I end the working week with the review of the final Monday release. I did not expect to take five days to review all the releases from one day, but here we are. The final release is Just Breath, which is the debut single for ASTRO’s newest and second unit, JinJin & Rocky. It is featured on the unit’s first mini-album, Restore. This is ASTRO’s first release of the year, following 2021’s ONE and After Midnight. The unit also follows in the footsteps of the group’s first unit, Moonbin & Sanha, who debuted back in 2020 with Bad Idea, and MJ’s 2021 solo debut, Get Set Yo (which I have not reviewed yet).
Heading into Just Breath, I was expecting something edgy, and potentially hip-hop aligned or rap heavy at the very least. This expectation comes from the idea that they are ASTRO’s rappers. So, I was genuinely surprised when I started hearing old school funky pop music coming from the speakers when I checked out the release on Monday. Just Breath (which is a mildly annoying title, as it should be Just Breathe, just to be grammatically correct) is definitely loaded with exciting and fun energy. And it is the type of upbeat energy that keeps you on your feet whilst listen to the song. Everything from the percussion to the brass in the instrumental breaks were on point and an absolute blast to listen to. There were some moments within the song, like the marching sequence and a few of the exclamations, that I feel would be most effective to Korean speakers. As a non-Korean speaker, I don’t get them as much, but I didn’t mind them. Aside from the marching sequence, the exclamations added to energy of the song. As expected, Just Breath did consist of rapping from the pair. JinJin definitely had great momentum and kept the energy up throughout the song with his vibrant and energetic delivery. Rocky did participate in some rapping with a rap-speak delivery, but his main contribution to the song were vocals. I was thoroughly impressed with his showcases of vocals capabilities in Just Breath (and may have taken the honor as the standout member in Just Breath. Both brought great character and personality to their parts, making this another impressive release from the day. The chanty end to the song was also a nice way to cap off the song, giving off an inclusive vibe. Unfortunately, Just Breath does lack a solid melody, and I felt the autotune in the bridge to be a bit much (despite fitting in during that moment). But overall, Just Breath is a fun and energetic song with a few nice surprises.
Just like the song, the music video was very fun to watch and had some comedic moments that even I chuckled at. It appears like JinJin and Rocky are both bachelors and have their own struggles. But at the end of the day (well during the day, given how early they started drinking), they know how to really enjoy themselves and realize that it is best to be with others. They were pretty wild, and this made the video extremely enjoyable and captured the vibes of the song very well. Their acting (I am going to assume some of it was acting, though their natural personalities would definitely be at play in this video, as well) was superb. I liked how their energy was inclusive of everyone, and they even got the old lady at the food stand to have a bit of fun.
Their acting in the video is one thing, but the fun and party vibes they showed on stage is just pure confidence. That alone has really earned them a a lot of praise from me. From their expressions to the way they moved about on stage, everything felt free and fun. The best parts had to be the brassy sequences of the song, where the pair and dancers do their mini skips and jumps. It was definitely the peak moments in terms of energy. Rocky’s split was a surprise and him holding the soju bottle in the music video while dancing was also a memorable highlight.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10