Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
Earlier this week, Pentagon were the subject of my ire for releasing the umpteenth dark, tuneless boy group dirge of the past few months. In retrospect, I was probably a little too hard on Dr. BeBe. It’s grown on me ever so slightly, and I actually like it better than the Boyz’ new single. Still, my frustration with this dark trend stands, and there are many songs on Pentagon’s new album that I would’ve preferred to get the title track treatment.
Chief among these is the fun Zoom Up, which feels like something an SM group might have recorded years ago. The song is co-composed by Code 9, who also wrote Rocket Punch’s new title track Bouncy. They’re an up-and-coming team I’ve had my eye on for awhile, and my excitement for their sound has only grown with each new release. They have an ear for a strong melody, and their production is crisp and tight.
Zoom Up is one dynamite chorus away from being a total showstopper. Oddly, its chorus feels more like a (very strong) pre-chorus, followed by a spoken word hook that repeats the title over a fun instrumental. But, the melody that we get here is really satisfying, pulsing with a militant, layered arrangement that would have felt right at home on a song like SHINee’s Sherlock. The production supports this well, offering a steady percussive groove underlined by a loop that feels almost middle eastern. This isn’t a particularly complex track, but it’s the most refreshing moment on the album and plays to Pentagon’s strengths in a way that I don’t think Dr. BeBe did.
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