As their industry stature has grown, Astro have begun to promote as units and solos. We had Moonbin and Sanha’s Bad Idea in 2020, MJ’s trot-tastic Get Set Yo last year and a steady stream of Cha Eunwoo dramas. Now it’s time for Jinjin and Rocky to put their own stamp on the ever-evolving Astro sound. These members may not grab Eunwoo-sized headlines, but they’re more than capable of igniting an exciting sound.
Just Breath (숨 좀 쉬자) (Just Breathe?) is a ball of funk-powered energy. It’s the kind of ebullient pop track that never lets up, and I love it for that. Jinjin and Rocky are having none of K-pop’s “break things down and move to half-tempo” business. They repeatedly punch you in the face with their pop prowess. Funk influences are omnipresent in this industry, but rarely are they so incessantly big. Just Breath’s hulking instrumental bounds out of the gate with swaggering confidence. The production is at its best when it forms a wall of sound, layering triumphant brass on top of chorused vocals and intricate rhythm guitar. It’s a workout in the best way.
The song’s only weak points come in the form of comedy. The occasional silliness (especially that lame post-chorus counting) takes away from Just Breath’s potency. The song doesn’t need to couch its feel-good vibe in humor. Thankfully, Jinjin and Rocky’s performance is stuffed with conviction. They play their roles to the hilt. Rocky’s vocals are a wonderful surprise, particularly during the crackling pre-chorus. Just Breath never quite finds a legendary melody to match its unbridled intensity, but you can’t go wrong with a track this eager to please. It’s a burst of undiluted fun.