[Album Review] SWITCH ON (8th Mini Album) – ASTRO

In this weekend’s album review blitz, I am hoping to review a bunch (and by a bunch, I mean 8 albums) of albums that have been on my plate for a while. First up is ASTRO’s SWITCH ON, which dropped at the start of August (making this one of the more recent album releases to be reviewed this weekend). It features the titled track After Midnight, which also dropped on the same day. SWITCH ON and After Midnight follows the release of All Yours and ONE in April of this year.

SWITCH ON Album Cover

1. After Midnight (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for After Midnight. (8.5/10)

2. Footprint (발자국)Footprint is a favourite of my on this mini-album. It taps into the tropical house, but the members’ vocals incorporate a laidback tone into Footprint. I particularly liked the autotuned lines that as part of the chorus, given they were quite sleek and provided a refreshing element to the song. In the first verse, it served as more a pre-chorus with no instrumentation in the background. For the second, it was blended into the chorus with the use of instrumentation, giving the chorus added definition and refreshing colour. For the third chorus, its deliver was a mixed approached, acting like your typical launcher into the chorus but also forming the body of the chorus. This kept Footprint interesting and non-repetitive. (9/10)

3. Waterfall – If you were like me and found Footprint to be laidback, then Waterfall is even more so. The initial few seconds of Waterfall felt like the song was going to be a ballad. But after that surprise high note, Waterfall emerged as mid-tempo pop track, even though their vocals went into a balladry direction. This slight mismatch doesn’t deter me from enjoying the song, however. The harmonies and melodies were really nice, the instrumentation was beautiful and the members really put their vocals on full display. (8/10)

4. Sunset Sky (노을 그림) – Another nice sounding track. Like what the title suggests, I can definitely see myself listening to Sunset Sky while watching a sunset or whilst on a walk outside during a nice pleasant evening. I liked the acoustic side of the song, which (to me) gave the song a nice golden hue. The vocals complimented this and the rapping fitted in well, as well. The melodies within Sunset Sky were also quite warming. Altogether, I felt everything contributed towards Sunset Sky’s soothing and laidback atmosphere. (8/10)

5. MY ZONEMY ZONE returns the album to the EDM front, tapping into trap sub-genre. MY ZONE is another strong song from the group, especially after a number of laidback songs. I particularly enjoyed the chorus for this release. I liked the deep and breathy start to the chorus, and the energy that the chorus ended up developing into was quite fulfilling. While it was very electronic-based, there was a bit of a funkiness to it as well, which made it even more enjoyable. I also feel that MY ZONE really let the rappers of ASTRO (JinJin and Rocky) show off some flair and energy with their delivery. (9/10)

6. Don’t Worry – Ending the album is Don’t Worry. The start made it feel like it was going to be a dance track. But I was left wondering where that feeling went during the first verse, which felt rather plain for me. But as they started driving towards the chorus, you could hear the synths to kick back in. The chorus was just how I had expected it, with a strong hook and vivid instrumentation. The rest of the song continued the momentum of the first chorus, allowing Don’t Worry to be another strong release and ender for the group. I also liked how it had a tinge of reassuring emotion, which complimented the lyrics of Don’t Worry. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

SWITCH ON Teaser Image

[Review] After Midnight – ASTRO

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

[Album Review] All Yours (2nd Studio Album) – ASTRO

It has actually been three weeks since the last album review. But it has felt like an eternity. That might be due to the fact I have so many albums that I want to to really sit down and review. I just haven’t found the time to do so. But I am hoping to sit down over the next two days to smash out some and get them scheduled for the rest of the month. Good luck to me! For today, I have decided to review an album released over two months ago! That album is ASTRO’s second studio album, All Yours, which featured the title track ONE. The album was quite a success, going on to winning three awards from the Weekly Music Shows (MTV The Show, MBC Show Champion and MNET MCountDown). And it is long overdue for a review. So before I delay it anymore, let’s move forward with the review!

All Yours Album Cover

1. Dear My Universe All Yours starts off with Dear My Universe. It is a pop song that kicks ASTRO’s second album off with a pleasant tone. While many albums kick off the album with powerful energy and high intensity, ASTRO opts to ease us into their album instead. I like this tactic, as it holds no surprises for me. The pop instrumentation has this really chilled and soft approach, which makes it an easy listen. This lightness extends to their vocals and rapping, which compliment the instrumentation by not off-balancing the song in anyway. I really like the melodies and the track is quite enjoyable overall. (8.5/10)

2. Butterfly EffectButterfly Effect takes the pleasant pop tone of the previous song and amps up the energy with a more upbeat instrumentation. It really like the aesthetic that is present in Butterfly Effect. This aesthetic comes through the contrast between the verses and chorus. We have pretty nice vocals throughout the verses, before the song ramps up to the chorus. It is preceded by a simply spoken ‘Fly’ before the drop kicks in, adding a level of dynamism and depth to the song. I do like how the vocal and rapping both remained light, as like in the previous but at a level that felt appropriate for the upbeatness of Butterfly Effect. (9/10)

3. ONE (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for ONE. (8/10)

4. Someone Else (JinJin, Moonbin, MJ) – The first unit song features the three members listed in the bracket next to the song’s name. Someone Else adds a funky flair to the album, that fits in the album. When the song first started, I expected a hip-hop song for odd reason. But the track ended up tapping into the pop genre. I liked the combination of the soft jazzy style and the intensity brought on by Jin Jin’s rapping that makes up the two halves of the pre-chorus. The chorus also had a really catchy hook, thanks to the melodic repetition of the title. (7.5/10)

5. SNS (Eunwoo, Sanha, Rocky) – The second unit song is made up of the balance of the group (names also listed in the brackets next to the song’s title). SNS brings back the pleasant vibes from the start of the album, with a pop song that leans towards the R&B genre. It also has this mature but feel-good vibe to it, which is an interesting combination to put together. I feel that SNS could have used a superior hook, but instead focuses on melody and that mature profile to sell the song to us. But even without a strong and memorable hook, SNS still has its own charm, coming off as smooth and sleek track at the end of the day. (8/10)

6. All Good All Good is my pick for best song on the album! I really like the infectious positive energy that the song brings to both the album (and any playlist that you add it to). It also brings a smile to my face and I can’t help but really get into it when it appears on my album. The song’s central part, the chorus, was quite an addictive sequence of the song. I liked the blast of energy it had, along with the super catchy ‘It’s so good, It’s so good’ hook. I also like the layer of the ‘Gonna be alright’ over the top, which added a stunning complexity to the otherwise simple and feel-good track. (10/10)

