Most of the time, a kpop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-side tracks deserve recognition, too. In the singles-oriented world of kpop, I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
So far, 2017 has been short on strong pop albums. But Astro have swept in to change that. Dream Part.01 is incredibly solid from start to finish, taking the group’s synth-sprinkled power pop and gorgeous balladry to the next level. When it comes to “buried treasure,” I could have easily featured a number of tracks. But You Smile, with its insistent beat and driving chorus, was the instant standout for me.
The song takes a moment to get going, as the first verse and pre-chorus gradually layer instrumental elements for a snowballing effect that builds interest before the chorus slams in. And what a chorus! It’s among the year’s best so far, euphoric and jubilant and gorgeously produced. I love how Astro never shy away from going completely melodic. It really sets them apart from many of their peers in the k-pop industry. You Smile‘s multi-part refrain feels like a long-lost pop classic making its return just when we need it most. And since most people focus on Eunwoo (and his visuals) when talking about the group, it needs to be said that they also possess an incredible main vocal in eldest member MJ. He really drives this track, supplying an effortless amount of power and charisma that gives the chorus the jolt it requires. The album’s title track Baby is a lot of fun too, but You Smile is the sound Astro pulls off best.