PENTAGON - Like This
PENTAGON have made their third comeback of 2017, this time releasing another mini-album with "Like This" as a title track. Member Hui, who made Wanna One's hit "Energetic" as well as "NEVER" for Produce 101, takes the composing reigns once more for this song. It's been just under three months since their last song, so suffice to say, I was surprised to see that they were already having a comeback.
"Like This" opens up with soft, mellow guitar chords and delicate piano notes that quickly add an airy feeling to the introduction of the song, especially behind the occasionally repeating echoing drum smacks. A shift in the guitar chords escorts the song to a gradual buildup alongside a fast-paced rap before the drums start to pick up in speed and volume to drive the song into its chorus. The refrain is deliberately slowed, bringing listeners back to the same pace as the start of the melody and instead using the varied verses as a means of providing simple deviation from a constant, similar sound.
While listening to "Like This" I was actually quite impressed with it. When I first heard the buildup, I thought I was about to hear another song that shifts from one style of song to a completely different one. These drastic shifts have been plaguing the K-pop scene for a while, so not having my expectations of that met was actually really cool. There was a very short bit after the first chorus that did this, however, and I did feel that it was unnecessary. In fact, if it were removed, I think that the song would flow just as smoothly if not even better. Of course, I do acknowledge that there was likely some pressure on Hui to craft a section for the rap members of PENTAGON to have some places, which is a larger discussion for another time. Aside from that single nitpick, I think this song is so well-done and executed to a degree of perfection that I didn't previously think PENTAGON had.
The video opens up with several odd shots that are difficult to really make heads or tails of at first. A rolling tire drifts around, some of the boys seem to be fighting with one another, and two are laying lifelessly on the ground right before a symbolic shot of a light fades out from a window. There's a shoe submerged in a tank of water, a grocery cart with a burning bush in it, and several scenes that are clearly played in reverse. Towards the end you can see the boys ripping off newspaper from windows to see outside world. Apples seem to play a very important piece of imagery in this music video, from being laid around the dead boys, to being shared between the members, and one even having "go my own way" written on it.
I think that the apples are supposed to be a symbol of one's self. Apples around the dead boys would be a visual metaphor of how a person might be dead but they are never truly gone. There's obviously the sharing of one's self in terms of friendship, and lastly having to do things for yourself instead of others. I think that parts of the video, like the shoe in water and one member pulling another out of a locker, are simply there to illustrate that people are always there, even if you feel like you're drowning or all alone.
I think that in general the video is about freeing one's self from the confines of expectations from the outside world, and learning to accept that you can't live to please everybody else. This is shown when the basket of apples is pushed over and they roll out of their confines. It's also shown when the boys reveal the light of the outside world after ripping off the newspapers, following with them all running together outside in that warm sun. I still can't put anything to the visualization of the grocery cart with burning brush, but I'm sure there's something.
Overall, there's a ton of visual things that one can interpret in a multitude of ways in this video. There's also a good amount of choreography shown off, in which some moves kind of reminded me of AOA's "Like A Cat" just danced in a more masculine manner. Although I didn't like the rap part musically, I think the visual of E'Dawn running forward while the other members crouch down is aesthetically cool, and adds a lot of personality to the dance. I think I enjoyed the music video a lot more after I started to analyze some of the smaller stuff, though I'm not convinced my theory is correct even in the slightest.
I think that this music is both musically and conceptually incredible. The lyrics are also great, if you haven't checked out translations, and all three of these aspects come together to create a coherent piece of art about the freedom you get from learning to accept yourself. I'm sure I probably over analyzed this music video, or I went in a completely incorrect direction in my interpretation, but that's what I gleamed. The song carries a very inspirational and powerful tone, and I think that the message is also there in the video. I haven't been too impressed with PENTAGON up until this song, but now I can't wait to check them out when they come back next time.