[Album Review] Universe: The Black Hall (1st Studio Album) – Pentagon

Can you believe that I posted another album review on schedule? It sounds crazy. And another wish that has managed to come true is that Pentagon finally has their first studio album!!! It has been a wish that I (and many fans) have been look forward to ever since their early days and they have finally given us what we all wanted. The album is titled Universe: The Black Hall and this was released early February. The album features Dr. BeBe as the title track and also the Korean version of Happiness (a Japanese single they promoted last year) among other new songs.

Universe: The Black Hall Album Cover

1. Dr. BeBe (Dr. 베베) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Dr. BeBe. (7/10)

2. Asteroid – The song opens up with this catchy squeaky disk-scratching-like synth that plays in my head even after the song finishes. The song, with a title about a large rock in space, does have this space-like vibe to it. What I really like is that the song isn’t that serious compared to Dr. BeBe, which means it isn’t as heavy as a result. The track has a decent dance backdrop and all these instrumental elements and characteristics make the song very appealing. The vocal work was also quite good, but I feel like the rap was the more dynamic out of the two. But either way, it made the song stand out. (9/10)

3. Shower of Rain – To me, Shower of Rain sounds like it is a title for a ballad. So, I was thoroughly surprised with how upbeat the pop track was. It started off with distorted sounds and slowly moved into a fulfilling and loaded instrumental. It peaks during the chorus and really helps give the song that bold effect. I love the way the song manages to strip itself down in the later parts and then return to the loaded sound right after. What also really surprised me was the vocals. I know Pentagon has good vocals, through some of their amazing works in the past. But Shower Of Rain has to contain of their best efforts yet. In additional to that, I liked the way they ended the song by getting everyone together to warn their partner to not leave them. (10/10)

4. Die For You – We get back into grungy and edgy side of Pentagon through Die For You. The instrumental takes on rocks, along with dance track synths. This sounds likes something we have heard before from other artists, but I feel like there is a sense of uniqueness to the song, based on how they layered the two sides of the instrumentation (i.e. the rock seems to come through and is not masked in any manner by the dance synths). The English in this track really stands out and really give off a sense of the dark side of the song. Vocally, the group stood out. But this time around, I thought the rapping was a little underwhelming, (8.5/10)

5. Talk – Pentagon brings out the acoustic guitar for Talk. They pair it with simple synths that give it a little more character that if they went just the guitar along. This keeps the song in line with the dance heavy tracks and ease us away with stripping the synths out completely. Vocally, the song was like a ballad and I thought there was a decent equilibrium that the group managed to strike between the raps and vocals. Both sounded good on their own and went well with the track. The track just didn’t feel like it up to par with the rest of the album. (8/10)

6. The Black Hall – I found The Black Hall to be a classy song when it first started. When the song’s main synths started to come in, I thought this classy vibe would be lost. But instead, the song manages keep the classy feel as it goes along. The vocal work is the main element that keeps this going, with its sensual styling. The way they dragged out ‘The Black’ felt so unique with their breathy voices. Going back to the instrumental, the synths ended up being very appealing. The bridge was also a standout part, as it built up quite fast and help give out a further rush of energy to the song. (9/10)

7. Worship U – While you could tell the song was going to be a dance track, the explosion of energy we got in the pre-chorus and chorus respectively caught me off guard as it just seems to come out of nowhere. And while that may be a recipe for disaster, that wasn’t the case of Worship U. The explosion of energy really helped make the song be addictive and bold. The delayed start to the final chorus made the ending feel so much more defined. I just wished the melodies and hooks were a lot stronger, which would definitely helped the song be more appealing. (8/10)

8. Zoom Up – The lyrics to Zoom Up seem to go in a sensual direction. I found that to be rather interesting. It is paired well with a very intense synth-heavy dance instrumental. It also used a traditional guitar of some sort at the start and end of the song, which I thought was a very peculiar highlight in the song. The vocal work and rapping sounded pretty good, though I felt like they had to compete in order to be heard. Furthermore, there wasn’t much of a separation to the chorus and pre-chorus, which I thought was odd. I was waiting for the chorus to come, but it never did. It wasn’t until I heard more of the song that I realized the Zoom Zoom Zoom Up part was the chorus. But it still works. (8/10)

9. Camellia – After so much upbeat tracks, we finally reach the ‘mandatory ballad’ zone of the album. First up is Camellia. It is a standard ballad in terms of instrumentation. It seems to incorporate a bit of slow rock in addition to the typical ballad nature of the song. But it is the type that makes you sway along to the music, which we know is my official criteria for a good ballad. What I think the group nails perfectly are their vocals. The melody and their delivery were very beautiful. The rapping as well was tweaked amazingly. Last time I felt strongly with a Pentagon ballad was Beautiful, which is still one of my favourite tracks from the group to this day. (8/10)

