Song Review: Everglow – Promise

Everglow - PromiseSometimes, being a K-pop fan requires selective memory. This wasn’t the case during earlier generations, when it was common for groups to find their own distinct sound and (mostly) stick with it for long stretches of title tracks. These days, many groups swerve from one style or concept to another, hoping to cast their net wide rather than focus narrowly on an already-passionate fan base. This leads to lopsided singles runs like Everglow’s. You’ve got the amazing, synth-driven La Di Da followed by the rugged beat-drop banger First. The two songs couldn’t be more different.

This is where selective memory comes in. In my alternate dimension, Promise arrived on the heels of La Di Da, crafting a double punch of synthy goodness. In reality, the song isn’t even a title track. It’s a theme song for UNICEF’s Promise Campaign. Given that backdrop, I would have expected a sentimental ballad. Instead, Promise bursts forth with an upbeat, optimistic sound.

Like so many great pop songs, Promise knows the power of its chorus and opens with that hearty refrain. From here, the track segues into a sprightly verse, powered by bright synths and dynamic percussion. It has an old-fashioned appeal, but in the best way. The vocal arrangement is very enjoyable, often layering the girls’ voices to create a robust sound that gives Promise plenty of heft. Momentum collapses a bit during the second verse, but this interlude is supported by a burst of creative synth. At times, the final product tips into treacly territory, but I happen to have a high tolerance for musical cheese!

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

22 thoughts on “Song Review: Everglow – Promise

  1. The First Paragraph completely describes why I feel indifferent to this new generation of K-pop, I desperately wait for people to adopt their own style and continue with it but only ONF truly know how to stick with their signature sound and *evolve* it. “Evolving” is also an aspect I wish groups captured, ATEEZ and Dreamcatcher don’t really follow this and I wish they did. I long from groups such as INFINITE, TVXQ and SHINee man…

    Liked by 10 people

    • It’s a completely different approach, isn’t it? I feel like there’s still just as much great music out there… it’s just spread unequally among more groups rather than tied to tight singles runs. It’s like a “pick and mix,” in a way. For me, this can be frustrating because — as you all know — I love to classify things rather than have them spread all over the place.

      Liked by 8 people

      • Their situation is much, much better than other groups but I feel like they should evolve it. Maybe something like Synth-Pop? Psy-Trance? Rock? or even go down the route of techno house. I think it can result in some fantastic music.
        I am really excited for their upcoming comeback, but I will lower down my expectations down for this one…hope it’ll be good!

        Liked by 2 people

        • I feel that instead of something futuristic, ATEEZ should actually build on the past like they did with Treasure. Their Answer remix in Kingdom felt like a perfect jumping-point to start including Gregorian, medieval, and otherwise ancient elements to their sound. Enough groups are chasing the future, none are honoring the past.

          On Dreamcatcher, they have the sound, I think they start needing to experiment a bit more with it though.

          Liked by 5 people

    • I have to disagree on Dreamcatcher. Their early sound was very J-Pop/anime opening track influenced or even soundalike in some cases. But their recent material? I definitely can’t say the same for that. Scream and even BEcause are very different sounds from songs like Chase Me. Even for their lighter, more upbeat sound, there is quite an evolution from something like Fly High to Wind Blows. Other B-sides like Black or White or Red Sun definitely play with sounds that I can’t imagine them doing earlier in their career.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the power notes at the end, you can always trust Everglow for some of those.
    This more luminous sound suits them well too!


  3. there’s a lot to like about this song. There are some elements that even remind me of the new Brave Girls comeback.

    I personally find the pre-chorus and second verse toooo out of character from the rest of the song. Maybe I should suspend my disbelief, but the tight guitar-adorned 80s synth-rock just feels too interrupted by a boring future of dubstep-y hip hop elements.

    I really like this chorus and I’m a fan of Everglow and even enjoyed their last comeback so I’m very down. But I was really taken back by these out-of-place moments.


  4. Oooh I like it. That pre-chorus starts off weird though, but it gets up quick enough. The second verse breakdown definitely puts a bit of a damper, but its synths are good enough to not detract. That chorus though with the classic retro synth sound is so exciting. Definitely feels like a better follow-up to LA DI DA.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think I should just accept I won’t like anything Everglow will put out lmao. I’m not gonna harsh on this tho as it is a UNICEF song.


  6. Okay, how the hell is a promo single for UNICEF one of their best singles ever. Like *objectively* (haha, as if) I would say La Di Da is better/more exciting, but this hits so many of my musical sweet spots and sometimes I’d rather listen to this one, ngl!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. The synths in the teasers was already enough to convince me that I would like it, and the song didn’t disappoint! Like you and some of the comments have mentioned, I also wish Everglow could have developed a signature sound out of La Di Da with this song as a follow-up, but alas 😔

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The synthe-80’s themed sound is the new trend in kpop now (gone is the tropical house one). I like 80’s themed song but personally I got bored with this one here.
    Not impressed


  9. This just makes me more worried for their next actual comeback lol. Everglow releases give me musical whiplash. At this point, I feel like if they release something good, it’s pretty much a guarantee that the next song will be anything but.


      • Subjectively. I’m not saying other people won’t enjoy them or even prefer the songs I don’t care for over the ones I like. But for me personally, I’ve yet to like two Everglow releases in a row. I do still like them a lot as as group, their charisma on stage regardless of the song, and La Di Da was one of my favorite songs of 2020.


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