Pentagon are back with their second self-composed album after making a sonic shift with September’s Demo_01. Taking over the reigns of their music was a smart choice, especially when it resulted in a song as spectacular as Like This. Runaway successfully continues this sound, even if it never reaches the heights of its predecessor.
Once again composed by leader Hui and production team FlowBlow, Runaway is all emotive vocals, charismatic hip-hop and thick slabs of synth. This trendy sound has quickly become tethered to Pentagon, and for now it’s working. But with a mega-hit like Wanna One’s Energetic under their belt, these composers have shown us that they’re capable of exploring different textures. That sense of versatility needs to make its way into Pentagon’s music sooner rather than later.
But for now, we have Like This Pt. 2 — or “Runaway,” as they’re calling it. The song itself is solid, bobbing dramatically atop its percussion-heavy instrumental. I like that the hook doesn’t rely fully on its repeated synth loop. Instead, it injects an anthemic refrain that feels sprawling despite its melodic simplicity. The verses are less interesting, except for the gorgeous background vocals that pop up during E’Dawn’s rap. That little production touch instantly adds so much depth and interest that I wonder why it was used so sparingly. These vocals briefly return for the extended bridge, though the main melody is missing that climactic gut-punch that made Like This‘s climax so effective. Runaway isn’t really a step back. It feels more like a lateral move. And for a group who needs to be hitting home runs every single time, I’m not sure that’s going to be good enough.