PENTAGON – 'GENIE:US'
1. Sha La La
2. Lost Paradise (Hip Hop Unit)
3. Till... (Ballad Unit)
5. Spring Snow
6. Round 1 (Bonus Track)
After the smash success of 'Thumbs Up!', Pentagon's making a comeback with 'Genie:us.' Their newest has 6 songs, including the bonus track "Round 1," and the title track "Sha La La." This is the band's 8th EP.
Starting with some piping synths, "Sha La La" fronts the EP. This one starts with some serious suspense vocally and doesn't disappoint when you get to the chorus. This is an awesome bold club-banger. It's a good thing when an album starts out with a serious bop. "Lost Paradise" by the hip-hop unit starts largely like a pop tune, but Rapper Wooseok's husky voice just rips through the music and takes center stage. It's not like the instrumentation doesn't build the suspense, but the fierceness of the rapping really takes it to the next level. Before the first verse was over, I was hooked.
The ballad unit's "Till..." was less impressive to me, possibly because I hadn't come down from the sonic high of the previous track. So that was a bit jarring to me (probably because of the placement), and also they kind of fall into that Whitney Houston-inspired screaming to be heard over the music trap that annoys me so much. "Alien" wastes no time in showing all its colors. The vocals start almost immediately. It has a sort of tropical house beat, and it's fairly upbeat and cheerful. It's playful. What's interesting is that it shifts beats at about 1:20 for a rap segment. They do it well, and it shakes up what otherwise would have been a simple tune.
I expected "Spring Snow" to be a ballad, and boy was I wrong. It's a club banger, but a little rawer than usual, with jangly guitars. But the smooth vocals in the chorus are pretty awesome. It's a very happy song, with the singers confessing their love. Overall, quite enjoyable. And we have a bonus track as well, "Round 1." This song definitely falls into the playful category. The raps are almost funny and go right along with the nature of the song. Where else can you hear coughing during the raps? If you listen to it, there's a reason it's playful -- they're dissing each other in funny ways. But the way it's presented it's all in fun, and you can hear them laughing at the end. If you have to end an album, maybe do this.
Pentagon has come a long way since debut. Hui has positioned himself as a competent songwriter, and E'Dawn is sadly no longer with the band. That hasn't stopped them from producing an impressive body of work, getting better with each new release. And that is a good thing. Like genies, they give you a good helping of what you want. And like a genius, it's brilliant.
This is a video that was better than it had a right to be.
And I think the CGI saved it.
Like when the chorus comes in, there's an extremely goofy looking foil background. But when the CGI comes in, framing scenes or even changing the interior colors and textures, it really makes this MV pop.
And we see a lot of other kinda cool things. I'm a book nerd, so seeing the band members surrounded by books, that's actually a sweet deal. And popping your head out of a stack of shreddings made me laugh, too. And stacking tons of Windows-style windows on the screen was also a nice touch.
The choreo itself was...well...meh. We didn't see a lot of it, but what I saw didn't seem terribly compelling or challenging. It did the job and gave them all something to do during the chorus, which might be the best that can be said about it.
Still, I can't really fault the MV or the band. As I said, they dressed it up enough to make it kind of cool, and at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
MV SCORE: 8.3
ALBUM SCORE: 8.6