[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

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[Album Review] Demo_01 (4th Mini Album) – Pentagon

If you read or see my album reviews, you can kind of guess which artists I go to the most to write these posts. But don’t assume I listen to the albums of just those artists. I actually listen to many and in the future, hope I can make some time to write more than one per week to accommodate some of those other albums I listen to. This week’s pick is (as you can see above) is Pentagon’s latest mini album, Demo_01, which features the title track Like This.  Overall, I was very impressed with every song on the release, which is why we are here today! So, let’s start.

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Demo_01 Album Cover

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

2. It’s Over – I think this track can take two different routes. It can work as a ballad or a dance song. And both would have been equally interesting in terms of music video and performance as well. It’s Over manages to hit the right notes with the song’s components, like the clear and crisp vocals to the emotional powerful raps that they deliver. The standard instrumental is a little boring but combining it with the group’s vocal and rap style for this promotional round makes it a winner in my book. The melodies for this song is quite exceptional as well. (9/10)

3. Until Today (오늘까지만) – Until Today is a very artistic sounding dance track that delves back into the electronic style of music. I personally thought the chorus was very well done, especially with the tropical house influences for the instrumental breaks. You expect the track to build up somehow, but it remained relatively flat. However, that isn’t a major concern because it ended up quite consistent and addictive to listen to. (8.5/10)

4. Cool Rap (멋있게랩) – For those who have been visiting this site for some time, you may know that I am not that much of a fan of rap-based songs. Hence, why you don’t really see that much K-Hip Hop on this track. But this track is completely different. It features the 3 main rappers of the song only and it truly displays their skills and talents. Its instrumental was extremely captivating. And while I usually don’t describe songs as ‘lit’ that often, I think it is the most appropriate and hipster way to describe the song. (9/10)

5. When I Was In Love (설렘이라는건) – Another vocally satisfying track from the group and an amazing way to end the album. The RnB based song is probably the least interesting on the track in comparison to the songs that preceded it, but it is still a damn good song. The chorus was incredibly dreamy, almost. The start of the chorus felt like they were easing us into whatever was going to come next. The rappers also shined in the song, with their short but perfectly fitting sequence. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.5/10

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Pentagon Demo_01 Teaser Image

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[Review] Like This – Pentagon

Pentagon has made their return to the stage once again this year with Like This. They previous promoted Pretty Pretty and Critical Beauty earlier this year. Currently, Pentagon is in the spotlight due to Hui, who has also produced some popular songs currently circulating the industry at the moment, such as Wanna One’s Energetic.

Like This has a more serious tone compared to any of Pentagon’s songs. And with that serious tone, there is a lot more angst within the song, which makes it an interesting aspect of the song. The instrumental has been stripped back quite. It isn’t heavy in terms of sound, which I actually like. It did have a very dull feel to it but the other aspects (i.e. vocals and raps) gave some the song that angst and character. Vocally, I think this is their best effort yet. It doesn’t really present us with anything new, but rather the vocal style fits the more serious side of the song. But to me, the best and worst part of the song was the rapping. The raps, for sure, felt perfect for this song in my opinion. When they needed a little intensity to keep the song intriguing, the raps came in at the right moments. But that rap sequence right after the first chorus was, what I would deem, as the weakest moment of the entire track. It was good but the way they connected it to the slow verse felt awkward and too sudden. But besides that, great song.

The darker concept went well with the song and I personally thought they would continue with the concept throughout the song. But that ending when they have fun and throw E-Dawn up into the air didn’t feel just doesn’t carry that same momentum. But besides that, each member’s individual scenes, where some showed angst, complimented well with the song.

The performance was quite good. It might be due to the slower music tempo, but I didn’t find it as captivating as their other performances. The moves weren’t that groundbreaking but they seemed to fit the song.

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

[Special] Favourite Songs from 1st Half of 2017

Can you already believe it? That we are already in July. Half the year has gone by and it felt like a blur. A lot has happened in the last 6 months that has just past. So, as a treat, I have decided to compile a list (my top 10) of the songs from the first half of 2017. There is no ranking or charting system that has allowed me to come up with this list (though, you might notice it may correspond with the Weekly Charts that I publish every Sunday). This is all just my personal preference and it is simply my opinion. So, in no particular order whatsoever, here are my top 10 songs from the 1st half of 2017.

Don’t Wanna Cry – Seventeen

Hwi Hwi – Laboum

Never Ever – GOT7

Beautiful – Monsta X

I’ll Be Yours – Girl’s Day

Don’t Recall – K.A.R.D

Beautiful – Pentagon

Hobglobin – CLC

Dance Dance – DAY6

I Wish – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

 

 

[Review] Critical Beauty – Pentagon

Pentagon has returned with a brand new song, Critical Beauty and their third mini-album, titled as Ceremony. The group made their debut last year with Gorilla and later went on to return with Can You Feel It?. This year, they followed up with Pretty Pretty promotions. E-Dawn and Hui joined Hyuna to form Triple H and made their debut with 365 Fresh. The full album also consists of the pre-release Beautiful, with is one amazing song.

Critical Beauty seems to stand out in the crowd. And for the same reasons, the song doesn’t sit right. In other words, I can see both sides of the coin for this song. It’s unique in a way that it mashes sounds together that you don’t really expect to work, but it does. The song opens up with a very notable Elvis Presley Jail House Rock riff. That alone already perked my ears up. It then mixes hip-hop into the song. Together, it makes the song more interesting and (as mentioned) unique. But the same combination sounded very sluggish and slow. There was no buildup, and it kind felt stalled. The vocals were quite good. What the song does lack in tempo (for me, at least), it makes up through the vocal work of the song. Just minus the whiny E-Dawn sequence we get in the song. The more I listen to it, the catchier it sounds. It just doesn’t get to the point where that slowness (mentioned previously) could be overlooked and to me, that was the biggest issue with the song. But overall, it is worth checking out for its individuality and uniqueness.

