It seems Astro have entered a phase in their career that favors sub-unit and solo releases. This tends to happen after a group has established themselves, and it’s fun to see the individual members showcase their unique charms. Recent months have seen albums from main vocal MJ and dance/hip-hop unit Rocky and JinJin, but sub-unit Moonbin & Sanha kicked it all off back in September 2020. They’re returning in March, and have pre-released the moody Ghost Town as a teaser.
Ghost Town is quite different from the upbeat funk-pop of 2020’s Bad Idea, casting a more subdued tone that echoes many of the sounds currently popular on Western charts. In fact, the phrasing and melody are so familiar that they almost feel like cosplay. I could see someone like The Weeknd recording this as an album track. The song takes a gentle beat and adds looping refrains over the top. The structure is quite repetitive – a common pop music hallmark in a post-trap world. At best, this forms a hypnotic energy. At worst, it’s… well… repetitive.
As a pre-release, I think Ghost Town is fine. It’s the sound of Moonbin and Sanha trying on new musical clothes. It may feel like an awkward fit for them (my mind keeps flashing back to the giddy sunshine of past singles), but each delivers a solid, satisfying vocal. This style of soft moodiness doesn’t usually do much for me on its own, but I think I’ll appreciate Ghost Town as connective tissue on the upcoming album.