10. Someday – The second ballad on the album is Someday, which features the main vocalists of the group, Jinho and Hui. It is another beautiful track from the group. The duo relies on a typical orchestral sound for the ballad. But I like the way this wraps around the duo’s vocals in such a warm manner. While we are also mentioning vocals, both sounded spectacular. Each sounds so damn good on their own and their harmonies are really breathtaking. What makes this an even more special song is that the duo dedicated this song to their fellow members, making the meaning even more touching. (10/10)

11. Happiness (Korean Version) – I have previously reviewed Happiness when the song was first released in Japan. Click here to read the full review for Happiness. (6.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

[Review] Dr. BeBe – Pentagon

Yup, still a day late with the reviews. Bringing us one of two late reviews to be published today is Pentagon, who are finally back with their very first studio album. In my last album review, I was hoping a studio length album and my wishes came true! The group returns with Dr. BeBe, which is featured the album titled UNIVERSE: THE BLACK HALL. This release follows their Korean Humph! and Japanese Happiness.

Pentagon has had a strong run with their brighter concepts over the last few years. And while the group could continue what they have been doing with these brighter sounds, it is quite unfortunate that none of them really managed to hit the mark like how Shine got their name out there. So, the obvious choice was to change sounds and boy, what a change it was. The song kicks off with a suspenseful, anthem-like opener that really intrigues you. It would have been nice if the rest of the song followed through. But instead, we were presented with a very standard dance track setup. I do admit that I do find this new song a lot tighter and intense with its overall sound (which are all good things, especially with a song that opts for a darker profile). The chorus does provide a little more rhythm to the mix, giving the ends of some lines a little kick in the high note department which is rather unique. I wouldn’t say the song is catchy, but rather it was memorable for those high note line endings. The presence of violins during the bridge was good to help cut through the standard dance synths we get in this song. Vocally, I thought the vocalists and rappers did a good job. I just wished the sound wasn’t as generic and that the track be a little more unique.

Not only did their sound go from bright to intense, but their visual concept also shared the same change. Obviously, it matches up with the song. The lyrics provided insight into a crazed split-personality and the members did an amazing job of showing that in the music video. From their crazed dark side to their scared innocent side, their acting was spot on. In the end, it was shown that they were all patients in a facility, which makes me glad as they did seem they were freely roaming before. I really liked the dark scenes, particularly the choreography shots. It just really emphasizes the new image. I do agree with the netizens this time around when it comes to Hongseok’s outfit. I do think it is a little overkill for this concept and it is more to show off the abs that has been in spotlight.

No moves really stood out to me in the choreography, which is slightly disappointing. But that doesn’t mean it was a bad routine. In fact, I did think it was powerful and strong, which we have seen from Pentagon in the past. It just had no moves that I could really direct your attention to.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Review] Happiness – Pentagon

I wasn’t planning on doing any Japanese reviews this week. This was partly encouraged by the lack of new releases (I do plan to go back to some other Japanese releases in the coming weeks). But then Pentagon dropped their music video for Happiness. And I didn’t want to neglect more Japanese reviews. So today, we will be delving into their latest release. The group previously returned to Japan with Cosmos and more recently returned to Korea with Humph!.

Happiness is another typical pop track. Interestingly, I thought the song delved into more KPOP roots, rather than particular JPOP sound that we all know of. Despite that possible crossover, there isn’t anything new within the song breaking ground, especially considering the group’s discography. The song did lose that carefree and easy-going vibe that I have noticed Pentagon has been pulling off since Shine. But this loss did not amount to anything new. Apart from that, Happiness does manage to include a nice hook that made the song catchy. That post-chorus was probably my favourite part. The vocals were good but I felt the rapping managed to etch forward by being a little more dynamic in nature. The instrumental was rather plain, upon reflection, which gave the song that typical vibe. I think there is enough done by the members to make the song ‘relatively okay’ as opposed to disappointment. The ending was probably the most questionable part, with their pronunciation of the title, Happiness. I had to replay the ending a number of times to confirm if I heard it right. I think this mistake has been done before in the KPOP/JPOP world due to the way syllables were emphasised. But you would expect the group to nail the title of the song in a non-questionable manner.

The music shows the members as office members. Pretty much done with their jobs and in a much needed of a holiday. All of a sudden (might be part of their imagination), they are transported to the beach and have from then on. We later see them partying on in the office, which supports my imagination theory. It is a rather typical video when I try to describe it. But it looked rather fun and suiting the Summer season. Not much else to say here.

