It’s been a longer-than-usual hiatus for TRI.BE, with Kiss arriving as their newest single since last October’s Would You Run. But, the lengthy break hasn’t changed their sound too much, nor has it affected their collaborators. Kiss sees them working again with the legendary Shinsadong Tiger, alongside EXID’s L.E. and production team The Hub.
That’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen, and it shows in Kiss’s piecemeal sound. Its brash, ‘attitude-first, melody-later’ approach is familiar from the first moment, slotting nicely within today’s girl group oeuvre. As usual, I expect it will win over many fans of this sound. But for me, the charms of this style have been worn down through sheer repetition. I’m not sure what makes Kiss any different from its hundreds of peers, apart from the exaggerated kissing sound effects and stretched out repetition of the title.
This isn’t to say Kiss is an awful song. It’s just not for me. There are a few moments where the instrumental gains steam and threatens to transform into something more engaging. The pre-choruses introduce synths that remind me of steel drums, crafting a nice groove that hearkens back to TRI.BE’s debut. But too much of Kiss is beholden to the kind of nursery-rhyme-esque sing talk that can be very hit and miss. In fact, the song literally devolves into a nursery rhyme during its final moments! By this time, Kiss has lost its grip on me, even as a series of strong power notes round out the track and spotlight TRI.BE’s obvious talent.