7. All StarsAll Stars has the difficult task of following the likes of All Good. I think All Stars ended up feeling less energetic and a bit slower paced than the preceding song. However, it did a good job of continuing the positivity and feel-good vibes that are being channeled the album’s songs. There was a nice pleasant showcase of vocals and rapping from the members, and there was a decent hook in the song. I did enjoy the harmonization throughout the song, and the JinJin’s shouty ‘Everything is Okay, Every time is okay, Everyone is okay’ in the second half of the chorus. (7/10)

8. Our Spring (우리의 계절) – Next up on the album is Our Spring, It is the first song on the album that opts for a slower tempo. It is a really soothing song when you think of the vocals. But what I really enjoy is the punch of energy that the song delivery via the instrumentation. It isn’t your typical ballad instrumental as it incorporates electronic synths and drums. The rapping blends the two sides of the song together. You can feel a bit of emotion behind the rappers’ deliveries, but they also have the intensity that is fitting for the instrumentation. It is a good listen, and I highly recommend it. (9.5/10)

9. Stardust Stardust aligns to the ballad genre, more so than the previous song. This is mainly because of the instrumentation we get. It starts off with a piano as the main core, before slowly bringing in some orchestra influences. The orchestral touch is relatively soft when it does come and goes, but you can tell it is there. The vocals work extremely well against the instrumental. But I just really enjoyed the rapping in Stardust. It is gripping and well-articulated to be appropriate for a ballad. (8/10)

10. Gemini (별비) – The final song on the album is another ballad piece. And ASTRO manages to show themselves off alongside a really dynamic instrumental. It starts off in a similar fashion to the previous song with the piano. But when the orchestral influences come into play, it stays. Hence, I find this instrumental to be quite stunning, creating an amazing background for members. In the previous few songs, I have really been drawn to the rapping. But Gemini also shows off the groups’ delicate yet impressive vocal power, as well as the powerful rapping that fits so well into this ballad setup. (10/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

All Yours Teaser Image

[Review] ONE – ASTRO

ASTRO marks the beginning of a new week with their latest comeback, ONE, and their second studio album, All Yours. This is the first time we have seen ASTRO as a group with a new song since their Knock comeback last year. Since Knock, ASTRO launched their first official unit, Moonbin & Sanha, through the release of Bad Idea. The group also released a special single, We Still (Be With You), at the very end of 2020 but this was not promoted. But now the group is back in promotional mode for ONE, so let’s check out out their latest title track.

ONE is one of the songs that you need to listen to a few times before you could really dig it. My first impression of ONE was that it sounded very generic and typical of male groups releasing a song with an edgy sound. But the more I listen to it, the more I find myself diverting away from that first impression and coming to like the song. And within in a day of its release, I am enjoying ONE a lot. It still shares that typical edgy sound profile, but I find ASTRO to really infuse their own charms into the song. The song starts off with the song’s main hook. The backing instrumentals for this hook at this stage of the song isn’t as dynamic as when the hook reappears in the song, but it held out to be a good opener for the song. The first verse brought in their vocals. These vocals were best during the pre-chorus sequence with Eunwoo and MJ bringing in some atmospheric vibes that make me anticipate the chorus. The instrumental builds to the chorus, which its melodies felt like it could easily have slid into ‘back in the day’ KPOP. The song’s main hook returns with a more abrasive and texturally interesting backing. I quite liked this change in style. Firstly, it is definitely more dynamic. Secondly, it brings forth that edgy feel. Thirdly, the repetition of the hook makes it catches on quite easily. The song’s most surprising part is Rocky’s rapping that follows immediately right after the first chorus. Rocky’s really fast and sleek delivery of his part of the rap sequence will be going down as one of the most iconic moments in KPOP 2021. Fast forwarding towards the end, ONE peaks during the dance break just before the final chorus, going for the song’s most robust and heightened intensity sequence. Overall, I found a lot to like and look forward to in my many repeats of ONE. I do think it sits below some of their past title tracks, but ONE is still pretty much up there for ASTRO’s discography.

Aside from the choreography and closeup formula, there isn’t much going on in this video. I wished these was more to the video, such as cool special effects applied in post-production or even during production through lighting and camera work. There was some of each in the video, but not enough to really match the song’s dynamic and intense side. The closeups did capture the best of the group’s visuals and I liked the industrial vibes that the music video’s sets had going on. I just wished there was more to the video.

The choreography looks good, based on the snippets I saw in the music video. I am looking forward to seeing the full routine around the song’s hook. With the mixture of edgy and sensual outfits the members wore throughout the video, I think the choreography of the particular section could easily go either way. The dance break also looks really cool and dynamic, as well.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6.5/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10

[Special] 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Winners Announcement

Welcome to the announcement post of the winners for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. During the month of December in 2020, I opened up a survey for the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Over 1800 of you voted during the month of December, a number that I did not expect to see! I am sure that you all are excited and are awaiting to see which artist has clinched victory in each category. I have definitely made you wait long enough 🙂

Like the previous years, I will announce the winners using GIFs and images. I have also announced the runners up for each category as Honourable Mentions below the GIFs. In addition to that, I have included the KPOPREVIEWED Choice, which is my personal pick for each category.

Unlike previous years, however, all of the winners of the 2020 KPOPREVIEWED Awards (including the End of Year Charts and Best Song of 2020 Award) is included in this very one post! Towards the bottom of each post, you will see some page numbers. You can click on these page numbers to navigate to different award categories and the End of Year Charts. Here is a quick guide to the page numbers:

Page 1 – Artist Categories
Page 2 – Visual Categories, Performance Categories, Weekly KPOP Charts related Categories
Page 3 – Blog related Categories, Song Categories (excluding Best Song)
Page 4 – End of Year Charts & Best Song of 2020 Award

Artist Caregories

The following categories are all fan-voted categories for the artists that were active during the eligible period of December 2019 to November 2020.

Best New Male Group

Nominees:
BDC
CRAVITY
DRIPPIN’

Nominees:
MCND
TOO
TREASURE

Honourable Mention: TREASURE
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: TREASURE


Best New Female Group

Nominees:
aespa
BLACKSWAN
cignature

Nominees:
SECRET NUMBER
WEEEKLY
woo!ah!