The choreography was good. Once again, it aligns with the rest of the choreographies and performances from the week, which just wasn’t captivating enough for me. I did like some moments but I don’t think they are worth my time going through as they didn’t make it as captivating as I would have liked it to be.

Song – 6.5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.8/10

[Album Review] SUM(ME:R) (9th Mini Album) – Pentagon

It is surprising that Pentagon has yet to release a studio album. You would expect them to do so after eight mini-albums, right? Well, I guess we just have to wait a little longer for that album. In the meantime, the group has released their 9th mini-album, SUM(ME:R), which features the title track, Humph!. There are two additional singles on the album, along with a special bonus track (which I have reviewed today as well). Hopefully, by keeping this review short, we will be able to fast track ourselves to another Pentagon release (finger crossed for a studio album). But until then, here is my album review!

pentagon-summer-2
SUM(ME:R) Album Cover

1..Humph! (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Humph! (8/10)

2. Fantasystic – While I personally do not like the way the title of the song is spelt (me being picky once again), Fantasysic is a bumping track. It is a little more traditional when it comes to its pop genre. But I really like its upbeat atmosphere. It does beg for a little something extra. That something extra (I am thinking intensity or something to make it feel a little tighter) could have really lifted this song to another level. I liked the vocals (Yan An, who is absent from the promotions, participates in the song) and the rapping really hit the mark perfectly. I find the track fitting for the Summer season, which makes it ideal for a Summer themed album. (8/10)

3. Summer!Summer! isn’t another dance track. Instead, it seems to zone right into the vocals of the group. There is also a melodic appeal to the song, which I think really sets this track apart from the rest of the group’s discography. I also liked how they didn’t take the ballad route to focus on the vocals, which is a cliché move done by many groups. Talking about the vocals, I think this was a really good track on that front. The rapping isn’t as good as per their dance tracks. But I liked how they tweaked the rappers to fit the track’s more melodic style. The instrumental is the main reason why I don’t pinpoint it as a dance track. It is a little more acoustic. But, I can imagine a little fun choreography on the side. (8/10)

4. Round 2 – For those who don’t remember, Pentagon previously released Round 1, which was a bonus track which made fun of one another. They continued that exact theme with Round 2. Though, if my memory serves me right, Round 2 is a little more outrageous than Round 1. My favourite part has to be Shinwon screaming (which I am assuming is an enactment of Hui, who he is is making fun of). And Yeo One’s ASMR for Hongseok was hilarious. I want them to continue doing this in future releases. It is different from an outro and it really shows their budding friendship and closeness with one another. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.1/10

pentagon-summer-3
SUM(ME:R) Teaser Image

[Review] Humph! – Pentagon

Making their grand return today is Pentagon with Humph!. This is the group’s first comeback since Sha La La, which was released back in March of this year. Humph! is produced by Giriboy and Pentagon’s resident song producer, Hui. It is also another comeback to not feature Yanan (the first time around was for their Naughty Boy promotions), who was announced to be taking a break from promotions due to health issues. In more happier news, the comeback sees the return of Kino, who sat out of the last one due to an injury.

I have noticed that ever since finding success through their Shine promotions, all of Pentagon’s title tracks have been leaning towards a more carefree and easy-going vibe. This is isn’t a bad thing. Actually, despite going with these common vibes, the songs have managed to sound different each time, showcasing the group’s variety. This time around, Humph! delves a melodic form of hip-hop. It makes the song smooth and very flowy, which always earn great ticks from me. The singing and rapping made the song feel very warm and bright, making it fit the current season perfectly. I also liked the upbeatness in the instrumentation, especially the woody flutes sound at the start (though I think they are more synths in the song). Together with the hooks, the song becomes quite memorable and catchy. And I totally see this track growing to an addictive level with a few more listens!

Reading the lyrics, I feel like it was well presented visually. Officially, the song is about pretending to not like someone, as a childish pastime (this piece of information was taken from Soompi). Something we can all relate to. And we see that between Wooseok and Hui (who started off as kids) and drew a physical line on their table to separate themselves. And even as high school students, the two still act like a war was declared when something of the other person slipped onto the other side. There are also some playful representations of rejecting someone from being part of a club due to a physical aspect (in this video, it is the member’s heights that come under attack) and ‘off-limits’ is shown via the Hongseok ‘painting’. (That last one made me laugh, especially when Hongseok had to physically remove Kino’s arm). Overall, a very cool video in my opinion.

