Pentagon may be an unknown group to some, but its leader Hui has co-composed two of k-pop’s most ubiquitous tracks this year. Working with production team Flow Blow, he’s created both Produce 101‘s tropical-inspired Never and Wanna One’s immense Energetic. It’s still early in the game, but with his talents on board, Pentagon have the potential to become the rare idol group who successfully self-produces. And with Like This, Cube Entertainment has finally let the guys take the reigns of their own career.
Like This isn’t as immediately striking as Energetic or Never, but it begins to paint a promising sound for a group who’ve been a little all over the place since their debut. The song takes a more downbeat approach, flirting with uptempo dance elements but always returning to the wobbly slab of synths that marks its centerpiece. The first verse provides an atmospheric slow burn before transitioning to a more impassioned rap section that leads into the chorus. The overall vibe strongly recalls Seventeen’s Don’t Wanna Cry from earlier in the year. But rather than directly embrace any one trend, Like This paints a diverse backdrop of sounds. On first listen, its structure seems to meander more than necessary, but further plays pull the narrative into greater focus.
And that’s where Like This really succeeds. Rather than feel stagnant or over-simplified, the track is peppered with highs and lows that lend a dynamic sense of growth as the song builds to its explosive middle-eight climax. This sense of movement more than compensates for the trendy familiarity of some of its production elements. The fact that its vocal-driven chorus is so evocatively performed is even more proof that Pentagon have finally found their sound. They’d be wise to keep this burgeoning sense of authenticity growing as they move through their next few comebacks.