Honourable Mention: WEEEKLY
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: WEEEKLY


Best New Male Soloist

Nominees:
Han Seung Woo (VICTON)
Kim Woo Seok (UP10TION)

Lee Eun Sang
Wonho
WOODZ

Honourable Mention: Wonho
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: WOODZ


Best New Female Soloist

Nominees:
Lee Suhyun (AKMU)
Moonbyul (Mamamoo)

Ryu Sujeong (Lovelyz)
Solar (Mamamoo)
YooA (Oh My Girl)

Honourable Mention: Lee Suhyun (AKMU)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: YooA (Oh My Girl)


Rising Star of 2020

Nominees:
EVERGLOW
Golden Child
ONEUS

Nominees:
ONF
The Boyz
VICTON

Honourable Mention: EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: The Boyz


Most Underrated Group of 2020

Nominees:
A.C.E
APRIL
ASTRO

Nominees:
Dream Catcher
ONEUS
VERIVERY

Honourable Mention: Dream Catcher
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: ONEUS


Best Vocals

Nominees:
AKMU
DAY6
IU

Nominees:
Lee Hi
Ong Seong Woo
Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention: Taeyeon (SNSD)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: DAY6


Best Rapper

Nominees:
Dami (Dream Catcher)
Han Ji Sung (Stray Kids)
Jessi

Nominees:
Jooheon (MONSTA X)
Moonbyul (Mamamoo)
Wooseok (Pentagon)

Honourable Mention: Han Jisung (Stray Kids)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Jooheon (MONSTA X)


Best Band

Nominees: CN BLUE, DAY6, IZ, N.Flying, ONEWE

Nominees:
CN BLUE
DAY6

IZ
N.Flying
ONEWE

Honourable Mention: CN BLUE
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: DAY6


Best CO-ED Group

Nominees:
AKMU
CHECKMATE
K-TRIGERS ZERO
KARD

Honourable Mention: AKMU
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: KARD


Best Subunit

Nominees:
BTOB 4U
End of Day
Moonbin & Sanha

Nominees:
NCT 127
Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi
WJSN CHOCOME

Honourable Mention: NCT 127
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: NCT 127


Best Male Soloist

Nominees: Baekhyun (EXO), Chen (EXO), Kang Daniel, Ong Seong Woo, Taemin (SHINee), Zico

Nominees:
Baekhyun (EXO)
Chen (EXO)
Kang Daniel

Nominees:
Ong Seong Woo
Taemin (SHINee)
Zico

Honourable Mention: Taemin (SHINee)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Kang Daniel


Best Female Soloist

Nominees:
Chungha
Hwasa (Mamamoo)
IU

Nominees:
Jeon Somi
Sunmi
Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention: Hwasa (Mamamoo)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: Chungha


Best Male Group

Nominees:
A.C.E
AB6IX
ASTRO
ATEEZ
BTS
Golden Child

GOT7
MONSTA X
NCT
NU’EST
ONEUS
ONF
Pentagon

SEVENTEEN
SF9
Stray Kids
The Boyz
TXT
VERIVERY
VICTON

Honourable Mention: BTS, Stray Kids
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: NCT, SEVENTEEN, Stray Kids


Best Female Group

Nominees:
APRIL
BLACKPINK
BVNDIT
Cherry Bullet
CLC
Dream Catcher

EVERGLOW
fromis_9
(G)I-DLE
GFriend
ITZY
IZ*ONE
LOONA

Lovelyz
Mamamoo
Oh My Girl
Red Velvet
TWICE
Weki Meki
WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Honourable Mention: BLACKPINK, EVERGLOW
KPOPREVIEWED Choice: ITZY, LOONA, Oh My Girl


Select the page numbers below (just above the comments section) to go to the award categories you want to see the most!
Page 1 – Artist Categories
Page 2 – Visual Categories, Performance Categories, Weekly KPOP Charts related Categories
Page 3 – Blog related Categories, Song Categories (excluding Best Song)
Page 4 – End of Year Charts & Best Song of 2020 Award

[Album Review] IN-OUT (1st Mini Album) – Moonbin & Sanha (ASTRO)

Another album review written over a month after its release. ASTRO’s Moonbin and Sanha formed this subunit mid-September through the release of their first mini-album, IN-OUT. Featured on this mini-album is the title track, Bad Idea, that the pair have wrapped up promotions for. The entire album, aside from the title track, is doused heavily with R&B. Whether I enjoyed this heavy dose of the R&B genre, continue reading to find out.

In-Out Album Cover

1. Eyez On You Eyez On You has two major letdowns that really drags the track down for me. The first letdown is the really generic R&B sound that the verses opt for. It bored me, nor did it excite me. The second element is the overwhelming ‘noise’ that forms the basis of Eyez On You’s chorus. It is very jarring and the multiple layers of instrumentals feels very obnoxious. Some might find it a charm, as I have said in the past with some song’s and their respective noise. But Eyez On You’s take on this felt too much and prevented me from liking the opening track. And these two elements overpower the pair’s vocals, leaving them forgotten. All of this is quite a pity, as the pre-chorus managed to successfully change the song’s gears and allude to something fun, upbeat and vibrant. (5/10)

2. Bad Idea (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Bad Idea. (9/10)

3. Alone (섬) Alone returns to that R&B genre that unsuccessfully opened the song. While Alone does take on more of that generic R&B sound, the song instantly sounds better and more refreshing. It is because Eyez On You really left an impression. Anything generic yet is executed well enough would be on many levels higher than the opening track. I did like that Alone had a bit of a spring in its instrumentation. The piano was also a nice consistent touch to the song. What really makes this song even more pleasant and palatable are the vocals, particularly Sanha’s. The way he sings ‘I am so lonely’ in the song was very memorable. The song’s melodies also gives off strong promise. (8/10)

4. All I Wanna Do – To me, All I Wanna Do is their best side track on the album. I really like the instrumentation when it came to the chorus. The bass add definition and dynamism to the strings. And the strings add prominence and a striking element to the chorus. The rest of the song goes down the R&B hold once again. For this song, this isn’t really a problem as the chorus compensates for that flaw. Once again, the song features the stunning nature of Moonbin and Sanha’s vocals. They sound very silky and sweet. I felt that both members were well utilized throughout All I Wanna Do and made the song more appealing. (9/10)

5. Dream CatcherDream Catcher is more of a ballad, though it encroaches into the R&B realm. The song is very calming and soothing, feeling almost like an acoustic-centric track. I say ‘almost’, as the main instrument is an electric guitar that is played softly. The rest of the instruments come in to help lift the song up ever so slightly without disrupting the soft acoustic-vibe of the electric guitar. Their vocals shine in Dream Catcher, adding to that soothing nature of the song. Their harmonies were well used to give the ballad some definition and feel more warming for fans. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8/10

Bad Idea / In-Out Teaser Image

[Review] Bad Idea – Moonbin & Sanha (ASTRO)

Yesterday, ASTRO launches their first duo unit with Moonbin and Sanha joining forces to bring us Bad Idea, which is featured on the pair’s first mini-album, IN-OUT. This comes after the entire group returned with Knock earlier this year.