Thier music video seems to match the lyrics of the song. I interpret the lyrics of the song as the guys being extremely confident around their lover, singing lines like “what’s the point of asking what’s obvious”. The guys came off as confident men in the video through their charismatic gazes into the camera. And I thought that was pretty cool.  Just a simple observation, but there seem to be one camera angle that felt like it was being overused. The camera seemed always be positioned at a low height and continuously shot while looking up. Overall, the video was dry for the most part, but it went well with the song.

The performance was actually quite good. I liked the introduction and their formations throughout the performance. That confidence seems to carry through to the dance as well.

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

[Review] 365 Fresh – Triple H

Cube Entertainment unveiled a new subunit comprising of its artists recently, with the group being named as Triple H. The group consist of former 4Minute member Hyuna and Pentagon members Hui and E-Dawn (whose real name is Kim Hyo Jong). 365 Fresh is the title track off the subunit’s first mini album, which is titled as 199X. This is the second subunit formed between labelmates at Cube Entertainment, the other being Trouble Maker, comprising of Hyuna and Hyunseung.

365 Fresh is a really cool song. From the start, its upbeat and fresh sound really does stand out. The song delves into the Funk genre. It actually reminds me of songs that Bruno Mars put out, such as Uptown Funk. And like Uptown Funk, it makes me want to get up just dance to it. The catchy “365 So Fresh” that they repeat throughout the song does the job really well and make the song quite memorable. The vocals and the raps are both superb aspects in this song. I would love to hear a little more from Hyuna in the song. She was there but compared to the guys, her part didn’t shine as much. As for the guys, they did a pretty good job with their raps and vocal work. Together, all 3 members came together and showed a dynamic sound that could potentially rival the dynamics that were brought out to play when Trouble Maker released their songs.

Once again, Cube has put out a music video that was slapped with another 19+ rating. And given the scenes in the video, I am quite sure that the Korean netizens are criticising the video left, right and centre. Onto the plot. Hyuna is a hairdresser, but in the video, she is inappropriately touched by the customer. She protects herself from the customer and ends up killing him. Hui seems to be on the run from a gang. E-Dawn attempts to suicide a few times in the video, but (not too sure here) changes his minds. All three somehow meet on the road and end up escaping their currently lives. Hui actually stole a car and coincidently there is bucket loads of money in the boot of the car, so the three of them live new lives in style. There seemed to be a little bit of tension as Hyuna and E-Dawn seem to fall in love, while Hui third-wheels. In the end, after too much partying, they end up jumping off a building, most likely leading to their deaths. I like the video for its storyline and appeal. That being said, I do not condone violence, drug use, suicide or other themes that appeared in the video.

[UPDATED] While it may not be the usual sexy style that we expect and see from Hyuna, the choreography for 365 Fresh is extremely flirty and works well with the song. Even between the trio, there is some sort of chemistry that can’t really be described, but should rather be witnessed. The guys have big shoes to fill, especially given the portfolio of Hyuna and her choreographies, but the guys fit in wonderful, with the funky dance routine.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10 [UPDATED]
Overall Rating – 9/10 [UPDATED]

 

[Review] Gorilla – Pentagon

[This review was written and scheduled a few months back in preparation for my absence in December. The standard posts for the end of the year (comebacks I have missed in November & December, the end of year charts + KPOPreviewed awards will be written and posted after my return. No weekly charts will be uploaded for the last week of November and all of December.]

Pentagon is a 10 member boy group who debuted back in October with the track Gorilla. The group is currently under Cube Entertainment. The members were chosen via the show Pentagon Maker. All of the members selected on the program and a few eliminated contestants went on to form Pentagon. In the end, the group comprises of Jinho, Hui, Hongseok, E’Dawn, Shinwon, Yeo One, Yan An, Yuto, Kino & Wooseok.  Jinho was originally a part of SM The Ballad and Hongseok participated in the survival program for iKON (but was eliminated).

Can’t say I like the song, but I don’t hate it. It is a song that I am on the fence about. Considering just the title, it makes me laugh. It is a title that is very out there and doesn’t allude to your typical track. It kind acted as the deal breaker for me. The song (removed from the title in my head) actually sounds pretty good. They have a solid beat that formed the basis of their song. And the song progressed quite smoothly. I would have enjoyed the song a little more if the chanting “Gorilla Gorilla” was completely omitted. (Once again, I just can’t take the title properly). Not many Gorilla references in the lyrics, but some of the lines were questionable: “Everyone wants to pick you like a strawberry“. Hmmm.. But besides, I liked the instrumental. It has a nice pop/hip-hop vibe and I mentioned the cool beat before. Their vocals and rapping was pretty good.

As a concept, Gorilla sounds pretty ordinary. This is KPOP we are talking about. A genre where the concepts that artists go for when it comes to videos and performances aren’t that ‘normal’ in Western culture. While some people seem to be able to piece out a story with the various different scenes, to me, it just seems like a bunch of shots made to string together. They look like they have no relevance and don’t flow from each other. Some relevance to gorillas. while some relevance was directed to the group’s name, Pentagon. The group choreography was well shot but not that focused. I assume to match the craziness of the dance and the music, those shots were out of focus and shaky. Overall thoughts on the video: it is a mess. That or I am really confused.

However, the choreography for this debut is smashing. From what I can see, the group has a lot of potential in this department. The dance at the chorus has to be one of the few dances of the year. It matches the Gorilla concept pretty well and the song. Looks funny but after a while you overlook it and see a great dance.

Rating – 5.5/10