Song Review: Astro – Blue Flame

Well, this seems to be the week where all my favorite, once-bright boy groups go dark. I’m not sure what alternate timeline I’ve stumbled into, but I want out. With Golden Child, this transition was eased by an excellent album and some inventive song construction. Astro’s Blue Flame does not enjoy these same benefits. This is as faceless as the group has ever sounded, and an utterly uninspired choice for title track.

I chose Astro as my most promising rookie of 2016, and they’ve proven that potential time and time again. Even as their sound shifted during January’s All Night, I grew to appreciate the track more than I did initially. However, Blue Flame baffles me. I understand their desire to go dark and trendy, but the only way this works is by bringing something new to the table. Blue Flame might as well have been recorded by any boy group of this era. It has none of Astro’s musical hallmarks, nor anything adventurous to set it apart as a new sound for the group. It’s simply generic.

Blue Flame checks off so many of 2019’s overused hallmarks. Trap beats? Check. Subtle Latin influences? Check. Noisy EDM chorus? Check. It’s so tiresome and unengaging, like a song written by a committee determined to create the most foolproof product they can muster. Blue Flame’s chorus offers the track’s only memorable melody, but it’s undercut by irritating tick tick tick percussion that sounds like a malfunctioning machine. Though they’re performed well, the verses barely register – more breathy coo than fleshed-out songwriting. But worst of all, Blue Flame is just not a pleasant listen. It’s lumbering and noisy and mind-numbingly dull. Oh Astro, how could you?

 Hooks 6
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 6.75

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17 thoughts on “Song Review: Astro – Blue Flame

  1. As probably one of the most hardcore Aroha you’ll probably ever meet, it was a really hard decision for me to stop supporting the group. My routine for an Astro comeback would include waking up 6am to stream on Melon and go to bed after midnight so I can see them perform live on music shows. After being disappointed three times with their latest comebacks (CSC, Always you, All night), I decided that this time I’d take things in a more relaxed way, and I couldn’t be happier that did so.
    I’m gonna still like the boys and I’ll will the best of luck to them, but I’m not gonna spend my time and money on them anymore if they continue to sound like this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ugh, I’m sorry. That’s a horrible feeling. I’ve actually enjoyed everything they’ve released up to this, so I’m not quite with you yet, but I’ve had similar experiences with once-favorite groups. Hopefully they’ll shift back to stronger material next year!


    • C’est la vie.
      Ars longa, vita brevis.

      There is a myth in some fandoms that multi-stanning is a horrible thing. It isn’t. Kpop is a blessing with dozens and dozens of groups to explore. Now you have emotionally begun the next step of your musical journey, go off and explore.

      At this point I usually recommend a tour of the back catalog of Shinee, but whatever floats your boat.


  2. It’s really annoying to see some talented and (over)promising boy groups like Astro and ONF “go bad” this way, making two steps back instead of one ahead in their path of evolution. I can see it’s not that easy to change concept/visuals/attitude from bubblegum rookie pop to adult sounds, but there are *tons* of adult sounds out there and lots of 3rd generation acts are playing *just one and only* again and again.
    And I agree: this is not music, this is noise. Something you can expect from Noir or D-Crunch as a debut track. And the most frustrating thing is that the rest of the ep play completely different and it’s a tropical à-rebours 3 summers later.
    Yes: Golden Child (and NCT Dream) proved to be far better managed in terms of artistic direction. Blue and EBM drops are not enough to make a kid grow up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t tell if I’m so biased towards Astro to the point where generic music pleases me when it’s from them, or if I just like this genre? While it’s definitely not what I expected, I actually have been enjoying the song a lot XD

    I completely understand where you’re coming from though, it’s definitely the most generic Astro has ever sounded.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. At first, I was really surprised reading this review! I have a thing for whatever genre those verses are made of, and I love the prechorus, especially when sung by MJ. And then.. the chorus happens, and this is where I start to understand your low score. It reminds me of a chorus from a weaker Monsta X song. It does not sound like Astro. Any boygroup could’ ve performed this song and it would not sound much different. It seems like Astro is following Seventeen and abandoning everything that made me love them so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, I am glad that I waited, because although it may not seem like it, I don’t really like being the first (and sometimes only) to say “basic kpop”.

    This is basic kpop.
    Except every verse has the reggae beat instead of only the second.
    And the chorus is both drop chorus and sung. Its drops then keeps singing. Maybe that gets half of a novelty point.

    Honestly, I don’t know how the kids can tell this kind of song apart from all the others. The songs sound the same, the video looks about the same, and they all have the same damn haircut with one or two of them in a fancy color.


  6. OT: I came across this on my youtube suggestions this morning. This is an essay on how to ruin a classic song by updating it with almost the full suite of current trends in kpop boy group music. It has the trap, the white noise fill, that fat low horn bap sound, skittering drums, artificially low timbred voice, 2nd verse is rap, the snare drum prechorus, the drop chorus, the drop out sound moments. It is really only missing the tropicali beat, the hands dropping on keys bamboo synth sound, and a hint of latin and reggae flair.


  7. I was so sad when I heard the opening beats of Blue Flame, I agree that the last comebacks haven’t been as strong, and Astro is better than following what’s “trendy”. I mean, I get that it might be cool now, but it’s not as distinctly Astro. I still love the boys, they’re great and super talented people, but I don’t like the way that their music is headed right now.

    Liked by 1 person

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