It seems that funky is now the norm in KPOP. Bad Idea continues the ongoing trend of reemerging funky and groovy numbers in the industry, a trend that KPOP has definitely experienced in the past. Some of the best and widely known KPOP tracks over the years fall into this category! While Bad Idea does fit in with that particular crowd of songs (based on genre alone), it just needed a bit more to potentially be given that status. And that ‘bit more’ could have easily been a rap sequence. Sure, the addition of a rap sequence would have been cliche move. But I felt that Bad Idea was missing an element to give the song a kick and some additional intense energy. The entire song is vocally centric, which makes complete sense given the vocalist label that both Moonbin and Sanha carry whilst promoting with the rest of the ASTRO members. There isn’t anything wrong with that. I just believe it is missing that oomph to bring it to the next level. But aside from that, what we got was perfectly nailed. Both Moonbin and Sanha did amazing with the vocals, especially when we got to the falsetto pre-chorus. That pre-chorus was super sexy sounding, admittedly. The chorus was quite simple and catchy. The instrumental has a nice bass feel to it and the guitars work very hard to bring the funkiness to life. Maybe that ‘bit more’ could also have been delivered with a bit of a change up in the instrumentation, but it would have been most effective as a rap sequence (in my opinion).

The music video for Bad Idea is super interesting. The pair take on a dark sensual concept with their choreography and solo shots. That itself is something quite exciting, as it takes ASTRO’s previous concepts a step further. But that is embedded throughout a time-loop story line, where Sanha constantly dies after drinking a poisoned drink and wakes up right after. He becomes confused and lost. Moonbin isn’t the centre of this time-loop, so suspicion is on him almost immediately from the start. It is revealed towards the end that Moonbin indeed did poison Sanha, causing him to die. I think Sanha had shot Moonbin in the past, which might give Moonbin a motive. Though I am not sure why. That is just my take on the music video though and I am sure other theories have determined by Moonbin is killing Sanha and how Moonbin better fits into the story line (i.e. I didn’t understand meaning behind the fire and broken glass scenes).

The choreography looks quite good. I liked how they carried that dark sensual concept from the music video into the choreography. I really like the move that did when they repetitively sang ‘Bad’ during the chorus. Their chemistry was also note-worthy during their duo moments!

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

[Album Review] Gateway (7th Mini Album) – ASTRO

I ended up passing on an album review last Sunday as I was a little busy. So today’s album review was meant to be released on Sunday. And that album is ASTRO’s recent album release, Gateway. The featured track on this album Knock, which I rated quite highly at the time of its release. And even though it has been released 3 weeks ago, I can confirm that the high rating still stands. This album also serves as the return of Moonbin, who was noticeably absent from their previous comeback, Blue Flame. The group did release One & Only between the albums, which did feature Moonbin, but that was no album. Let’s see what album has to offer.

Gateway Album Cover

1. Knock (널 찾아가) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Knock. (10/10)

2. When You Call My Name (내 이름을 부를 때)When You Call My Name starts off with a playful tone and features a retro video game-like instrumental, which helps the song develop into a fun number. It reminds me of their earlier works before they adopted this mature sound that we have heard all of last year and through the title track, Knock. If you know me, I really liked textures in my songs. So, the choppy nature of the instrumental, particularly around the chorus was quite enjoyable. The brightness in this song gives it a nice fresh tone and quite upbeat. Their vocals were nice, with MJ’s voice being the most memorable of the group. They were used sparingly during the chorus, which was obviously to direct the attention to the instrumental as that was a centerpiece. But it did mean we didn’t much material from the group. So, I did want more out of the vocals, especially the rappers who were quite forgettable in this song. (8/10)

3. Somebody Like – In comparison to the preceding track, Someday Like is definitely very full. No major choppy instrumentals or sparingly used vocals in this track. Instead, the instrumental falls under the pop domain and feels quite suitable for a nice feel good day. I really like the guitar that is used throughout the song and the funky beat that the chorus features. It is quite energetic and refreshing in a pleasant way. And the group’s vocals bring a nice brightness to the song. I find Somebody Like to be quite catchy, as the hooks were quite memorable. Note how I said there was no ‘major’ choppy instruments at the start. At the very end of the bridge, we are treated to some choppiness in the song. It is quite minute in comparison to an entire song. But it managed to stand out in this song. Talking about the bridge, I thought JinJin’s rapping sequence layered over a trap sequence was another good stand out moment. In comparison to the other songs on the album, it doesn’t feel like the best and hence why the rating is a little less than the higher ranking songs on the album. (8.5/10)

4. We Still – Kicking We Still off is nice piano. This piano piece remains throughout the song, despite synths becoming much more dominant during the chorus. This is something that ASTRO has done before, so unfortunately it isn’t unique in any way. But what I liked about We Still is that it continues that very upbeat and bright feel that the album has been channeling throughout the song thus far. And this allows the song to come off as quite fresh. I find that both the vocals and rapping, despite that latter definitely being a lot more intense then the former, manages to bind the song together quite nice. I was very impressed with both elements and these made the song’s hook quite powerful and memorable. Apart from the title track, I reckon We Still is a strongest effort, even though it took the path of something that the group has done before. (9/10)

5. 12 Hours (12시간) – ASTRO tones it down a fair bit with 12 Hours. It is another pleasant pop R&B track, fitting in with the rest of the album, without the energetic buzz or exciting synths that drive the song forward. Instead, the song features a mellow and soft piano instrumental, accented with various guitars to give the song some small details. Their vocals are quite nice and soothing in this track. The rapping was a bit of a miss for me. I wanted to hear something a little more aligned with the song, but JinJin ended putting too much edge in his section. If Rocky and JinJin made their sections a little more mellow sounding, I think this would be a perfect combination. (7.5/10)

