It’s hard to get very excited about the commemorative “songs for the fans” that tend to be released during groups’ anniversaries — especially when that group is Boyfriend and all I really want from them is another Sweetune-produced masterpiece. But before we (hopefully) get back to the awesome stuff, we must settle for the pleasant, if hardly revolutionary, To My Best Friend (약속할게).
The song is not a straight-up ballad, which is at least some consolation. Instead, it opts for a light-r&b, midtempo groove with a bit of a spring in its step. This is in contrast to much of Boyfriend’s material, particularly their often hyper-active Japanese releases. In that way, I suppose the track is a nice surprise, but it would have been nicer had the group been a more consistent force in kpop over the past year or so. As it stands, Best Friend feels more like a stopgap while we wait for the full-fledged comeback they deserve.
But removing those unfair preconceptions, there are some things to love about the track. The chorus is fueled by the type of laidback groove that seems to come so easy to Starship artists. I love that the choral element of the hook is arranged more as a campfire chant than a typical, glossy kpop production. That segment in particular offers a joyful refrain that makes Best Friend feel more like the celebration it should be instead of an obligation to mark an important date in their history. Still, I long for an anniversary song as bright and uptempo as a party. For a group as fun and poppy as Boyfriend, shouldn’t that be the point?