ASTRO kick started the week yesterday with their third studio-length album, Drive to the Starry Road, which is lead by the single Candy Sugar Pop. This is ASTRO’s first comeback in nine months, following After Midnight and Switch On from last year. Since that last comeback, a lot has happened with the group including the solo debut of MJ (who also enlisted into the military at the start of the month and hence will not be part of promotions of this new release), the debut of the JinJin & Rocky subunit and the return of the Moonbin & Sanha subunit.
Candy Sugar Pop is an upbeat and energetic dance track that dips into pop through a mix of old school funk and disco influences. I like how the song maintains its energy throughout from start to end, never really slowing down. The mixture of synths were bright and surprisingly sweet sounding, which makes perfect sense, given that the song is titled titled Candy Sugar Pop. And this also makes Candy Sugar Pop extremely satisfying to listen to. I did think there was some room for improvement, in that Candy Sugar Pop could have been more dynamic with some extra oomph or bass to take it to the next level. However, that doesn’t mean this song was not dynamic. I felt that the dynamic nature of the song comes through via the rapping, particularly during the pre-choruses. I really like the alternating lines between Rocky and JinJin, just as it cuts the smoothness that the vocals brings to the song. It adds texture and I felt they added punches to the song that helped heightened it. As for the vocals, I really like how the vocalists sound, simply because they complement the song’s instrumentation and adds sweetness to Candy Sugar Pop. However, I do think the hooks and melodies in Candy Sugar Pop could have been more memorable, even though the Candy Sugar Pop repetition is slowly growing on me. The song’s best part comes at the end, where we get a mix of abrasive (but fun) retro synths and tidbits of rapping and vocals that we heard earlier in the song to end off Candy Sugar Pop. It felt just right and incorporated the best bits of the song, in my opinion. Overall, Candy Sugar Pop was fun and a great single to add to ASTRO’s portfolio.
Not exactly sure what the concept for this music video is. But I like the idea of the candy, sugar and pop taking the members to a whole new world that is more colourful, fun and probably also a bit crazy (based on the candy themed Rainbow Road scenes). It make sense, given that the members singing about that but likening the candy, sugar and pop to their lover. I did wish the dance sets were a bit more lively, just because they seemed dull and empty. I wish they had more of that colour, fun and craziness I just mentioned. The members themselves look great, with strong visuals from all members!
Rocky pulling those high notes was definitely impressive. The choreography was good and decent, and encompasses how I described the song (energetic and upbeat). But unfortunately, I didn’t see anything stand out.
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10