A K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
Though I’m not yet sure how it will fare in the long run, Astro’s Candy Sugar Pop is a rare burst of bright confetti in a see of dark, angsty boy group releases. Sadly, its accompanying album is not nearly as effervescent. After two more upbeat funk numbers, the album dives into a long stretch of mid-tempo solo tracks. I can’t say I’ll be revisiting it often, but Drive To The Starry Road does frontload a few strong songs.
Chief amongst these is More, which could have easily become another title track. Much like Candy Sugar Pop, More feels ripped straight from Jinjin and Rocky’s sub-unit mini album earlier this year. Specifically, it could be a follow-up to b-side Lock Down. Like that song, More thrives on a catchy bassline and well-placed bursts of energy. Its verses creep forward on a series of catchy melodies, building tension until we hit the creeping chorus. I wouldn’t call this segment “explosive,” but it does grow bigger as it goes on.
If More suffers, its due to its familiarity. If this year’s boy groups aren’t shouting and posing over blustery beats, they’re tiptoeing over this style of bass-driven dance track. That’s why Candy Sugar Pop stands out, while More feels like a copy. Even so, this is a definite high point on the album and boasts a wickedly catchy refrain.