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.
Astro have taken a slightly more mature turn on their new album, incorporating sounds we haven’t yet heard from them. More often than not, this results in success (the EXO-esque Moonwalk is definitely worth pursuing further). But as I mentioned in my review of All Night, I stubbornly long for the brighter pop sound the guys mastered on their brilliant Dream Part One album. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be a surprise that my favorite new tracks are the ones that harness a classic Astro energy.
Of these songs (and there are a handful), my instant standout was 1 In A Million. It’s the surest shot of uptempo pop bliss on the album, with the kind of anthemic, feel-good chorus I live for. The song opens with a radiant cascade of electronics before moving into a gradual build that seems to grow faster and faster on its way toward the hook. The choice to autotune Rocky’s rap verses is Million’s only big mistake, but they float by pretty quickly. And once the trance-like burst of synths rush in for the propulsive chorus, the rest of the track is rendered moot. It’s the perfect hook for Astro at this stage in their career, drawing on their debut-era sound without feeling immature or backward-looking. Maybe we’ll get a springtime album repackage with this style of title track. I won’t hold my breath, but it would certainly be nice.
This was my instant standout too! I hardly even mind the autotuned bit — probably a cross between me just getting used to autotune’s (unfortunate) resurgence and the numerous times Astro has proved that if anyone can pull off my least favorite tropes, it’s them.
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Ugh I really like this song!
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