6. Lights On (빛이 돼줄게) – I liked how Lights On started off with. Very soft with the vocals and the ‘Tik Tac Toc’ being a nice accent to that section. JinJin then kicks up the song by bringing in his powerful delivery and rough tone to the song. Unlike in the previous song, it felt appropriate given what was brewing in the background (i.e. the synths that allowed the song to build to the chorus). The chorus of Lights On has the similar aesthetics as the title tracks on their special mini-album releases. If anything, this song’s instrumental is less intense. And the hooks were a lot more typical and boring (aside from that ‘Tik Tac Toc’ detail, which I was glad to hear in the second verse). But still feels the same, in a way. I do note that I feel like I have been a little more critical with the rapping on this album. But I think both Rocky and JinJin shined in Lights On. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

Gateway Teaser Image

[Review] Knock – ASTRO

Also kicking off the month of May is ASTRO, who makes their comeback with the title track, Knock, and the mini-album GATEWAY. This is ASTRO’s first comeback since the release of Blue Flame late last year and it is also the first official comeback which marks the return of Moonbin, who sat out of promotions for Blue Moon for health reasons. ASTRO, with Moonbin, did release a special single, One & Only, in March for their fourth anniversary. I am also very glad that ASTRO is coming back today as opposed to a week from now due to the intense competition due next week. It gives ASTRO an opportunity to shine, which will help them immensely in this crazy month ahead.

Knock may be the song that pushes the group further into the spotlight. I feel like All Night and Blue Flame did a fine job at putting the group into the spotlight, but it hasn’t been enough to make them the centre of attention based on the resultant reception that I got from my research. After all, the group is charting higher than ever with Knock. I put my finger on a number of aspects of the song that may be helping with this. The first has to be the song’s robust and very dynamic chorus. I like how the song’s main hook (i.e. the ‘Knock Knock Knock‘) felt like mini jabs throughout the chorus that really reeled you in and grabbed your attention. The second has to the be powerful rapping. Both JinJin and Rocky shined in the verses. But once the bridge came, I wanted more and they delivered with an extra powerful sequence. And as a cherry on the top, JinJin had a final section with was rapping overload for me (in a good way). The third has to be the vocals. MJ, Moonbin, Eunwoo and Sanha all sounded really clear and crisp. The powerful dance instrumentation was very loud and I was concerned that the members would be drowned in the midst of the music. The fourth has to be the instrumental, which I have just touched on. I liked how the chorus contrasted with the instrumentation in the verses, which was a lot more melodic and calmer. Put everything together and you get Knock.

The concept of the music video and comeback is dimension travelling, which isn’t a unfamiliar concept in the KPOP world. I am a little hesitant calling it time travelling, even though their image teasers hinted towards it, as I didn’t see much references to time. But what I think I find very unique about the music video is that they focus on the middle region of this travelling between different worlds, which is often not even shown in music videos related to time travelling or going in between worlds. It was stunning video and you could see how the multiple worlds was accessible in this realm or limbo that they are in. The visual effects for the spiraling staircases and the floating planets looked amazing. Even the members looked very attractive and captivating in this video.

The choreography left a very strong impression on me. In an interview published by Soompi, the group expressed how tiring the choreography. And what I saw in the music video looked really exhausting. But it was a very powerful routine that shows off the group’s dancing ability. Just watch look at each moment where they sing ‘Knock Knock Knock‘. There is no resting period in this choreography and it requires stamina. So props to the members for this powerful choreography, especially in the weeks to come.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.7/10

[Special] My Favourite Performances from the 2019 End Of Year Music Festivals

At the end of each year, the three major broadcasting companies in South Korea (SBS, KBS and MBC) organises and broadcast a very fruitful and dynamic music festival, bringing together the top KPOP acts of the year. 2019 is no exception and with a year as busy as 2019, it is often quite hard to get invited to these festivals. And with each show running for a couple of hours, different stages/performances/remixes of the year’s hits and one-of-a-kind collaborations, it is often hard to keep up with these festivals. Today, I have decided to organise a list of performances from each of these three festivals that I thought were excellent, different and worthwhile in checking out. I have done this before but over the years dropped it as I had very little time. Now that I have some time on my hand, I thought I return to this segment for the 2019 festivals.

SBS Gayo Daejun – 25th of December 2019

When we talk about the SBS Music Festival, we need to address the issue of safety. After all, it costed Red Velvet full group promotions for their Psycho comeback, due to injuries sustained by Wendy due to the unsafe nature of SBS stage. We did manage to get one full lineup of the group performing Psycho on stage as it was pre-recorded. because of that, I put Red Velvet’s Psycho performance on my list of favourite performances from that day. Other performers also had falls on the SBS stage, from what I remember reading. Other stages at stood out for me were:

  • Stray Kid’s Miroh – I did not know how Stray Kids could top Miroh’s intensity by rearranging the performance to be even more intense.
  • NCT Dream’s Boom & NCT 127’s Superhuman – Both tracks had a really cool dance addition to it. On top of that, we got to see the same ‘switching of jackets’ that Mark did at the 2018 SBS Music Festival between Dream and 127’s performance. Only this time, it was Haechan!
  • Oh My Girl’s Bungee (X-mas Version) – Always good to have a X-mas themed remix on Christmas Day. It made Bungee, an already vibrant and colourful track, more suitable for the season.
  • Mamamoo’s Gogobebe – The rock remix for this performance was superb.
  • Seventeen’s Home and Snapshoot – We got to see a warmer side of the group and the more joyful side, especially after all the darkness we got from HIT and Fear.
  • TWICE’s Medley of Tracks – I really liked the band element to their performance and how they tweaked the concept for Fancy and their more light hearted tracks. I just wished the band was DAY6 (where is DAY6 in all of these festivals), which would have made the performance even more worthy of a view.
  • BTS’s Dionysus – I have always been a fan of BTS’s darker side. This performance is a return this side, which I greatly appreciate.

