Song Review: Pentagon – Do Or Not

After a jolt of renewed interest from their stint on Road to Kingdom, Pentagon now face the tricky business of military enlistments. Jinho and Hui have already taken their enlistment hiatus, though the latter appears in new single Do Or Not’s audio and music video. In a way, that makes the track feel like the end of an era. But thankfully, Pentagon mark the moment with an upbeat blast of feel-good pop.

I’ve got to give these guys credit for doing something different. It’s been refreshing to hear an influx of new sounds over the past few months in K-pop, and I hope this trend continues. The industry is stronger when it widens its net and doesn’t just rely on the same sounds and structures across the board. Do Or Not borrows from 50’s/60’s doo wop, ties it to a fun power pop backbone and wraps everything in the group’s rambunctious hip-hop energy. As a result, the track stands out among the current K-pop crowd, while still feeling distinctly Pentagon.

Do Or Not opens with a delightful throwback moment, casting the group as lovelorn crooners before the beat drops. And shockingly, the percussion here opts for a band-like approach instead of the same old drum machine we hear in 95% of K-pop tracks these days. This little touch gives Do Or Not great character. It also matches the swing of the verses, which bop along with a satisfying rhythm. From here, we move into a punchy, rock-tinged chorus that reminds me of those times when YG artists would pick up a guitar for a good old-fashioned shout-along. Ultimately, I fear that Do Or Not’s melodies are a bit too one-note to vault the song to superstar status, but I can’t overstate how charming it is to hear a K-pop comeback tackle this sound.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9

20 thoughts on “Song Review: Pentagon – Do Or Not

  1. Alright, its fun. Sure it sounds like parts of 3 or 4 separate songs that are knitted together and then the chorus repeated several times in a row for the last whole minute. At least Pentagon are seasoned enough performers to pull it off well enough despite the awkward transitions. They know how to sell it and how to just go with the jumps*.

    Something in my head keeps whispering that it would have been better as a Seventeen song.

    But what really popped into my head was whether the Yoda “always in the imperative mood” sentence structure has the equivalent in Korean Star Wars or not, and how some 5 or 7 years on from getting into kpop I still haven’t learned the basics of Korean sentence structure. Learn the Korean, I must. Do or do not, there is no try.

    *OT old timey reference of the day. Tom Jones “What’s New Pussycat” has similar jumps that the performer has to be right on top of. Of course Sir Tom is, because he is awesome and has been singing this song for 50+ years. I link to this live version because I am crushing on the trombone player with the fat wah wah sound. ‘

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you thought I would watch that only to check out the trombone player.. you are absolutely right. Very disappointed to see him get so little screentime – doesn’t get a lot to do either, but I suppose that’s the fate of instruments playing a bass line. Delightful performance overall, by the way.


      • Well, thank you!

        I have recently become a connoisseur of live performances of this song, yes, since sometime early this morning, and I happen to think the trombone is the star of this one. It gets far more awesome lines than the trumpet and sax which have almost none. It also isn’t upstaged by a strolling accordion. Good lord when there is one of those, the accordion upstages everyone else on the stage including Sir Tom, and it sounds even more like a German biergarten, which is unconscionable unless one is actually in a German biergarten drinking ein zwei bier.

        Sonny boy declined to tell me what notes those were on the trombone, because he hasn’t learned those, because his arm isn’t long enough yet. lolz

        Liked by 1 person

        • He’s learning the trombone! That’s nice. Not an instrument I see learned often, but it looks very cool.

          On a different subject, I think you are our resident Super Junior fan, right? Any thoughts on the ‘trap concept’ trailer..?


          • What Nick said. They can’t be the same song, can they?

            Trombone is common around my parts of the world as it doesn’t require as much finesse in the mouth “embroucher” position. It is also a fairly cheap instrument to rent or buy. And marching bands need 76 of them to be full and proper.
            Compare to darling daughter’s French Horn which requires ultra precise embroucher (I can’t make a single sound) and costs 6x 7x as much to rent or buy, and is insured.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Aaah the marching bands. But 76 of them? Where I live marching bands are tiny by comparison. I love the tone of a French Horn. I had no idea the mouth position was different. Is it more expensive because of all the twisty foldy things? Seems very complicated to build. I love the brass instruments running in the family though – do you play one too?

              Liked by 1 person

              • 76 trombones is another music joke. ‘

                Its the size of the mouthpiece, the french horn’s being the smallest, so your mouth has to make the smallest raspberry, whereas the trumpet and trombone is more forgiving for the typical mouth and raspberry. And yes, its all about the amount of twisty tubing, and also the precision of the rotary valves.

                I do not play, I am not as skilled at raspberry blowing. I took oodles of years of piano and violin, plus the school vocal ensemble and choir.

                Liked by 2 people

  2. I cannot stop feeling like there is just something missing for this song to truly it hit it off with me, maybe during the verses because I cannot remember them at all. Love the energy, love that they keep doing their own thing and the album is pretty solid, tho.

    Would like to hear their next title be Kino produced, just to see what would come out of it.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I pride myself on knowing a ton about k pop groups who I don’t listen regularly but this group just doesn’t for me.

    What happened to Cube,man? Beast, 4minute, Btob, that era could not come from a company putting out this stuff nowadays


  4. Yeah, rating’s spot on for me. Definitely agree that the song’s willingness to try something a little different/unique elevated it for me. Plus, although it’s not super catchy, I just enjoy having a fun, light song to usher spring in with. (It also made me nostalgic for the likes of GD’s “Crooked” and Seungyoon’s “Wild and Young.”)


  5. This is easily my favorite single of the year so far wow. I can always count on pentagon for a great melody with guitar behind it. It’s the perfect mix of refreshing and sentimental for me. Not sure how much this’ll hold up as the year goes on but I really enjoy it and think it’ll have more staying power than everything else that has come out so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One of things I enjoy most about reading this blog is the satisfaction of seeing my feelings and thoughts about a song put neatly into words. This time it is the phrase ‘..when YG artists would pick up a guitar..’. Now I’m usually not a fan of YG artists, their style and image is not my taste, but I have a thing for guitar-shout-along songs.

    So yes, I like this too. The chorus, anyway – the verses don’t stick with me. The transition from a doo-wop idea to mostly rock style was a small disappointment for me at first. I like a modernized 60’s doo-wop style a la Meghan Trainor. It’s catchy, it’s cute, it’s different from the current trends. Anyway, after a few listens that disappointment is already gone, and I now accept and love this song as it is. After all it is pretty good.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the style of this. The band-approach really gives it a more unique character indeed.

    I feel like it’s a comeback not meant to be taken seriously, like the song itself doesn’t sound like a big event, and that’s what I like about it.

    I wouldn’t mind if Pentagon totally ditches all the dark stuff they were doing and continue doing stuff like this.

    I’d rate it 8.5 production-wise, but I think I kinda enjoy this even more.

    Liked by 2 people

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