I thought the performance looked very good. I really like the start of the performance, with the use of hand gestures. The lyrics give off a childish atmosphere and I thought they displayed that well in the performance through that one move where it looked like they were throwing a tantrum. The choreography for the chorus also had a similar vibe, with the stomping of the foot and the X gesture they make with their arms.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10

[Album Review] Genie:us (8th Mini Album) – Pentagon

Pentagon made their comeback a few weeks back with Genie:us and the title track, Sha La La. It has been some time since the release as the group has wrapped up their primary promotions already and have gone onto follow-up promotions with another single on the track (see which song in the review below!). This is another high-quality album that demonstrates the group’s potential. It also features a number of fun (a highly repetitive word in this review) sounding tracks, along with two subunit tracks (where the group is split into a hip-hop and ballad unit). Now, let’s have a closer look at the album.

pentagon-genieus-2
Genie:us Album Cover

1..Sha La La (신토불이) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Sha La La. (7.5/10)

2. Lost Paradise (Hip Hop Unit) – The Hip Hop unit of Pentagon is made up of Kino, Wooseok, Hui and Yuto. To me, Lost Paradise talks about wanting to overcome the lost feeling you get in life but it is done with a harsh and grungy tone., which I think fits the ideal sound that you expect of a hip hop unit. I really like the subtle rock instrumental that really gives the song its identity. At the very forefront of the song is Wooseok, who stands out from the rest of the members by utilizing his husky voice. That being said, the other members did a pretty good job as well. They just didn’t shine as brightly as Wooseok did. Overall, Lost Paradise was remarkably appealing. (9/10)

3. Until That Moment (그 순간 그때까지) (Ballad Unit) – Pentagon’s ballad unit is made up of Yeo One, Yan An, Hongseok, Jinho and Shinwon. It does follow that typical classical ballad route but given Pentagon’s past ballads, I am super excited to hear the track With ballads, the most talked-about aspect of the song would have to be the vocals. It was very breathtaking. If I were to pick one member who shined the most in this unit track (like in the previous track), Jinho comes out on top. But like Lost Paradise, each member was spectacular, established through that amazing peak in the bridge delivered by all the members. Once again, this is the type of song to beat. (10/10)

4. Alien (에일리언) – We return back to tracks that featured the entire track. Listening to Alien, I think this would have followed nicely from Naughty Boy in their previous mini-album. It is a fun track that has random elements that really jump at you for its quirkiness. The first element that I noticed was the complete change up at the start of Wooseok’s rap. It didn’t fit into the track at first, so I was going to say something negative about it. But it wasn’t until I heard Shiwon’s ‘Have a good nice day’ shout and Hui’s follow-up falsetto that it clicked that it was meant to be random. I also thought the lyrics were random as well but fitting for a quirky song titled Alien. (8.5/10)

5. Spring Snow (봄눈) – The way Spring Snow started off reminded me of the music for a 90s sitcom opener. And although it makes me cringe, I can totally imagine Pentagon doing one of those openers. With that in mind, you can tell that the rock based instrumental and song overall was going to be extremely fun sounding and upbeat. What makes it even better is that the song was extremely catchy, with the vocals and rapping extremely vibrant. So it is no wonder that this song was chosen for their follow-up promotions (that they are currently in the midst doing). And while this does set off the cringy thought process, I thoroughly enjoyed and will definitely be returning to the track in the future. (10/10)

6. Round 1 (Bonus Track) – Rounding out the trio of fun songs and also the final song on the album is Round 1. And they playful diss each other in this track. Each person, apart from Wooseok who talks nice about himself, takes a turn in playfully making fun of another member. Not flushing the toilet, staying indoors instead of walking their active dog and being a scaredy cat are just some of the things that pop up in the song. I won’t spoil who those comments relate to, so definitely check out this song. The song is rap driven, which I think makes the song extra fun, especially through the different techniques each member uses. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.8/10

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Sha La La – Pentagon

Also making their comeback is Pentagon, who has returned with SHA LA LA. This is their first Korean comeback since Naughty Boy was released in September last year. This comeback also sees the return of Yanan, who sat out of the last comeback. However, it is a gain-a-member and lose-a-member scenario with Pentagon, as Kino would not be able to participate in the stage performances due to an existing injury. In other news, Pentagon made a comeback in Japan earlier in the year with Cosmos, while Wooseok also formed a unit with KuanLin and released I’m A Star two weeks ago.

When I considered my thoughts for Sha La La, it felt like I was rather satisfied with the components of the song. But it is one of the songs that when you look at it as a whole, it doesn’t shine as much. It is a weird perception of things but I don’t know how else to really describe it. I really liked the house instrumental, especially with the groovy first half of the chorus. The second half was also quite interesting, providing the song with an infusion of energy which also contrasts well with the first half. The vocals were also quite nice, especially Hui’s falsettos. They were very clear and crisp. I also liked their trap-influenced raps, which I thought gave some extra punch to the song. But when you put these elements together, I felt like the song was rather typical and didn’t shine as much as the individual components. I might just be confused about my feelings but this is how they are at this very stage.

