Members of veteran boy group 2PM are soon to enlist in their mandatory military service, but before they take that two-year break from releasing music, they’ve got one more album and title track to give us. Promise (I’ll Be) piggybacks on the sound of main vocal Jun. K’s recent solo Think About You, offering a modern take on glitchy r&b.
This is not a genre that I’m particularly fond of. I don’t know how else to say it, and how to appear at least somewhat objective when writing about this song. I have nothing against 2PM, but this musical style (from Jun. K’s track, to both of Nu’est’s 2016 comebacks) is just not for me. It feels cold, and oddly fractured — lacking the musical continuity that would help it build to a satisfying climax. Instead, we get fits and starts, giving the song a plodding feel that I just can’t sink my teeth into.
However, Promise actually manages to be pretty enjoyable despite the ingrained animosity I feel towards its musical leanings. The verses are much more melodic and unadorned than I would have expected. And more importantly, they move in a common direction, gaining momentum as they build to the hook. That brassy synth that hits during the chorus is also a nice touch. Normally, the tendency has been to lean on icy keys or distorted electronics within songs of this nature, but the hint of brass gives warmth to a chorus that desperately needs it. This isn’t quite enough to make Promise a total hit for me, nor is it among the group’s best work. But, I can definitely understand how many listeners will be completely won over by its dramatic charm.