Watching PENTAGON Rise
It’s awards season, which is a fun time of the year when ARMYs and EXO-Ls fight each other to the death on social media over which group deserves more awards. While sitting here and observing the yearly bloodbath (other fandoms are guilty too—awards seem to bring out the worst in people) in my little corner, quietly waving my lightstick, I’m thinking about all the talented groups that don’t get the recognition they deserve because they are up against such behemoths as BTS and EXO. Of course, seniority is a factor as well, so the younger groups that have just gotten past the rookie stage seem to fade into the background. A few groups come to mind when I think of this kind of thing, but today I’d like to highlight Cube Entertainment’s latest boy group PENTAGON.
PENTAGON debuted last October, just a few days after fellow boy group SF9 debuted. At the time, I found the sound of both groups to be annoyingly similar, so I didn’t pay much attention to these rookies. Even after all the time I have spent in the K-Pop fandom, a gaggle of approximately 20 new boys on the scene was overwhelming for my feeble mind, and I couldn’t keep up. I know this is a fatal flaw for a lot of people, especially those that aren’t familiar with the larger group dynamics. But what a mistake that would’ve been if that kept me from checking PENTAGON out.
As is an immensely popular trend nowadays, the final members of PENTAGON were chosen through Mnet survival show Pentagon Maker. This formula is used to gather a pre-debut following, thus ensuring at least some success upon official debut. I’m a busy woman, and it’s quite difficult to keep up with every single one of these survival shows, so it’s no wonder PENTAGON slipped through the cracks.
PENTAGON members have been active long before official debut. Member E’Dawn took the place of BTOB’s Ilhoon on music shows in HyunA’s performances of “Roll Deep,” and it’s well known that he is particularly close with the older star. He and leader Hui even joined HyunA in a new co-ed group, Triple H, in between promotions with their group.
“Critical Beauty” was the turning point for me. Although I enjoyed their previous releases, it was “Critical Beauty” and the unique sound that got me digging deeper. I mean, a manly-man concept mixed with a circus aesthetic? When was the last time something like that was pulled off? I thought the use of unconventional visual aesthetics, at least for K-Pop, was a great way to garner attention. It certainly worked on me and got me to start paying attention to the boys and their talent.
Demo_01 and Demo_02 are the latest releases from the group, the title songs featuring a more traditional boy group pop sound. Though having only been on the scene for a little over a year, PENTAGON has continued to prove their musical versatility in an increasingly difficult market to break into, and they certainly deserve recognition for their hard work.