The music video is what I really like about the comeback. The bird-eye view perception we saw at the very start of the video was really intriguing. When they followed with a retro computer feel as the different images and footage was shown in the olden style windows, which I thought was really cool.  I thought the dance sets were really cool as well, matching with the dance vibes the song had. I also enjoyed how Kino was given a small frame in the middle choreography scene, which he couldn’t perform in due to his injury. It was rather nice that he was still incorporated and wasn’t left out.

I really liked how they picked Jinho up at the start. It too gives the performance an intriguing start. The best part of the choreography goes to the chorus. I liked how some of the moves were rather simplistic. But when you put them all together, it looked very complex and this matches the way the chorus came together.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10

[Review] I’m A Star – Wooseok X KuanLin

Kicking off the week is a new unit collaboration between two artists at Cube Entertainment. We are all familiar with Wooseok from Pentagon and KuanLin (formerly a part of Wanna One). And they have come together to form the third special unit from Cube Entertainment. Named WooseokXKuanLin, they follow the success of the now-defunct Trouble Maker and Triple H. Their track is titled I’m A Star. This is also KuanLin’s first release since Wanna One’s disbandment and Wooseok’s first release since Pentagon’s Naughty Boy comeback in Korea.

As previously stated numerous times on the blog, I am not a major fan of these hip-hop infused tracks that rappers tend to release every now and then as a collaboration or solo release. Recently, this has begun to change and I can confidently say I have a new appreciation for these tracks when it is done in a very enjoyable manner. I’m A Star is a prime example of this. To me, it is a fun song. Not too serious in any manner. I found the instrumental to be extremely groovy and I personally think the medium tempo made it quite appealing. Despite Wooseok and KuanLin’s voices being rough and deep-toned, the melody of the song gives it a smooth and flowy feel. I thought their vocals, particularly during the chorus and bridge was also quite good. Their rapping, is obviously top notch, as that is what they are known based on their positions in their individual groups. I particularly like it when they come together and rap/sing together. The ‘I’m A Star‘ line in the chorus is ridiculously addictive and, once again, fun. Overall, I quite liked the song.

The music video shows the two members enjoying their time as a star. Essentially what the song is all about. It is a little extra at moments, such as KuanLin as a renowned astronaut floating in space after a successful space mission and actor Wooseok stabbing animals (not real animals but rather people dressed in animal outfits) in his next big role. The scenes give off that fun vibe that I mentioned previously, which is an instantly appealing component. The editing is also quite amazing in this video, especially the window on the floor during the first chorus.

The performance was nice. For everything up to the second verse, it felt very typical for the song. But from the bridge onwards, things get a little more exciting. More footwork is observed and they get into actual choreography. The piggyback ending seemed a little anticlimactic, however.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 6.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Review] Cosmos – Pentagon

Pentagon is back with a brand new Japanese single. Cosmos is their first original Japanese single, which follows the release of the Japanese versions of Shine and Violet last year. The new track is also featured on a mini-album of the same name, which includes 2 other original tracks from the group. This is also their first release since Naughty Boy in South Korea.

What stands out the most in Cosmos is the guitar and dance music mixture that makes up the instrumental for the song. There were also other elements such as the keyboard and synthetic violins that acted like that small detail that really makes up for some bareness from the more prevalent sounds. I thought it was a rather dynamic and interesting sound to really bring out the best of Pentagon. This instrumental just goes perfectly well with the vocals and the rapping that each member brings. It did seem a little overwhelming and messy at first. But those feelings did die down for me. What I have yet to mention is my favourite part has to be the synthetic violins that made the song feel staggered at the end of the choruses. While I don’t have much else to say regarding the song, I quite liked it overall.

The instrumental has a bunch of solo shots of the members reminiscing about their previous lovers. But I think towards the end, they let go of those memories and go on with their lives. Those shots are pretty much standard. But something stood out for me within the music video. Those black and white choreography shots look stunning. I really thought that was very classy and edgy at the same time (even though they were wearing suits throughout those shots).

