After the debut onslaught that was 2019, 2020 has obviously felt slight in comparison. Not only have there been less debuts, but very few of them have actual left a lasting impression on me. Of course there have been exceptions, but I’m still waiting for 2020’s Crown, Dalla Dalla or even Valkyrie! The latest group to join the pack are E’Last and while debut single Swear isn’t perfect, it’s one of the more unique kpop singles we’ve heard this year.
I’ve said this many times before but the most important thing about a debut is developing a unique calling card. And if anything, Swear certainly sets E’last apart. I think the best way to describe Swear would be if F.Cuz’s incredible Midnight Sun were to be re-written in 2020. While I don’t know if this is a good thing, the fact that I’m comparing a track from 2020 to Midnight Sun is a minor miracle within itself. But other than the trap laced arrangement and rather subdued hook, most of Swear feels like its cut from the same cloth. I adore the grand, near operatic instrumental that frames most of the opening verse. It feels incredibly dramatic and hooks the listener in immediately, something that every debut should strive to achieve. The ascending pre-chorus is also exhilarating and somehow transitions seamlessly into the minimalistic yet surprisingly impactful chorus.
While I’m no vocal expert, the first thing that really stood out to me was how strong this group are vocally. Honestly, without the incredibly powerful vocal arrangement and performance, I doubt Swear would be anywhere near as strong as it turned out to be. And while I’ll never be a fan of trap infused arrangements, the track utilises the skittering hi-hats to great effect. But while I enjoy most of what the track has to offer, I really wish it had a more substantial chorus. The minimalistic hook we end up getting is perfectly fine but I feel like it could have become really transcendent had it maintained the go for broke energy of the pre-chorus. It just needed a little more meat on its bones. Thankfully, the tracks bombastic climax is enough to compensate bringing a breathtaking end to one of the years most daring debuts.
Final Rating: 8.25 / 10