PENTAGON have had a great history of top notch albums. Some of my favourite PENTAGON songs are their b-sides so I’m super excited to dive into this album. While I don’t want to build up my expectations too high, I can’t deny that E’Dawn and Hui make some top-tiered songs.
ALBUM: Thumbs Up!
Thumbs Up! was released 10 September 2018 with title track “Naughty Boy”. As I mentioned above I’m crazy excited to hear this album and I feel like I haven’t heard a PENTAGON album in a long time when that is clearly not the case. Before continuing on this first listen I did briefly want to mention something.
I know E’Dawn wrote a lot on this album, which I will no doubt feel as I listen to it. I think the whole way the drama was handled is ridiculous and I’m so sad for E’Dawn and the rest of the members for how things have ended up. While I have been on the fence with his voice specifically, I cannot negate his role in the group and how he should be with his members. That’s all I wanted to say about that so let’s get into this first listen!
I’ve already heard their title track “Naughty Boy” – see (here) – but when I listen to it the second time I’m picking up how many things are in the background from the sound effects to the actual instrumental. The song is super catchy and theres almost a reggae undertone to it which I never noticed before.
Second track “Just Do It Yo!!” sounds very acoustic in the beginning. Its low-key and calming and randomly gives me a ‘campfire’ feel. I don’t know why so don’t ask. The chorus, however, has a slightly edgier tone to it with the light electric guitar and Jinho’s voice having a raspiness to it which is nice. The chorus also has some kind of anthem feel to it which I always appreciate.
Third track “Skateboard” would’ve made me fall over if I was standing right now. Honestly. I wasn’t expecting it to sound like it does and I’m loving every second of it. While the intro sounded more hiphop with some serious bass, the verses sound very summery yet percussive. I would almost put this song above “Naughty Boy” purely for the artistic liberties they take in comparison. Wooseok’s verse gives me life and I love how they continuously bring in different sounds and different genres for each new section. The high notes in the last 40secs are making me freak out. It’s definitely the best song so far.
With a title like “When It Rains In Night” I’m expecting it to be some kind of ballad and within the first note, I know I’m right. I don’t know if it’s going to be a vocal song or not but I don’t care either way. PENTAGON has one of the best vocal lines in K-Pop at the moment but they’ve also got a nice rap line so they’re winning with any route they decide to go in. After the first chorus, and the start of the first rap, I know it’s not a vocal line song which I’m actually thankful for. While I love a good vocal, I always like to hear rappers on a slow song like this because I think it shows their talents and emotions more. Without looking at any lyrics this song sounds sad which I’m all here for. Jinho and his high notes need to quit though. They’re too much for me.
Final track “Thumbs Up!” is a big change from the previous one. I was scared it was going to be more EDM than what I was expecting as I’m not an EDM fan. While it does have small hints of that genre, the song doesn’t fully fall under that umbrella. It’s probably my least favourite song off the album which is ok because I definitely don’t dislike it. For some reason it sounds like an OST to a TV show.
This album definitely isn’t my favourite they’ve ever done but “Skateboard” is one of my favourite songs from PENTAGON. The album has a clear direction and most songs fit well collectively. I also can’t help but wonder how the overall vibe would change with the inclusion of Yanan and E’Dawn. Overall, the albums okay but I hope they boys had fun making and performing the songs.
My rating: 7.5/10
What did you all think of Thumbs Up! and what were your favourite songs? Let me know down below or leave me a comment on Twitter!