I don’t really have much to say about the choreography. Mainly because we only saw small snippets, so there really isn’t anything that I could personally see worth discussing. The only part we got in full was the dance break at the start of the song and that was good.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 6.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.4/10

[Album Review] Thumbs Up (7th Mini Album) – Pentagon

After releasing their trendy Shine song, Pentagon has returned to see whether they can pull off what Shine managed to accomplish for the group. And while their comeback may have been masked by certain news, they have managed to pull off a great comeback week with their latest title track, Naughty Boy. And they managed to equally release a high-quality album, Thumbs Up, which is what we will be looking at today.

pentagon-thumbsup-2
Thumbs Up Album Cover

1..Naughty Boy (청개구리) (Title Track) Click here to read the full review of Naughty Boy. (9/10)

2. Just Do It Yo!! (저두요) – This song feels very fresh, especially when you think how most songs are either synth driven or emotionally centred. So when we get these type of pop songs, I can’t help but enjoy their cheerful vibes and the pleasant atmosphere. The song showcases very powerful vocals from all the members (and this includes the rappers). I like the instrumentation, which seems to be prominently guitar and drums. I also like how there was a ‘live’ feel to the song as if they recorded in public due to the presence of the background noise. Its chorus was also just as great as everything else in the song, making this a favourite of mine. (10/10)

3. Skateboard – Attracting my attention to the song is the repeated whistles that feature as part of the instrumental of the song. They ended up being quite catchy. It is another fun-sounding track but going back to something more fitting for a dance performance. I thought the chorus was rather dynamic with their vocalisation of some of the lines. I like the moments in which they all participate together. I would have liked a stronger rap sequence that could have been intense, which would have given a nicer texture to the song, as it feels relatively smooth.  (8/10)

4. When It Rains At Night (밤에 비가 내리면) – Given the title of the song, it was expected it was going to be more of a ballad type. Pentagon has one good ballad (Beautiful – released last year) that I am aware of, but ballads are not something that the group releases often. I like the song for its instrumental, which I thought was very beautiful sounding. Like the instrumental, the vocals are also quite nice, and I liked how they managed to fit the rappers into the song (as both their tones are very different from each other and more aligned with the upbeat side of music, like their title tracks). (9/10)

5. Thumbs Up! – Ending the album isn’t technically a fun-sounding song. It is the pop song that I tend to like for its straightforwardness and very refreshing tone. You can’t help but smile along to this song. Once again, the vocals and the rapping were all very nice but they weren’t standouts for this album. There isn’t anything too special about the instrumentation in the song but that is one of this draw points, as I listed above. It did get a tad repetitive for my taste towards the end, as they could have done something during the bridge for a little changeup but besides that, it was a nice song. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

pentagon-thumbsup-3
Thumbs Up Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Naughty Boy – Pentagon

Despite being affected by some dating revelations, Pentagon has returned as an 8-member group with their Thumbs Up mini-album and the title track, Naughty Boy. E’Dawn is not participating in the comeback due to his dating life with Hyuna (I am not going to call it a scandal, as it isn’t a scandal!), while Yanan has taken time off for health issues. This is the group’s first comeback since their viral hit Shine, which was released back in March of this year.

After the likes of Shine, I don’t know how the group could release a song that could potentially be better than Shine. But Naughty Boy is an awesome attempt (and if all goes well, it could potentially go viral once again). Why do I say that, well, the song has that chanting anthem acting as the post-chorus, so it is quite easy to get the song stuck in your mind. Mind you, I have spent the last few hours replaying songs due to their catchiness and this one is definitely one of them. I thought both the rapping and the vocals were quite good. There is a very cheerful vibe to the song which automatically channels straight into my head, making me quite happy afterwards (I am quite stressed at the moment). This is the type of song that you would want playing when you revert to an immature side of yourself (and I think the lyrics do reference that).

The video is definitely not typical. It features the weird frog concept, which dominates this comeback both in the lyrics and visually. To a foreigner (like me), it is definitely odd. However, there might be a folktale about the tree frog in Korea, which would instantly put this video into context. If there is, please let us all know in the comments below! As for the music video, I like how the members are all having fun. It doesn’t feel fake. And this alone adds levels of appeal to the video. And I like how the production made sure the boys were safe throughout the video. At the choreography scene at the construction site, they wore hi-vis jackets. Not the most glamorous outfit but they made it work.

The choreography references Shine a fair bit. I like that tactic but hope it isn’t going to be overused. The rest of the choreography seems to be new moves, which I thought were fun and simple, great for fans to dance along to. It definitely looks promising and I can’t wait to see a live performance for this song!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

[Special] Personal Favourite Songs from the First Half of 2018

With the first 6 months of 2018 officially over, it is time to look back at my personal favourite songs from the first half. Last week, I recapped the top songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts. But some songs that I personally liked didn’t really make that list. So here are 15 songs released over the last 6 months that are my personal favourites AND continually listen to (irrespective of the charts and the reviews – as opinions do change).

