Review

Song Review: Astro – All Night

It feels like it’s been forever since Astro was active as a group. They released their Rise Up mini album last summer (led by the underrated Always You), but scheduling contracts prevented them from promoting. Thankfully, Fantagio Music is making up for lost time with the group’s first full length album. Most of its tracks bring a welcome dose of uptempo energy, but title track All Night (전화해) frustratingly keeps the guys in mid-tempo territory.

Of all the newer generation groups, I never would have expected Astro to move down a moodier, mid-tempo route. This isn’t automatically a bad thing. Like I mentioned, I found Always You to be quite dynamic and enduring. But, for a group who debuted with the most addictive kind of dance-pop, I’m a little disappointed to hear them begin to blend in with all of their peers. I get why they do it. Pop groups and their agencies always want to be “taken seriously” eventually, but artistic integrity is not mutually exclusive with high-octane dance music. As you all know, I take my fluffy bubblegum pop very seriously.

There are many things I like about All Night, but it does feel like the group’s weakest single yet. They’ve enlisted producers LDN Noise once again for a soulful blend of modern EDM elements and retro synths. The song’s recurring synth line is instantly familiar, perched somewhere between Bigbang’s We Belong Together and Prince’s Diamonds and Pearls. This gives All Night a classic shimmer that improves on an otherwise languid arrangement. The central melody does a good job interacting with this instrumental, offering a cohesive build towards the wistful chorus. There’s more focus on hip-hop here than ever before, as the second verse brings in a trendier flow that feels at odds with Astro’s older sound. I could do without the skittering hi-hats thrown over the top (both Astro and LDN Noise are better than that), but the arrangement maintains enough individuality to shine. Like other songs of this nature, I have a feeling All Night will grow on me. I’d just hate to see Astro ditch their bright, fun-loving energy altogether.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

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13 thoughts on “Song Review: Astro – All Night

    • I’ve only had time for one listen so far, but I can safely say I prefer most of the album tracks over the title. It’s definitely more “mature” all around, but there are several tracks that have that classic Astro touch. It’s still early, but the instant standout for me was “1 in a Million.” It’s the most shamelessly upbeat song, with a great chorus that hearkens back to their older material.

      I’ll have more thoughts when I pick a buried treasure for later in the week.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s safe to say that Astro’s title tracks are never going to quite go back to that sound I adored, but they remain the strongest and most consistent group I know. All Night is definitely their weakest title track yet, but it still manages to be a standout. I was think about this during my first listen — don’t you think this just sounds like Astro? It doesn’t sound like their typical style and should feel like a complete 180, but it’s just so undoubtedly Astro and so undoubtedly strong. They really can pull off anything, and while I stand firm that Dream Part 01 was their peak (and one of my favorite albums of all time), that doesn’t mean they’re spiraling down any time soon. I honestly don’t think they’re capable of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Astro’s vocal character and melodic touch will always elevate their material. But, they’re one of those groups that I thought I could count on for upbeat title tracks. Most of my frustration stems from the fact that so many upbeat boy groups are going down a more downbeat route lately. Seventeen, Snuper, UP10TION, and even NCT Dream have tempered their once ebullient sound in order to fit current trends. It’s not that the songs aren’t strong — it’s just that everyone’s starting to sound the same. There are so few Astro-esque groups left at the moment (which is why I latch on so strongly to Golden Child and ONF). Once I get over the chip on my shoulder, I think I’ll be able to enjoy the song more.

      Dream Part 01 was certainly their peak. I was just listening to that album a couple weeks ago and couldn’t believe how strong and cohesive it is. Just dynamite pop songwriting all around. I’ll be interested to see how All Light measures up. I’ve only listened through once, so it’s too early to form a meaningful opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It looks like their concept is definitely getting “the green clone of VIXX”. For the second title track in a row, *everything* (from sound to visuals to mv) is ctrl+c ctrl+v from Scentist with just a little more glimpse of flowers and plants here and there. I was expecting something really different from Astro’s evolution, but (as someone says) “If it works, why not?”.

    Like

    • The instrumental here is much more appealing than Scentist (at least for me), but it does have that languid, lurching quality to it that I am so completely over. I’m curious if Always You ever grew on you? I actually love that song despite the fact that it’s not the uptempo dance track I wanted.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Buried Treasure: Astro – 1 In A Million | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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