ASTRO’s full length studio album from mid-May is the next album to be reviewed on the blog. Titled Drive To The Starry Road, the studio album is ASTRO’s third one since their debut back in 2016. It features the title track Candy Sugar Pop and ten additional side tracks. In those ten side tracks, six of them were solo tracks from each of the members. This album does feature all six members, but promotions only consisted of five members, with MJ sitting out due to his military enlistment prior to the comeback.
Like the last album review, there appears to be a common description between most of the songs on Drive To The Starry Road. And that particular word is ‘pleasant’. I tried my best not to repeat it over and over again in this review to avoid repetition, but I could have gotten away with using it alongside most of the songs on this ASTRO album. There are two standout tracks, in my opinion, on this album. More particularly, two solo tracks. Have a read below to see which solo track I had given a 10/10 to (and to find out which one of the two that I strongly recommend overall)!
1. Candy Sugar Pop (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for Candy Sugar Pop. (8/10)
2. Something Something – Something Something hovers somewhere between a pleasant pop track and a groovy number. I don’t think Something Something leans towards any side in particular, and was balanced enough to still be engaging. The vocals paired well with the pleasant pop side of the song, bringing the song’s nice melody to life. The rapping worked tandemly with the groovy side and it too brought forth a dynamic touch and kick to Something Something. (8/10)
3. More – More concentrates and intensifies those funky vibes from the previous song without going down the usual vibrant route. As a result, I feel that More comes off as quite refined and mature. Their vocals and rapping follows suit, going with a more serious tone which definitely meant business. A more memorable melody or hook would have taken More to the next level, but what we got was pretty good. (8/10)
4. Light The Sky (하늘빛) – ASTRO continues their pleasant run with another pleasant pop track. Light The Sky goes down a pop ballad route with a very delightful instrumentation that feels quite atmospheric and definitely makes you think of a clear sky – either during the day or at night where the stars are shining brightly. The vocal work was soothing and brought a smile to my face. The rapping was low-key but works well with the softness that is Light The Sky. Overall, a comforting number. (9/10)
5. Story – We enter solo track territory with the first one belonging to MJ, who unfortunately didn’t get to promote the album due to his military enlistment. It is definitely nice that we still got to hear from him on this album. Story is a ballad really brings out MJ’s raw vocals. He was definitely stunning. The instrumental starts off minimalistic with just guitar, which brought your attention straight to his vocals. The second verse featured a rapid build in instrumentation, bringing in classical and synths into the mix. It eventuates into a stunning and epic backing piece. (10/10)
6. All Day – JinJin follows with his solo track, All Day, a hip-hop track. It is such an upbeat number that brings the energy of the album right back up. I liked the vibrant nature of the song, as it isn’t a profile that we have yet to hear on the album since the title track. JinJin adds a dynamic front to the song with his cool rapping and anthem-like chorus. Unfortunately, All Day does lack memorable elements, which pulls the song towards skippable territory. It is decent, but I kind of wanted more. (7/10)
7. First Love – First Love continues the brightness that featured as part of the previous solo track. But Eunwoo’s solo track is much more mellow and lovely. Both the instrumentation and Eunwoo’s breathy vocals were incredibly soft and fragile, but not in a balladry sense. Instead, First Love felt lovable and touching. I did quite like that brief guitar solo in the bridge and the swayable melody that First Love brings. The latter brought a smile to my face. Overall, another decent solo track. (8/10)
8. Let’s Go Ride – Moonbin brings R&B to the album with his solo track, Let’s Go Ride. I honestly did not expect anything else from Moonbin, simply because his solo performances and fancams from their recent concert show him pushing a sensual and mature agenda. And well, Let’s Go Ride definitely brings those descriptions to fruition. From the instrumentation to even Moonbin’s vocals, everything just oozed sensual energy and charisma that I am all for. His smooth approach to the song’s bridge was on point. (8/10)
9. S#1 – Out of all the songs on the album, Rocky’s S#1 is my favourite. I remember being in awe with the song and Rocky when I first vetted the album for an album review. His vocals were amazingly passionate, expressive and emotive. That high note was spectacular. S#1’s pop rock ballad instrumental was also quite riveting. Digging into the song, S#1 tells a full story of when a love first began between a couple and the breakup point of said couple. It was an interesting piece as a result. If you want any recommendation from this album, Rocky’s S#1 is what I will be recommending to listeners. (10/10)
10. 24 Hours (24시간) – The final solo song on the album belongs to none other than the maknae of ASTRO, Sanha. I feel Sanha was slightly disadvantage, following on from the likes of Rocky’s song. But 24 Hours is still (yet again) pleasant and soothing piece. Sanha’s vocals were nice, while the toots in the instrumental (can’t tell what instrument it was) helped give 24 Hour a unique profile. Not as captivating like the other tracks on the album, but still a nice listen. (7/10)
11. Like Stars (밤하늘의 별처럼) – The six members of ASTRO regroup for the last song on the album, Like Stars. It was a nice ender to the album, and rounds out the entire album in a heartening manner. The synth pop of the song’s instrumental brought a nice upbeatness, with certain parts of the song diverting to an atmospheric feel as well. Both the vocal work and rapping were fine, with the latter also bringing a bit of intensity to the song. I did wish the melody was more memorable. But what we got works absolutely fine. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10