[Album Review] Positive (6th Mini Album) – Pentagon

Pentagon made their comeback at the start of the week with Shine. Shine is the title track off their 6th mini-album, titled as Positive. Pentagon’s last album review. Demo_01 and the title track off that album (Like This) put the group on my radar. And like that mini-album, Positive has proven to be a worthwhile album release. For more of my thoughts on the individual songs, read down below!

pentagonpositive-2
Positive Album Cover

1..Offroad – What really jumps out at you with Offroad is its striking yet cluttered instrumental. Despite it being jam-packed and somewhat messy, it works as a very cool aspect of the song. On top of that, it remains in the background, with the vocals and raps staying at the forefront of the song. Both elements were nice but I really like the huskiness of the rapper’s voices in this song. What it could have used was some hype, which would have made this track even better. It is a great opener track, overall. (9/10)

2. Shine (Title Track)Click here for the full review of Shine. (8.7/10)

3. Think About You (생각해) – The song can be described as a slow R&B song with jazzy vibes. Following the intensity of the opening track and the upbeat nature of Shine, it was definitely a nice breather. The song seemed to focus more on the vocals but the rappers still had their moments throughout the song. There was a particular cheerful tone to the song. The song just ended up not being that memorable but it was still nice overall. (7.5/10)

4. Do It For Fun (재밌겠다) (Rapper Unit) – We all know (and I keep on saying time and time again) that rap-based songs aren’t really my cup of tea. But Do It For Fun is one awesome track. It was easy on the ears and quite catchy with the repetition. Given my past comments regarding the rappers, the delivery of their lines was really nice. Towards the end, it does turn into an anthem, which I thought was quite cool. It did go back to the way it started, which was an interesting change-up. Not sure which one would have been the better ending, but both were completely fine. (8/10)

5. Nothing I Can Do (보낼 수밖에) – This felt like your traditional ballad. However, there were some unconventional aspects of the instrumentation (especially in the chorus). Once again, the song focuses heavily on the vocals (but don’t worry, there were raps sequences in the song). All other aspects of the song were awesome. If I were to pick a song to compare this one too, it would be Pentagon’s Beautiful (which was my pick on non-title track of the year last year). I particularly like the violins (or guitar, not sure) at the end of the bridge. (8.5/10)

6. Let’s Go Together (함께 가자 우리) – This track as this ‘feel good’ style, which made it memorable for me. Once again, the vocals and raps both sounded quite pleasant in the song. I really liked the pre-chorus build-up where we get a taster from both sides of the team. The chorus itself was quite nice, with some harmonies between both the rappers and vocalists (which isn’t something you hear all too often). Likewise, the bridge was awesome due to the presence of harmonies. Its overall sound was an excellent way to end the album, where it made you feel good and cheerful afterwards. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

pentagonpositive-3
Positive Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] Shine – Pentagon

Shining brightly with their latest comeback, Pentagon dropped Shine as their comeback title track today. This is the group’s first comeback since their Runaway comeback in November last year (as well). Shine is the title track to their 6th mini-album, which is titled as Positive. I have yet to decide whether I will be writing an album review for Positive. But before I can make that decision, I must finish this review, so let’s get going.

Shine is one amazing track that I personally think everyone should just check out for the sake of it. To me, the song felt like something iKON would release. That could be mainly due to the hip-hop vibes that I got from the song. The same vibes were well infused into a melodic track, which felt groovy. Its instrumental was particularly bright and cheerful, which works well with the lyrics of the song (which is about feeling shy about love). I love the keyboard instrumental, which was simple yet still allowing the song to build up. Everyone nailed their parts perfectly, from the rapping to the vocals. Two people caught my attention but I am not familiar them, so I don’t know their names. The bridge was my most favourite part of the song (besides from the chorus), with the rapper started off the bridge and the guy who did the high-note being the two members that caught my attention despite each of their sections lasting a few seconds in the bridge. The song is super catchy and I can honestly see myself replaying this song constantly in the days to come.

The music video also had a retro vibe and I thought was the video was nice. Though, I think the video could have been set in a much more appealing area rather than something rundown. I like how the video did play towards the lyrics, mainly the many crumpled pieces of paper in the locker, which I am assuming to be many attempts at a love letter to their crush. It was a good video and I liked it.

There a few dance trends in the choreography, which made the whole thing quite epic to watch. Don’t ask me any names of these moves or else I will show how out-of-touched with the dance trends. Concept-wise, I think this is their take on the cute boy concept. I like this cooler take on the concept, which makes it more interesting and refreshing.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

 

 

2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Results

**drum rolls please**

It is time to announce the winners of the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. This is the first year ever that you (the readers) got the opportunity to vote and pick out the winners of each category (excluding a few). Let me just start by saying thank you for all those who participated in the voting process, as you all made this possible.

