Song Review: Pentagon – Basquiat

Pentagon have been teasing the music video release of their Road to Kingdom track Basquiat (바스키아) for a week now, and all the while I kept thinking ‘these visuals must be stunning because the song itself is kind of a non-starter.’ And yes, the performance video is suitably cinematic, adding image to angst in a way that makes the song pop. Truthfully, freed from the context of Kingdom, Basquiat has grown on me. But given its dramatic elements, it really should be a song that I unabashedly love.

I think the aspect that’s keeping me from fully embracing Basquiat echoes the issue I had with February’s Dr. Bebe. When it comes down to it, I would consider melody to be the single most important element in a song. Bombastic production can compensate to some degree, but it can’t fully replicate the thrill of a brilliant pop hook. Basquiat has enough bluster to power an entire album, and I love its chanted post-chorus and guitar-shredding climax. But at its center, there’s a void of melody – replaced by a structure that feels closer to anguished screaming. Dr. Bebe’s chorus took the same approach, though I think Basquiat is the stronger of the two tracks by far.

Barring that issue, I do appreciate the passion thrown into the song. It’s a little showboaty and all-over-the-place, but it’s hard not to come away from Basquiat without an impression. A different producer might have been able to tie the emotion together in a more satisfying way (like Hwang Hyun did with ONF’s brilliant New World). I received some very aggressive feedback when I called parts of Dr. Bebe a “hissy fit,” and I get that that’s not the most endearing of terms. But, that’s honestly the description I’d use for moments in Basquiat as well. I don’t quite know how Pentagon overcomes this impression, but that noisy energy keeps the otherwise solid Basquiat from becoming totally transcendent.

 Hooks 7
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!


11 thoughts on “Song Review: Pentagon – Basquiat

  1. This has grown on me a bit since RTK ended, but it definitely lacks something to push it over the edge.

    Also, Nick, you’ve got to have set a new record for posts to your site in one day…9 is amazing. I can’t believe how much was released all at once.


    • Me neither! It’s like a week’s worth of comebacks in one day. And yes, I think this was a new record for me (though the Seventeen one was written in advance)


  2. Whole lot of 8 and 8-point-something ratings today! Looks like nothing completely blew you out of the water, but definitely some pleasant surprises. Hopefully it offers a little boost to the monthly score. Go rest your wrists or something!


  3. Your productivity today has been the complete opposite of mine. Thanks for this!
    Didn’t like this on first listen, but it grew on me over time (probably the Hui vocals). It’s still not something I actively seek out, but it’s not bad. Strangely, the opening lines of Vivid today by AB6IX reminded me of this song.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nothing here really blew me away but I have to say. Once the bridge starts, it’s gold. Hui may have created another letdown, but at least he knows how to do a finale.


  5. Hui singing his heart out on the bridge and that sick electric guitar made me go “wow”. I’ll come back for a later listen and see if it’ll grow on me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I.. I … I just don’t know what to make of this song. I have come to the slow realization after so many listens that
    1) it has nothing whatsoever to do with the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat except for the name.
    2) There is no situation except for writing this review that I would listen to this song again. It ticks none of my like-a song buttons. At 6 or 8 listens between the RtK and the video, I am done.


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