Astro were one of the first new debuts after I started The Bias List, and it’s been very fun watching them grow over the years. With the release of May’s Knock, they’re delivered enough title tracks to qualify for a top ten list, though I did switch out that underwhelming song in favor of a non-promoted music video.
Eagle-eyed readers may notice that this particular countdown feels lopsided, structured almost in chronological order. This doesn’t seem all that promising for the group’s future, but taken as a whole these ten tracks make up a near-flawless list.
10. Blue Flame (2019)
Astro’s first real misstep, though the song has aged a little better than I would have thought. Still, it’s as generic as the group has ever sounded. (full review)
9. Hanasake Mirai (2019)
As Astro’s first original J-pop release, Hanasake Mirai retains just enough of their classic sound to avoid becoming completely faceless. That splashy synth chorus is immensely satisfying. (full review)
8. Cat’s Eye (2016)
A side track given a music video referencing Astro’s pre-debut journey. It’s a fun, nostalgic slice of dance pop with a pleasant, breezy chorus and a few interesting instrumental touches.
7. All Night (2019)
A classic synth slow-jam, All Night took the group’s music to a more subdued place. And while it doesn’t boast the kind of bubblegum hooks that made their earlier work so addictive, its restraint turned out to be an asset in the long run. (full review)
6. Always You (2018)
The first Astro title track that could be considered “moody,” Always You still impressed with a towering chorus and majestic EDM sound. (full review)
5. Crazy Sexy Cool (2017)
4. Baby (2017)
Baby’s percolating synth beat has just gotten better and better as the years have passed. There’s a buoyancy to this dance track that proves difficult to resist, slightly maturing the group’s image without sacrificing their pop core. (full review)
3. Confession (2016)
The last of Astro’s Youngbae/Iggy-produced singles, Confession is pure bubblegum bliss, wrapped in a driving dance beat and topped with an anthemic, candy-coated chorus. It perfectly captures a sense of youthful exuberance. (full review)
2. Breathless (2016)
Breathless verges on too saccharine for its own good, but its guitar-fueled summertime sound and cheerful, multi-pronged chorus is my kind of K-pop cheese. Few title tracks elicit summertime as strongly as this, and it’s become an evergreen classic of the season. (full review)
1. Hide & Seek (2016)
It’s rare for a group to debut with their best song, but Astro’s Hide & Seek is a perfect distillation of their bright, poppy sound, melodic heft and ebullient spirit. The song is a rollicking good time, never slowing in its pursuit to deliver one sing-along hook after another. By the time we reach the climax, Hide & Seek has snowballed into a state of bubblegum nirvana, cresting with an invigorating blend of anthemic refrains. (full review)