Over the past few years, Astro members have been more active in solos and sub-units than full-group comebacks. The most prolific has been the duo of Moonbin and Sanha. It’s hard to believe they’re already on their third mini album! They made a strong debut with 2020’s Bad Idea before embracing more atmospheric material with last year’s Who. New single Madness splits the difference between these two sounds but struggles to find an identity of its own.
Madness hinges on the kind of chunky bass groove that’s become a staple in boy group K-pop over the past few years. It’s one of the industry’s established templates, down to the simple, repetitive hook at its center. The sound is enjoyable but stale, making it vital to infuse its familiar elements with a new idea or memorable melody. Sadly, Madness paints within the lines at every turn, resulting in a predictable track that feels like filler.
Moonbin and Sanha are strong performers and do what they can with this material. A fun dance break offers a chance to showcase choreography, but before we know it the song has reverted to its threadbare chorus once again. Nothing here is objectively bad or grating, and will likely appeal to newer listeners who haven’t already experienced this sound dozens of times before. But if you’re looking for something fresh or ear-catching, you’re in the wrong spot. And when it comes to bassline-heavy dance tracks, Astro’s own JinJin and Rocky already covered this territory with 2022’s superior Lock Down.