Cube Entertainment’s prodigal sons are back with their sixth mini album, “Positive,” and for the first time I don’t want to call them rookies. New title track “Shine” is proof that boy group PENTAGON are slowly but surely coming into their own. The song sketches an identity for the group, not necessarily in terms of sound or genre, but in terms of performance. Of attitude, maybe. Co-composed by leader Hui and main rapper E’Dawn, “Shine” is a uniquely delivered bout of wonderfully organized chaos that is just what this group needed right now.
“Shine” builds itself around a measured, plunking piano melody, eventually incorporating some horns and mild bass in a way you expect to hear from YG boy groups. What sets “Shine” apart (well, one of the many things) is the way its vocal melodies dance around in barely-controlled mayhem. Taken individually, they’re simple and catchy as heck, but developed into a dynamic structure, they string one another along so you never know where they’re turning next. Melodies are often remade depending on which member is singing them—take, for example, the contrast between E’Dawn’s initial prechorus and Kino’s second prechorus, or the difference between E’Dawn and Wooseok’s deliveries of the same hook part. The verses are constantly shape-shifting to follow the member that’s singing or rapping. In this way, each member’s own style becomes essential to the song’s composition. The cherry on top of it all is Jinho’s high note in the bridge, which lands on a minor chord that challenges the song’s brightly majors-based composition, making the segue into the carefree final chorus even more gleeful.
At the time of PENTAGON’s previous comeback “Runaway,” the group had released four mini-albums in less than a year and were brutally busy through every second of it. In contrast with “Runaway,” which had been pulled together in two months, “Positive” comes four months after their previous comeback. No, they’re not exactly taking their sweet time, but the truth is that the extra few weeks show. The soaring EDM of “Off-Road,” for example, toys with the traditional prechorus-hook structure, inserting a simmering quiet moment in the middle of the chorus and then redoubling its energy on the other side. While nothing else on the album is quite as captivating as “Off-Road,” there’s plenty of vocal prowess to be experienced in later track “Think About You” and a reckless continuation of rap line’s preceding track “Pretty Boys” to be found in the insolent “Do It For Fun.” PENTAGON’s on the up again, guys, and I’m thrilled to see it happening.
SHINE: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Bop!!!
Take a look at PENTAGON’s “Shine” MV below: