In today’s episode of “Groups New to Me,” I take on rookies Pentagon who debuted this October with their high-energy self-titled mini-album. I didn’t really have my eye on them when their debut rolled around, but I gave it a listen and was reasonably impressed. Pentagon started off with a bang, including certified banger “Gorilla.” So I decided to see just what they had to offer this time around.
Five Senses opens as expected—a beat-heavy dance track reminiscent of many of the most popular songs cropping up in K-pop nowadays. The construction of “Can You Feel It” is predictable, that is one can predict each movement before it happens. There’s a set pattern to dance tracks: beat-heavy verses leading to a smoother pre-chorus, a drop, then an explosive chorus that’s more beat than vocal. The first chorus is usually followed by a rap and a bit more singing in order to bridge the gap between chorus iterations. More rapping, a vocal bridge, then end strong with a couple more passes at the chorus. As far as Pentagon’s take on the formula, it’s no worse than any other group’s. I’ll give them respect for the harmonization, but otherwise the song itself is a bit sluggish, not leaving an impression beyond a niggle in the mind that you’ve perhaps heard this song before.
We then get “Engine.” While the song’s title suggests another pulsating dance track, the actual composition is surprising. It’s mellow despite its tempo. Not so much surprising in terms of album construction, but it does strike a bit of a chord with me, tickling a bit at my K-pop nostalgia. I get whispers of Infinite in the track, á la songs like “Paradise,” a late-80s, early-90s slant to the melody: triumphant drums and a simple beat to highlight and bolster the vocal.
The next two tracks are what one would expect from a mini-album: bright pop tracks acting as buffers in the middle of an album that depends heavily on beats to spur it forward. “Pretty Pretty” and “Lose Yourself” are cute tracks that blend in with the rest. Meanwhile, Five Senses ends decently with a pretty mid-tempo ballad in “Stay Crazy.”
Five Senses doesn’t exactly deliver on its namesake. From the title one would expect a variety of colors, music to engage all five “senses,” as it were, to give us a deeper insight into the newbie group. Granted, this is only their second mini-album, so it’s not really fair to expect that level conceptual ambition. However, even allowing for the group’s greenness, this mini was tragically one note, giving us mostly the same mid-tempo dance track construction, with a couple cheery party tracks, probably meant to drop a bit of warmth in the midst of the winter months.
There isn’t much to take away here except a vague sense of “not bad. Simple album. Nothing incredibly impressive, but solid. The vocals have some potential, but nothing here to get me truly invested in the group. As is the overwhelming (but unsurprising) trend in an oversaturated market, Five Senses is just another standard pop album.
(Youtube.Images via CUBE Entertainiment.)