It’s rare for new K-pop acts to garner so much attention, but Highlight has none of that to worry about with the release of their debut EP.
New only in name, the quintet has been around since 2009 as Beast but rebranded with a new identity after leaving their previous entertainment agency last year. Despite the title change, their debut single “Plz Don’t Be Sad” topped multiple Korean music charts since its release on Monday, sweeping away concerns that Highlight would suffer without the brand recognition of their old moniker.
“Plz Don’t Be Sad,” or “Don’t Frown” in Korean, is a lively synth-pop track co-written by songwriting duo Good Life — half of which is Highlight member Yong Junhyung. The lead track from the group’s first EP Can You Feel It?, the song’s bouncing rhythm and inspirational lyrics (“I hope only beautiful things will be before your eyes”) offer encouragement to the band’s audience, a fitting message for a group whose future was unclear only a few weeks prior.
The song’s cheerful feel translated into the accompanying music video, which showed the members playing around brightly colored sets wearing bathrobes while trying to turn frowning emojis into smiling ones.
“Plz Don’t Be Sad” is one of the act’s most festive songs in several years, recalling the upbeat style Highlight (as Beast) showed on singles like their 2012 party track “Beautiful Night” and 2015’s foray into EDM, “YeY.”
The motivational theme of “Plz Don’t Be Sad” was preceded by the melancholic reflection of “It’s Still Beautiful,” a ballad Highlight released a week prior to their Can You Feel It? EP. The song reflected on the good memories that came after a breakup, drawing comparisons between the end of a relationship and the group leaving former label Cube Entertainment upon the end of their contracts.
Highlight debuted as the six-member boy band Beast in 2009, and went on to release multiple iconic K-pop tracks over the years and appear on several Billboard charts. Former member Jang Hyunseung left the band in 2016, several months before Beast released Highlight, their final album under Cube and the inspiration for their new name. Highlight set up their own agency, Around Us Entertainment, last December and announced their rebirth as Highlight in February.
Watch Highlight’s debut performance of “Plz Don’t Be Sad” below: