The final major comeback to occur on Monday was ASTRO’s After Midnight. This comeback follows ASTRO’s earlier 2021 comeback, ONE, and second studio album, All Yours. The new title track is featured on the group’s 8th mini-album since debut, titled Switch On.
After a string of mature and powerful title tracks, After Midnight takes a step back to ASTRO’s earlier roots of bright and fun pop songs. While it might not be as apparent, I actually prefer the darker and mature releases of many groups. And ASTRO is no exception to this preference. So naturally, I gravitate towards ASTRO in their more recent light. But I do like the occasion brightly energetic and fun track, which After Midnight definitely ticks the boxes for. I really like how After Midnight retains a bit of that matureness and isn’t as sugary as their more youthful and earlier works. It just doesn’t sound like a song released in the early years of one’s career! The funky instrumentation of After Midnight keeps on coming, never really stopping until the bridge to make way for a soft break. But Rocky manages to ramp up the song back to the song’s funky energy before the slow down with his rap sequence. Elsewhere, I liked Jinjin’s rap sequence following the first chorus, which continued the momentum of the first chorus into the second verse. I also like the final sequence of the song. It was definitely a concentrated form of what we heard throughout After Midnight and a well-done last ditch effort to really sell After Midnight (and it worked, as I was definitely thinking of the sequence after the song wrapped up). For the other members, their vocals helped add extra life to the song, and definitely made the hooks catchy. But I feel that these two elements could have gone further. I have two primary wishes for this song – the vocalists were a tad louder and the hooks were more dynamic. What we got was quite satisfying, catchy and works really well already. But I felt that the vocalists were masked by the chorus instrumentation just by a hair, and so I wished they were more appropriate balanced with the consistent instrumentation. For the hooks, I kind of wanted more dynamism and hefty hooks. I think both wishes would have made After Midnight even bolder. But overall, a great return to their earlier days, but also a great addition to their growing discography.
The song is all about wanting to spend time with their lover all night. While we don’t see that, we do see a similar concept between the members. Eunwoo starts off with a battery sign on his wrist which was low. But after spending time with the members, Moonbin’s battery was filled. This basically means that their time spent together throughout the night was enough to recharge their batteries. As for the rest of the music video, I really liked the the different places they shot at (not sure if they were sets or locations, but they looked really cool). I also liked the colours within the video. They don’t pop out or seem that bold. But they had this certain definition to it. And obvious, Summery usually equals colours.
As expected with the song being fun and upbeat, the choreography was equally as energetic and fun. I also really like the member’s facial expressions (all very happy and smile), which made up a lot of the atmosphere of the choreography.
Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10
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