After cutting loose and having fun with 2020’s underrated Got That Boom and 2021’s party-starting Fire Saturday, Secret Number retreated to played-out girl group tropes with this year’s disappointing Doomchita. They can only improve with new single Tap, and upbeat teasers seemed to hint at an energy that takes better advantage of the group’s strengths. But sadly, the song itself seems stuck at an oddly underwhelming pace.
On first listen, I wasn’t sure what to make of Tap. It drifted in one ear and out the other – pleasant, but purposeless. It’s neither upbeat enough to be a convincing dance track nor groovy enough to stand as a compelling mid-tempo. The song spins its wheels in a murky middle ground, unable to harness its own strengths. This might be a salvageable approach if given a standout melody, but Tap lacks this feature as well. Its chorus is simple and repetitive, closer to charismatic sing-talk than a robust hook. Again, I find these choices a bit baffling.
Further listens didn’t add much substance to Tap’s appeal. A second verse tempo change adds to the track’s aimless feeling, making it difficult to find an entry point to Tap’s charms. Secret Number have already shown their ability to sell the hell out of a fun pop song and I have no doubt they can excel with more r&b-flavored material. But, there’s not much to be done with Tap’s dirge-like energy. It lands with a thud. It’s a competent — but faceless — non-starter.