After making their long-awaited return earlier this summer, 2PM are releasing new music in Japan. They’ve always had a huge J-pop career – so big that it eclipsed their Korean output in recent years. We’ll see how commercially impactful With Me Again (僕とまた) ends up being, but when it comes to sheer quality, it definitely improves upon June’s Make It.

While Make It felt too flat for my taste, With Me Again constantly morphs. Structurally, it’s a tricky song to get your head around. Within the first minute alone, the instrumental tackles three different energies. The core elements remain consistent, anchored by a whistled hook. But, there are so many distinct segments within the track. By the time we’ve experienced the entire chorus, With Me Again is already half-over. And rather than swerve back into the structure of verse one, the song jolts into new territory. This has the potential to result in a total mess, but no segment feels jarring or out of place.

I wouldn’t call any of With Me Again’s melodies particularly potent, but there are many flourishes that gradually get under your skin. This rewards repeated listens. And with 2PM at the helm, the whole thing comes off smooth and sexy. Its confident vibe recalls my favorite of the group’s eras: 2013-15. And though I don’t think With Me Again lives up to undisputed classics like A.D.T.O.Y, it’s gratifying to hear a senior idol group so comfortable in their own skin. If this is any indication, their legacy hasn’t finished growing yet.

Hooks 8
Production 9
Longevity 9
Bias 8
RATING 8.5

Beatsway

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Publisher: Nick