This song is a grower. I’m really into the whole package of the song: the choreo, the easy-going nature of the melody and vocals, the look of the group. If this were the only title song 2PM was promoting for this comeback after two years, I’d be a lot more dismissive, but it’s not, so I think it’s okay that it doesn’t have that instant “wow” factor that drives passionate conversation.
I prefer a less aggressive 2PM and I think the group owns the mature, mid-tempo R&B dance sound that other boy groups haven’t been to do very well. This song has JYP stamped all over it, but of all their past R&B title tracks, I think 이 노래를 듣고 돌아와 is a more successful iteration of the yearning-young-male-constipated-by-love thing that JYP keeps shoving on them. (I’ll Be Back, Without U were okay as songs but they were too much as packages: the burdensome choreography, the burdensome stage outfits.) (Watch, just because I complained about this, “하.니.뿐” is going to feature them dressed in bird feathers and wearing rhinestone eye makeup.)
Barring a couple of weird moves, I also really dig the choreo. I like that it’s very musical stage-ish, enhanced by the fact that they look like a bunch of prep school boys. A boy group can essentially never go wrong with a suit concept, but there are two sides of the suit spectrum: the grown-up side, and the young man side. The young man side is what it is (Shinee with Dream Girl, Infinite with Man in Love), but the grown up side is always a failure in the making with K-pop guy groups. It’s always too dramatic and desperately screaming “BOY BAND” in some way or another, which renders the concept tacky and outdated. U-Kiss’ image team is a serial offender of this, and Stop Girl was really ridiculous because Dongho’s vest had to match Eli’s jacket which matched Soohyun’s pants which looked like Kevin’s bowtie. Like, why?
2PM look well-dressed, they can move and breathe in their clothes, and it fits their style and personalities. I do think that 2PM is at a stage in their careers where they can afford to discard an identity of sameness in favor of a more fluid individuality within the group, while still preserving a unique kind of boy group unity.