Pentagon made their bid for a summer hit with last month’s Humph, but my feelings about the song could basically be summed up by its title. I hate to see the group succumb to retreads of 2018 hit Shine at the expense of new sounds. Their one-two punch of Cosmo and Sha La La hinted at new horizons earlier in the year, but it feels like summer has stolen their ambition. If Humph was a step backward, new Japanese single Happiness is more like a holding pattern.
To be fair, Happiness isn’t simply another re-creation of Shine. The song is very much its own beast, but a ho-hum hook prevents it from becoming a highlight within their discography. This is a shame, because it feels as if the song wants to be something more. Its groovy, new jack swing beat is a welcome addition to the Pentagon oeuvre, and possesses the kind of funky charm that was largely missing from Humph.
Unfortunately, Happiness’s melody feels more like b-side material. It’s pleasant all the way through, but never really goes anywhere. The hooks are so airy they’re rendered almost intangible. Pentagon perform everything with verve — and there are some nice harmonies at play — but there’s just not much substance for them to sink their teeth into.
** On a less serious note, the track’s final line displays just why the phrasing of the word “happiness” is so fraught with peril when it comes to pop music. The emphasis should always be on the first syllable. I don’t think Happiness’s closing moment was the message Pentagon were hoping to leave their listeners! Or maybe it was?
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