KBS Gayo Daechukje – 27th December 2019

I personally did not have much interest in the KBS Music Festival as I thought the stage looked really bad and the camera work wasn’t the best. This wasn’t also the only problem that occurred that same night. APINK’s %% performance was cut short, disappointing fans, APINK and viewers in general. If I were to choose one standout stage, it would have Golden Child’s Wannabe stage. Their dance intro was very good and showed off intensity that was aligned with their new look/concept. And I really liked how smooth the transition between dance intro and actual song was. Only a few toehr performances caught my attention and they include:

  • Song Gain’s Introductory song – Song Gain, for those who don’t know is a trot singer that trended this year. For Song Gain’s performance, she managed to incorporate all artists into her song, which I think would be a challenge.
  • NU’EST Love Me – It wasn’t so much their choreography or song that caught my attention. But I thought the raised stages for the end really highlighted the good parts of their overall choreography, providing what could be said as an epic end to their stage.
  • ASTRO’s All Night + Blue Flame – I was waiting for ASTRO to do All Night in some capacity during these festivals. But with Moonbin out of action, it seems like the group would opt for the 5-member Blue Flame instead. So automatically, ASTRO’s stage for All Night alone would make this list. Blue Flame ended up being very epic as well, which is why their entire segment is on this list.
  • Oh Ha Young, Joy and Yerin Mr. Mr. collaboration – I haven’t heard this song for some time now and I really enjoyed this throwback. Also surprised that they covered the entire song, which usually isn’t the case.

MBC Gayo Daejejeon – 31st December 2019

MBC’s Music Festival is one to always watch. Their stages always have a look that shows that they have been planning for a while. The collaborations for this festival are always something to talk about. And why not watch it live as the year goes out! There is nothing like ending 2019 and start 2020 with KPOP! However, the MBC Music Festival was also plagued with an early termination issue. This time around the victim was Kim Jae Hwan, who only got to perform Nuna (he should have performed The Time I Need as well. For standout performance, I am putting down ASTRO and Oh My Girl’s creepy and jazzy cover of IU’s Red Shoes. It was different and colourful. Other stages to check out:

  • Stray Kid’s Side Effects – Another intense song that they managed to upgrade and make darker. The creative minds that put together these stages for Stray Kids are killing it (and need a pay rise instantly).
  • Seventeen & Mamamoo Collaboration – Two of my favourite groups have come together to form one dream team. And this was such an amazing stage.
  • Seventeen’s HIT – Mingyu shouldn’t be playing with fire. It is dangerous. But one epic opener to the stage. Also, somehow Seventeen managed to insert a dance break in the midst of the stage, which I think earns a mention at the very least.
  • Hyuna’s Flower Shower – Her choreography is essentially the same as the one she performed in the past. But the chorus instrumental is changed slightly, which I thought made the stage a lot cooler for the end of year festival.
  • Taemin’s Move & Famous – MBC’s Music Festival had a theme, The Chemistry. And you can’t have a theme about Chemistry without Taemin. While he didn’t do anything special to Move‘s stage, his dance alone is already 100% fitting for a ‘Chemistry’ themed music festival.
  • (G)i-DLE’s Lion – Another reason to why we need to look out for this girl group is their special stages. Lion is practically a game changer for the group.
  • Lovelyz’s Beautiful Day – I really like their ballad start to their stage and how they built it back up to the original song in an effortless manner.

[Album Review] Blue Flame (6th Mini Album) – ASTRO

ASTRO is nominated for Best Male Group and Best Male Choreography. Click here to support ASTRO and your other favourite artists.

The next album to be reviewed as part of the ‘album review blitz’ is ASTRO’s Blue Flame. The album also features the title track of the same name (and the link to the review can be found tomorrow). I found the title to be intriguing and thought I give the album a listen. And I know how cheesy this sounds, but I am glad I gave it a listen as there are a few extra good tracks on here. Overall, I found the album to be promising release for the group and you can find out why below.

Blue Flame Album Cover

1. Blue Flame Click here to read the full review for Blue Flame. (8.5/10)

2. Go & StopGo & Stop is a memorable song thanks to a few elements. The hooks in this song are quite strong and catchy, such as ‘Go & Stop’ in the chorus (sung by MJ) and ‘Bye Bye Bye, You’re My Lie Lie Liar’ towards the end of the song. The instrumental was also enjoyable, with the synthetic flute-like sounds and the rhythmic drive that the guitar and percussion brought throughout the rest of the song. There is a subtle Latin flair in the instrumentation. And whilst it is an overwhelming and overused genre in KPOP, I found the subtle nature to be somewhat refreshing than the usual use of Latin influences. Their vocal work and rapping were also awesome, aiding in the song becoming quite enjoyable. (8/10)

3. All About You (다야) – Another catchy and upbeat pop number. The ‘Daya ya ya ya’ (the Korean title of the track) is addictive and added a fun element. The pop instrumental had a bright and energetic feel, continued this fun vibe, which automatically felt like a throwback to some of their earlier releases. This one just feels a lot more mature sounding for the group. Unfortunately, there is a typical side of the track that does seem to weave its way to the forefront on the song. Despite it being catchy, there wasn’t anything special with the instrumentation. The vocal work and rapping were easily forgotten (despite the catchy chorus).  (7/10)

4. When The Wind Blows (찬바람 불 때면) – When I look at the title of this song, it really yells out ‘ballad’. But instead of a ballad, we get more of a dance track. I like When The Wind Blows, as it toned down in a fashionable manner during the verses. But it picks up instantly during and after the rap sequences, giving the song an influx of energy to really make it standout. Sure, there might not be a special element when it comes to the instrumentation. But I found that the vocals and rapping gave the song some edge, helping it stand out some more. (9/10)

5. You’re My WorldYou’re My World is another great track. One thing that I really found interesting in this track is how the vocals pulsed during the pre-chorus and chorus. I thought this was a very nice and unique effect to give the song. I also really liked the rapping sequence in this track. Jin Jin emphasis certain words by shouting them out in the background. Rocky had very smooth delivery and flowy lines. Other than the pulsing effect, all the vocalists helped give the song a nice melodic touch which helped make the song a pleasant number to end of the album with. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

Blue Flame Teaser Image

[Review] Blue Flame – ASTRO

The next major comeback of the week is by ASTRO, who returned today with Blue Flame, the title of both the song and their 6th mini-album. This is ASTRO’s first comeback since their January comeback, All Night. For this comeback, Moonbin will not be participating in the promotions as he is currently taking a break due to health problems. Hope he gets well quickly so that we can see him on stage soon! But it isn’t all bad news for fans, as we still get to hear him in the album and see him in the music video.

Blue Flame starts off with a reggae-like beat, which I thought was rather interesting. It gave the song a nice infusion of energy that we usually don’t get during the season of Autumn in Korea. But as a person who loves high energy and upbeat comebacks, I am not complaining. We lose the reggae influence during the chorus (though I am quite sure it is lying underneath the erratic and extremely loaded chorus instrumentation). But we get an extra kick in the energy department, which ends up tying the verses and chorus together quite nicely. I think both vocals and rapping are both strong aspects of this song. Everyone had a moment to shine in this comeback. I did want something a little more melodic, which is what we got in their All Night release. I think that could have smoothed out the song a little bit and made it even more interesting. But Blue Flame is a pretty good track, showcasing ASTRO once again in very strong limelight.

