It's been nearly two years since 2PM promoted their last Korean single, "Hands Up" in June of 2011. In the meantime, a number of JYP Entertainment acts have released some fantastic singles, setting high hopes for 2PM's eventual return. Did it live up to expectations?
"All Day I Think of You" has a lot going for it. The orchestra instrumental is nice, the song is catchy, and for the most part the guys sound great- the singers are singing, the rappers are rapping, and there are no awkward vocal parts for the non-singing members (I'm looking at you, "Come Back When You Hear This Song"). A few poor choices, like the robot voice in the chorus, the random dubstep stutters scattered throughout the song, make the song sound a little dated, while Nichkhun's falsetto part should probably have gone to someone with a more pleasant upper register. Taecyeon's pitched-down rapping over the bridge could have just been omitted altogether. Despite those few sticking points, the song has a really nice, cool vibe to it and makes for an enjoyable listen.
[caption id="attachment_686890" align="alignleft" width="275" caption="It's been a long time"][/caption]The video for "All Day I Think of You", however, is mediocre at best. There are some good points- the strong contrasts in the black and white video set the right moody atmosphere, and the parts of the choreography where they're actually sitting in the chairs are great. Unfortunately, this is offset by the less-than-stellar remainder of the video. The dance sequences are a bit odd - why are the members of 2PM doing a StairMaster dance against the backs of chairs right after their entrance? The highlight dance with their backs to the camera and their hands resting on their bouncing hips look a bit weird, it's a bit too too feminine for our resident 'beastly' idols, especially when they're trying to show us how they've grown up.
The individual cuts with the guys sitting next to sexy girls in skimpy dresses who've had their heads cropped out of the scene are cliche at best. Then there's the "romantic" scenes- There's a lot of cuddling and nuzzling and heavy breathing happening, and some implied undressing, but nothing else. It's the kind of thing that works when it's parsed sparingly into a video as part of the story line (think Big Bang's "Tonight"), but four straight minutes of wink-wink-nod-nod-they-totally-did-something-off-screen gets boring real quick and feels somewhat juvenile.
The sad thing about this comeback, however, is that it feels like 2PM would have released "All Day I Think of You" exactly as it is, even if they had never had that two year hiatus and had come back in 2012 as originally planned. Quite frankly, we wanted to see the triumphant return of the legends, not just any ordinary comeback. We wanted a "Keep Your Head Down" or a "Blue"/"Bad Boy"/"Fantastic Baby" combo or even a "Countryside Diary". Even a "Miss Korea" would have been great, or they could have taken a cue from western music and given us a "Suit & Tie". Something that didn't just say 'we're back', but that reminded us of just how much we missed them and showed us just how far they'd come while they were gone. The market was pretty saturated when 2PM was at the top of their game; it's an even bigger pond now, and it's not enough to just have been the best at some point. Acts have to constantly re-establish that they deserve to be where they are or they'll get replaced by the next group waiting in line to take their place.
"All Day I Think of You" could have been a perfect showcase for 2PM's grand return to the music scene- instead, it feels somewhat phoned-in and not all that special. Don't get me wrong, it's still a good song, and it'll certainly sell and chart well, but, we'll always be left wondering what might have been if this comeback had been given the weight it truly deserved.