’s debut? It sounds like Fiction!