Visually, this is another strong music video from the group. This applies to both the members and the imagery found in the video. The sets are rather elaborate and complex, which makes the music video intriguing. Not exactly sure what the storyline is in this video. But there are books burning, wolf sightings and floating mirrors, which I am sure would mean something. I also find it surprising that the video isn’t overwhelmingly blue. Instead, it is rather mute and toned down, which I think works really well.

I thought this was a good routine for the performance. I imagine that they had to do a quick reshuffle with the announcement of Moonbin’s break only occurring last week. But watching the formations, you can tell the remaining members did an extremely good job of covering for Moonbin’s absence. The chorus was quite powerful, matching with the high energy we got from the chorus. I also liked Rocky’s solo moment with the female dancer and MJ’s section just before the final chorus.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Review] Blooming Future – ASTRO

It is Saturday, which per the post schedule means a Japanese review is coming your way. I was originally going to do another release from a few weeks back. But ASTRO dropped their Japanese debut, Blooming Future, just this week (It did feel a little out of the blue as I did not see any news or teasers beforehand). And to avoid any delay, I decided to write the review for it today! Blooming Future is featured on the group’s first Japanese mini-album, Venus, alongside the Japanese version of Baby, All Night and Always You.

Blooming Future (or Hanasake Mirai) is a pretty decent beginning for their Japanese career. I felt like the direction they were going for was really good, with it fitting both ASTRO’s youthful charm and the typical upbeatness we tend to hear from Japanese releases. However, listening to the song, I felt like it lacked definition. The song felt very consistent throughout and didn’t seem to depart the synth sound that they were aiming for. I feel like if there were some bass or background vocals during the chorus, for example, the song would have had that added definition to really make it sound better. Apart from that, the song was pretty good. I liked the vocals and the funkiness that the Rocky and JinJIn brought to the song through their raps. The instrumental was actually quite good., apart from what I mentioned above. I did like the lightness during the verses. But like I said, the chorus could have had more to it.

I guess to fit in with the lightness of the track is a very minimalistic vibe to the music video. There wasn’t a whole lot going on during the music video, especially when we talk about the sets. And this allows the individual members to really pop out. The video consisted of solo and choreography shots. I did feel the editing could have eased on the number of cuts throughout the video (i.e. when the scenes change to the next one). They felt very sudden and cut the flow of the music video, especially in the chorus, which prevented me from admiring the members (hahaha…).

From what I can see in the music video, the choreography looks decent. But due to the magnitude of cuts (mentioned above), it was really hard to really focus on anything. Unfortunately, we don’t have a live performance of it yet, so I guess I will have to rank according to what I saw in the video.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Album Review] Dream Part 01. (4th Mini Album) – ASTRO

Today’s ‘Past Album’ Review is ASTRO’s 2017 comeback, Baby and Dream Part 01 mini-album. This review was actually intended to be released earlier in the year. But since ASTRO returned with All Night and their All Light studio album, I decided to postpone it to avoid any clashes between the two albums (I am worried that it might cause confusion for some fans to why I reviewed a previous album and not their latest one). But fast forward 2 months, I think it is time to release this album review to read! So let’s get going!

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Dream Part 01 Album Cover

1..Dreams Come TrueDreams Come True begins with a quirky bubble sound in an 8-bit format, which really starts off the album on a unique touch. It progresses into a standard pop dance track for the chorus which I think was nice, but I am a little disappointed that it lost some of that uniqueness. I did like the violins in the background, which I thought was a nice small detail to add to the song. The vocals were nice, especially with that falsetto high note towards the end. The overlapping with the rapping did make the ending a tad messy for my liking but it was still a good ending overall. (8/10)

2. Baby (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Baby. (8/10)

3. You Smile (니가 웃잖아)You Smile has that Summertime band instrumental feel but ASTRO manages to transform it into a dance track. Come to the think of it, this reminds of their previous comeback at the time of release (Breathless). It is slightly different with the chorus sung individually and the track isn’t overly pop. I enjoyed the vocals in the song. But I think I liked the rapping more, as it felt more suited. The deep voices of the rappers go really well with the fresh feel of the song, hence why they stood for me. (8/10)

4. Because It’s You (너라서)Because It’s You is a ballad that thanks their lover for being there for them and the joy for being by their side. It is a really nice ballad at the start that gradually builds up to a very melodic chorus. It showcases their vocals in a light that I personally have not really seen too much from ASTRO, especially in their earlier days. I would love to hear the rappers sing in the song alongside the rest of the members, especially since they only got a very small portion of the song. I felt like that could have really been nice as it could have doubled up as a song for fans, given the message of the song. (8.5/10)

5. Dream Night Dream Night takes on an upbeat pop instrumental. I did enjoy the energy and bright atmosphere they had within the song. I also thought that the song did well with their vocals. It just didn’t have that excitement to really make it… well… pop. It is another one of those songs that have an instrumental that felt too typical and consistent over the entire length of the track. Furthermore, I wanted a little more to the raps. They could have been more interesting and defined to really stand out. (6.5/10)

6. I’ll Be ThereI’ll Be There is another ballad-like song. But instead of relying on a beautiful melody like in Because It’s You (see track 4), the song relies more on their youthful side. It seems light-hearted and more carefree. Once again, the vocals are on full show but not to the extent as the previously mentioned ballad. The rapping seems to be more reminiscent of their title tracks hence why I can’t really describe the song as ‘beautiful’. I would have liked a more memorable instrumental and less abrupt ending. Personally, the song in passing would be overlooked as it was forgettable for the most part. (7/10)

7. Lie (다 거짓말) – We have another ballad-like track and this one features a very nice orchestral-like instrumental, which really makes the track feel so much more heartbreaking. Lie seems to hint at a broken relationship caused by the lies of their lover. A lot of the lyrics seems to show the members alone due to their lover not being there anymore and that they have to lie as a result to keep up the impression that they are okay (That’s my personal take on the lyrics. The translations that I found don’t really make sense). I thought the song was also a nice presentation of vocals and I really liked how they integrated the rapping into the sad song. (9/10)

8. Every Minute – The album ends with Every Minute, which is a return to their bright and youthful style that ASTRO presented for this comeback. The song features a slight retro and funk touch within its electro-pop instrumental. As a result, it felt like a fun song. I liked their change up for the bridge and the rebound-like transition between this part. I do have to admit the ‘Every Minute’ repetition feels like it would get really annoying with repeated listens but for the time being, it is keyed into my mind as a good hook. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

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Dream Part 01 Teaser Image

[Album Review] All Light (1st Studio Album) – ASTRO

With their growing fanbase, I spent the last year awaiting a comeback from the one and only ASTRO. But we were left with a special album that was barely promoted in 2018, which was a disappointment (not at the album but rather their lack of promotions). But now, the male group from Fanatigo returned last week with All Light, breaking their promotional drought. It features 10 tracks in total, one of them being the title track All Night, which I have enjoyed since its release. Today, we have a little closer look at the group’s album release.

