Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of k-pop, I wanted to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
With new single Always You, Astro have become the latest in a string of boy groups seeking out mellow, moody material in place of uptempo dance tracks. This is not a trend I enjoy at all, even if the song itself is pretty strong. Worse yet, most of the group’s new mini album follows suit, abandoning the bright pop sound that (presumably) built their fan base.
Amidst all of this mid-tempo naval-gazing is Call Out, which arrives like a shot of needed energy. It would have made a great title track, maturing the trademark Astro sound without jettisoning the aspects that fans love. Opening with an anthemic electronic surge, the first verse builds tension through its interplay of vocals and rap. But the real star here is the explosive chorus, which puts the guys’ vocals front and center with a series of extended notes. There’s not much to the melody, but that simplicity lends the track added power. All of its intensity is funneled into one satisfyingly cathartic refrain.
Call Out was co-composed by producers Obros, who recently sabotaged Snuper’s career with their total dud Tulips. I can’t understand why a song like that gets positioned as a title track when material this solid is relegated to mid-album filler.
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