It’s been well over a year since BTOB came back with a ballad. After the success of 2015 single It’s Okay, it seemed as if they were going to become stuck in ballad-mode forever, having finally found their commercial sweet spot. But with the changing of the seasons, the time is right to remind the public that these guys are some of the best vocalists around. And this time, that reminder comes in the form of classic boy band fodder Missing You (그리워하다).
I’m not sure that BTOB will ever find a song as strong as It’s Okay again, but at least Missing You isn’t a total snooze. While it hits all the expected sentimental notes from the beginning, the beat has a nice swing that keeps things from feeling too maudlin. A delicate piano backing provides the through-line for an instrumental that occasionally transitions into more sparsely produced interludes of acoustic guitar. This is most galvanizing at Missing You‘s climax, when the track transforms into a good old-fashioned clap-along chant. It’s utterly cheesy and derivative, but in the case of an OST-sounding song like this, its earnestness works.
Melodically, Missing You doesn’t paint outside the lines. Though the bridge gives us one impressive power note, the rest of the song lacks any real sense of build. It’s perfect for soundtracking the kind of emotionally-driven romantic dramas so popular in Korea, but as a piece of music it never really goes anywhere. Still, that’s probably more than enough for BTOB, who only need to reaffirm their place as k-pop balladeers. Missing You does an admirable job in that regard, even if it’s not a particularly interesting entry in their discography.