Review

Song Review: Astro – Always You

Astro have been put through the wringer these past few months, as their agency Fantagio came dangerously close to collapsing. This pushed a planned June comeback to July, restricting the group’s ability to promote their title track on music shows. It’s been nearly nine months since their last comeback, but they’re back with a song unlike anything they’ve released before.

When I imagine an Astro summer single, a brooding mid-tempo is certainly not what I want. Given this, Always You (너잖아) had an uphill battle from the start. Its Chainsmokers-esque EDM drop feels behind the trend, and the track is missing the bright pop energy that characterizes Astro’s most addictive releases. Yet, the song works thanks to a strong injection of melody and the group’s standout vocal performance.

Co-composed by veteran producers Duble Sidekick, Always You feels like Astro’s answer to Seventeen’s Don’t Wanna Cry. Like that song, it straddles the line between understated ballad and driving performance piece. The first verse’s gradual climb feels surprisingly dark for Astro, as the members deliver a restrained melody over minimalist production built on moody guitar and tentative percussion. The polished vocals carry this segment, which otherwise feels as if it could have been lifted from any emotive boy group track of the past few years. Always You’s EDM-fueled chorus is even more derivative, but it’s twisted in just the right ways to make it a surprise highlight. The performance here is stellar, and I love the hook’s choppy structure. It pulses with a push and pull energy that gives its angular melody added drama. The processed vocal that opens each chorus is a wonderfully ethereal touch, bringing layered texture that plays perfectly against the jagged instrumental. This may not have been what I hoped for from an Astro comeback, but it opens some fascinating new doors within their already-assured sound.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

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8 thoughts on “Song Review: Astro – Always You

  1. This is, to me, July’s most pleasant surprise! I was admittedly apprehensive when I listened to the highlight medley for the album. Astro is the only group that’s pulled off their trademark bright, not quite bubblegum pop so well, and I’ll forever be mourning the loss of that style as their sound continues to mature; however, Always You makes me realize I shouldn’t have worried. It gave me multiple scares on the first listen (the dark atmosphere itself and the chorus that sounded like it would be empty as it began, to name a couple) but they pull it off incredibly well with a mix of production and pure vocal power. One of Astro’s strong suits is producing a solid ballad track (I personally think that they’re the best group in terms of ballads due to both vocals and the heavy emotion that you can hear so clearly in every ballad they perform), and you can hear those same influences in this track. It seems like it should sound interchangeable, but something about it boosts it from “typical angsty ballad” to “(another) Astro showstopper”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems Astro are almost 3 months late for this kind of title track. The synth drop sounds *exactly* like VIXX’s Scentist, with the rest of the song being similar to any Wanna One’s 2018 anonymous productions.
    I guess Call Out is a much better “hidden treasure” inside the ep.

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  3. I’ll have to agree with Antonio, I think Call Out deserved to be the main track. I hope they mantain this kind of “darker” or more mature concept for special albums, just like they did with Winter Dream’s Again, but continue promoting with songs that are more their usual style. Looking forward to their next comeback with their usual bright energy that makes them stand out among so many BTS-wannabe boygroups. I sill liked the album, though.
    Thank you for supporting my boys!

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  4. This is such a dissapointing song, it sounds recycled and late to the trend. It’s just sounds more of the same. I was happy that they were maturing their sound with Crazy Sexy Cool but this is..

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  5. Pingback: Buried Treasure: Astro – Call Out | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  6. Pingback: Top Three K-Pop Songs of July 2018 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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