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All Light Album Cover

1..Starry SkyStarry Sky is an R&B dance track that starts the album off on a bold note. And by that, I mean the song is very defined and robust. I like the thumping instrumental and the small details within the instrumental, which really gives off the effect of a beautiful night sky. The vocals were really good. The rapping was also quite good but it felt ordinary. I felt like the song could have benefited from a rougher or stronger rap sequence, showing off the rappers even more. (8/10)

2. All Night (전화해) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of All Night. (10/10)

3. Moonwalk – The deep pounding in the instrumental continues in Moonwalk. And this is one of the biggest attractions of the song. There is something about that really pulls me into the song. I thought the choppy nature at the start of the song, the use of autotune throughout the song, the pounding instrumental and their vocals/raps really create an aesthetically pleasing track. Overall, it left a very strong impression on me and it is a track (other than the title track) that I would personally recommend. (10/10)

4. TreasureTreasure continues the electronic touch to the album thus far with a nice dance track that has influences in tropical house. It isn’t as strong as other songs in the same sphere, which I think is quite nice. I liked the small details scattered throughout the track such as the whistles and the layering of vocals and raps. I think the track could have benefited from a better hook, as this would have made the track more memorable. But other than that, it is another good track. (9/10)

5. Roleplay – Taking a break from the electronic nature of the album this far, Roleplay is an acoustic R&B track that really stands out. It is a style that sounds extremely mature for the group and I personally would like to hear more of this. I like the chill nature of the instrumental, fitting neatly into an urban setting. The vocals were quite nice. Interestingly the song contains no raps, which I think was unfortunate because a rap sequence could have done wonders to this song, if it was executed right. (9/10)

6. 1 in a Million – This song is probably an example of what many people would think boy groups do. It is bright, youthful and very energetic in nature. The electronic instrumental returns once again, this time it has pop-infused into it. I don’t mind this song, but it does feel rather generic, like it is a go-to style of song. I thought the rapping was nicely done in this track and the vocals were amazing, like everywhere else on the album. The chorus was catchy, so what more could you ask for! (8/10)

7. Love Wheel – Once again, we depart the EDM direction with a sweet pop track. Sure, the song fits ASTRO’s profile perfectly. The track has a very consistent instrumental but it doesn’t feel repetitive as each section (apart from the chorus) sounds slightly different but remaining tight together. The vocals were nailed, and the rapping was perfectly fitting for the song. It is one of the songs where despite you not being able to understand the meaning of the lyrics, you are able to smile along. (8/10)

8. Heart Brew Love – Another great pop song on the album. I can’t really find much to say about the song besides repeating a lot of the things I have said thus far on this album review. I must commend the rappers for doing a really good job of really ensuring the song doesn’t become too repetitive. Vocals were nice. I think the song could have had a stronger hook but I am happy with what we can hear based on the instrumental of Heart Brew Love. (8/10)

9. Merry-Go-Round – I really like the cheerful nature of the track. And this cheerful nature is quite infectious, given the major repetition of the song’s title as the main hook of the song. It is another song that fits ASTRO’s profile perfectly. Harmonies at the end of the song were nice. I think the verses could have been a lot more memorable, but I am not sure how. But that is me nit-picking at the smallest details. (8/10)

10. Bloom (피어나) – We come to the end of the album and we have yet to hear a ballad. Well, Bloom ends the album with just that genre. The instrumentation to this track is quite beautiful and somewhat dramatic. The vocals were really nice. Started off quite husky but soon built up alongside the instrumental. The rapping is a different story, however. It felt too heavy for a ballad of this nature. Rocky’s rap speak section just didn’t really click with the song. But apart from the rapping, everything was quite good. (7.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

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All Light Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] All Night – ASTRO

It has been a very long wait for fans of ASTRO but the male group is finally back with their first studio album and the title track, All Night. We last saw the group officially promote a music release at the end of 2017 with Crazy Sexy Love. 2018 was incredibly bare for ASTRO, with a lack of group promotions throughout the year to further grow their fanbase. Instead, we got solo promotions, concerts and a special album (Always You) that was not promoted. The good news is that they are back and this lack of promotions will finally end today!

I am calling All Night ASTRO’s best title track so far. The song starts off quite minimalistic, with a really soft instrumental and the vocalists singing. In words, it doesn’t really sound all too good. But when you hear it, the start of the track is a nice bundle of pleasantness and freshness. For the chorus, the drop was completing unexpecting and the dance electronic sound just comes out of nowhere. And I really liked that because it makes the track become very dynamic and contrasting nicely from the pleasantness preceding it. The rapping is amazing. I really like both Rocky and JinJin’s delivery. I also like how JinJin’s section had a little bit of fun with the brief pauses, creating some texture in the song. The highlight of the song has to be Eunwoo’s ‘Such a Good Night‘, which also came out of nowhere. My description of the song probably doesn’t do it much justice so do check out All Night so you can experience what I did.

The video I thought was rather cool. Minus the delay in release due to ‘technical issues’ (whatever they may be), I thought it was a good video to show off their charms. ASTRO is working in a greenhouse and from the start, it seemed a little eerie. This feeling continues throughout the video and I was lowkey expecting something dark to happen. The closest was that vampire-like scene between Eunwoo and Rocky. It could all be in my head but I very interested to see if anyone else felt this as well. What the video does perfectly is show off the visuals off each member. Towards the end, we see each member smile, showcasing their charming looks. That left an impression on me that is so great, I am down to continually replay the music video.

And once again, ASTRO showcases freshness in their routine for All Night. I really like how they spent a large portion of the performance on the floor. That doesn’t happen all too often. I also like how they kept their moves in check with whether the sound was pleasant or explosive. The best part has to be that awesome explosive dance break at the end, which ends the performance on a solid note.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.7/10