[Album Review] Restore (1st Mini Album) – JinJin & Rocky (ASTRO)

The next album review covered this weekend is Restore, the debut mini-album for ASTRO’s newest subunit, JinJin & Rocky. Restore, which is another album that dropped in January, features the title track Just Breath and four side tracks, three of which are solo tracks from the two members (one for JinJin and two for Rocky). The remaining side track is another single from the pair.

Compared to the other subunit under ASTRO (i.e. Moonbin & Sanha, who also recently came back), JinJin & Rocky have a very different and unique vibe that is more fun and bright. It comes as no surprise, given their witty and funny personalities and a title track that is as fun and outrageous. Let me know if you agree with my thoughts below and the summary of the album I just gave!

Restore Album Cover

1. Just Breath (숨 좀 쉬자) (Title Track)Click here for the full review for Just Breath. (9/10)

2. Lazy (ft. Choi Yoojung (Weki Meki))Lazy is JinJin’s solo songs on this mini-album, and it features Weki Meki member Yoojung. Lazy is a fairly simple song, consisting of a consistent piano and hip-hop based instrumental that comes off as lighthearted and fun. This lightheartedness and fun vibe is important in Lazy, offsetting the repetitive nature of the song. JinJin’s rapping is a bit heavy with the autotune, but is balanced out with Yoojung’s higher pitch vocals. Overall, a fair effort. (7/10)

3. Lock DownLock Down is my pick for best side track on this album. It is extremely dynamic, thanks to the bass and funky rock guitar that is present in the song. It almost felt like a stomping effect – quite effective in grabbing one’s attention. Both JinJin and Rocky showcased power in this song in their own way. JinJin obviously did it with rapping, while Rocky showed power through his vocals. I liked how both peaked at the end of the song, giving the song a strong ending that was unforgettable! (10/10)

4. Complete Me – Rocky’s first solo song comes in the form of Complete Me. Complete Me is quite a textured hip-hop dance song, with textures coming from both the instrumentation and vocals. It might be overwhelming for some (it did at first for me!), but repeat listens have helped lessen it. Now, I find Complete Me to be quite robust. Since Complete Me is a dance track and the textures gives it interesting potential, the song probably lends well as a performance piece, which is something that is definitely up Rocky’s wheelhouse. (8/10)

5. CPRCPR is the second solo song from Rocky, and it also closes out the mini-album. It is a pop ballad that explores more of Rocky’s vocals. I liked the energy, passion and power Rocky puts behind his vocals for this song. I was thoroughly impressed with him in CPR, especially when it came to the ad-libs and high notes that we got. I want to hear more of Rocky like this in ASTRO’s work, as he has proven himself to be a capable vocalist. I also enjoyed the 90s instrumentation that CPR had in the background. Not spectacular, but definitely nice. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

[Review] Just Breath – JinJin & Rocky (ASTRO)

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