Cube Entertainment’s latest unit, Triple H, are back for their first comeback more than 14 months after their debut last year. Consisting of Cube’s reigning queen HyunA plus two members of the label’s junior boy group PENTAGON, Hui and E’Dawn (birth name Hyojong, which provides the last of the three nominal Hs), Triple H has staked its trademark in shocking the South Korean public with blatantly violent and sexual concepts. You’d think that with so much care and effort invested into making the music videos as scandalous as possible, the music itself might suffer. Yet Triple H proves quite the opposite, as their new title track “Retro Future” is easily one of the best songs of K-pop’s busy summer so far. Furthermore, the short EP, “Retro Futurism,” is at least as good as or better than the debut mini-album which had more songs on it. The ongoing emphasis on sensuality doesn’t feel like a stunt, but advances the goals of the music itself, working in favor of Triple H’s ultimate agenda—to get people to check out the music and stick around long enough to become fans of the individual members.
“Retro Future” opens with the members huskily whispering “retro sexy music” into the mic, and the trio spends the rest of the song expanding on this brief thesis. They take turns rapping and singing over a delightfully organized-chaos type of instrumental that is part 90s-hip-hop and part funk in its inspiration. Each member plays an integral role: You’ve got HyunA for irresistible confidence and invaluable star power, then E’Dawn’s quirky high-tone to serve up a healthy dose of weirdness and Hui’s absolutely stunning vocal ability which provides the backbone of the track. Although I can’t pretend I wouldn’t have liked to hear more from the chorus besides the words “retro future” eight times, the performances are so good that the repetitive hook doesn’t detract from the song’s overall effectiveness (Hui’s excellent prechoruses and later ad-libs provide huge impetus in this direction). The case is largely the same with “Retro Futurism”s two side tracks, both of which are more than deserving of a listen or twenty. The genre-defying “Feel” with its eccentric rhythms and rocking vocals even tops the title track for me. Triple H have proven with this comeback that the future of Cube Entertainment’s future is bright, not only in the potential of their artists, but in their willingness and ability to take risks without letting the music slip through their fingers in the process.
RETRO FUTURE: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Bop x 1000.
Take a look at Triple H’s “Retro Future” MV below: