The addition of new members and a switch in concept has revitalized TO1. Though I wasn’t completely sold on Drummin’ the first few times through, it’s gone on to become a sleeper hit – one of my most played songs of 2022. It uses its messy boisterous for good, stuffed with hook after hook. New single Freeze Tag (얼음 땡) attempts to replicate that song’s success, but I’m not sure it’ll be as engaging in the long run.
The guys have switched producers this time, working with the D_answer team (of Pixy, INI and CRAXY fame). I’ve found this team’s output to be hit and miss (mostly miss), but I’m happy they’ve maintained the quirks that have made TO1’s reinvention so fun. Freeze Tag bounds on energetic guitar and punchy percussion. It’s bright and funky and overstuffed, similar to its predecessor. But unlike Drummin’, some of its chanting borders on obnoxious. Freeze Tag could do with more melody and less putzing around.
On the plus side, the first half of the song’s chorus is quite addictive. I like how they play with the percussion, pulling back on the rhythm to help the performance stand out. This compensates for the chanted post-chorus hook, which is more awkward than successful. Freeze Tag also lacks an instrumental flourish as addictive as Drummin’s whistling brass. It may sound like I’m constantly comparing the two songs, but in this case it’s really hard not to. They’re cut from the same musical cloth. Right now, I think Freeze Tag stands as a worthy – if slightly underwhelming – follow-up.