This will be an EXTREMELY LONG post and it will be gif heavy so it may take a while to load up. If you have a slow internet connection (like me), you can still view the winners (along with the nominees if you missed the voting period/want a reminder) by clicking the link here.

The respective gifs for each category represent the winners which you voted for, while I have put down my pick for the category. I have opted to not do a commentary this year due to the already long length of this post.

BEST MALE GROUP DEBUT

wannaone_bestmalegroupdebut
Wanna One

Author’s Choice – Wanna One


BEST FEMALE GROUP DEBUT

dreamcatcher_bestfemalegroupdebut
Dream Catcher

Author’s Choice – Dream Catcher


BEST SOLOIST DEBUT

kimchungha_bestsolodebut
Kim Chungha

Author’s Choice – Jung Sewoon


RISING STAR

monstax_risingstar
Monsta X

Author’s Choice – NU’EST W


BEST SUBUNIT

seventeenperformanceunit_bestsubunit
SEVENTEEN Performance Unit

Author’s Choice – Gugudan 5959


BEST CO-ED GROUP

kard_bestcoedgroup
KARD

Author’s Choice – KARD


BEST MALE SOLOIST

gdragon_bestmalesoloist
G-Dragon (Big Bang)

Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)


BEST FEMALE SOLOIST

iu_bestfemalesoloist
IU

sunmi_bestfemalesoloist
Sunmi

Author’s Choice – Sunmi


BEST VOCALS

btob_bestvocals
BTOB

Author’s Choice – DAY6


BEST RAPPER

zico_bestrapper
Zico (Block B)

Author’s Choice – Bobby (iKON)


BEST JAPANESE SONG BY A KOREAN ARTIST

onemoretime_bestjapanesesongbykoreanartist
One More Time – TWICE

Author’s Choice – One More Time (TWICE)


BEST COLLABORATION

honeybee_bestcollaboration
Honey Bee – Luna, Solar, Hani

Author’s Choice – Bye Babe (Chen & 10CM)


BEST CHOREOGRAPHY

dontwannacry_bestchoreography
Don’t Wanna Cry – SEVENTEEN

Author’s Choice – Gashina (Sunmi)


BEST MUSIC VIDEO

peekaboo_bestmusicvideo
Peek-A-Boo – Red Velvet

Author’s Choice – You In Me (KARD)


BEST MALE GROUP

bap_bestmaleartist
B.A.P

exo_bestmaleartist
EXO

Author’s Choice – SEVENTEEN


BEST FEMALE GROUP

redvelvet_bestfemaleartist
Red Velvet

Author’s Choice – Red Velvet


BEST NON-TITLE TRACK SONG

Beautiful – Pentagon


BEST ALBUM

iuplatte-2
Palette – IU (4th Studio Album)


And there you have it, the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Award Winners. Congratulations to all! Hopefully, the artist’s that you picked came out on top and were victorious.

As for the BEST SONG OF THE YEAR award, it will be published in a separate post. For this year, the winning song will be the song that tops the End Of Year Charts (to be published on the 15th of January).
NOTE: YOUR VOTES MAKE UP 50% OF THE END OF YEAR CHARTS, WITH THE OTHER 50% CONTRIBUTED BY ME.

[Review] Runaway – Pentagon

Making their 3rd comeback for this year is Pentagon with Runaway. It follows the release of Critical Beauty and Like This, which has become one of my favourite tracks of this year.  This comeback is a continuation of their previous Demo comeback and the album is titled Demo_02.

Following that serious tone (which I am digging) that featured in Like This, Runaway is a great continuation of it. But what I like more is the fact that the song manages to flow a lot better, despite having a chorus that completely shakes things up. And I don’t say that in a bad way. The structure of the song was arranged nicely. The raps came in just the right time. The vocals in the verses eased to and from the rap quite nicely as well. The buildup to the choruses was superb. That chorus was a little unexpected (I didn’t listen to any previous teasers) but I really enjoyed the intensity and energy that came from the chorus and drop. But despite that, the chorus works well with the song and hence I say it flows well. Regarding the ‘Runaway‘ repetition in the chorus, it is decent but it feels overdone. I would have prefered something that has a little more substance like the Like This chorus, but I know how difficult given the style of electronic music they had gone with in this song.

I had to take a moment to rewatch the previous music video to work how they connect. And I am as clueless as when I started writing this review. From what I can gather, it seems that whatever problems they were experiencing in the Like This music video, they seem to have banded together to help solve or escape from them. The cinematography was amazing in the video. But overall, I thought the video was a little dry and boring to watch.

Whatever the intensity level the song brings to the table, the performance equally showcases through the movements. But other than that, it just didn’t strike me as one to remember.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8/10