With many writing credits to his name, Pentagon’s Kino has always been a prime candidate for solo work. He finally takes the reigns on special single Pose, though the shadow of K-pop’s established soloists looms large. As with many before him, Kino seems to have gotten his degree from the School of Taemin, unveiling a slinky, groove-driven dance track.
This style tends to be a good fit for male soloists, allowing them to deliver a sexier sound without pushing too far out of the box. Pose is a fine example of this sub-genre, though I wish it felt more daring. Kino deserves a sound all his own, rather than a familiar cosplay (as beguiling as it may be). Pose melds languid synths with a slow-burn beat that keeps things dynamic. I was expecting to hear one of those overused anti-drop hooks during the chorus, but the track centers Kino’s vocals at its core, harnessing a very Charlie Puth-esque melody as the rhythm settles into its groove.
Kino switches phrasing throughout the track, moving effortlessly between a laidback croon and harder-edged, rap-infused verses. His confidence sells Pose, as lightweight as the song may be. I’m especially drawn to the moments toward the finale where his voice gains power and steers Pose toward grander ambitions. But ultimately, this is a rather safe, unassuming debut. It’s a pleasant listen, but doesn’t deliver anything we can’t get in many other corners of the K-pop universe. I’ll be eager to see where Kino takes his music next.