When it comes to K-pop, I've always been a fan of the complex. Before their 2019 comeback, I repeatedly watched CLC's comeback teasers and in every teaser the artists gave me so many layers–chic, elegant, fierce, sexy, strong, cute, confident, the list goes on. As a viewer you stay engaged when artists are dynamic and constantly offering their audience something new.
Monsta X kept surprising me all throughout 2018, even at the start of 2019, with their hard-hitting Shoot Out comeback, their Versace on the Floor cover, their live performance of the Korean Version of Spotlight, their performance at the 2018 MAMA and the Asia Artists Awards, their water dance break, their Japanese release Livin' It Up, and plenty more. But with certain artists, I need to experience a couple of comebacks before my mind rudely calls out to me and says, "Psst, where have you been all this time? You've been missing out."
Astro had a recent comeback with their song, All Night and because my knowledge of the group only extends to their song Crazy Sexy Cool, I thought I would give them another try. Crazy Sexy Cool was a cute and charming song with funky tones but the song didn't hook me. As someone who has so many K-pop groups on my radar, I need to choose carefully when adding more to my ever-growing list.
So at the time of Crazy Sexy Cool, I hadn't felt compelled enough to enter a stage of fandom for Astro. However, I wanted to give the group another try as what I usually find is that certain comebacks or eras just may not be my style or may not be the right time for me to become a fan. Some groups just have to grow on you or a specific comeback may pull you in, give you and understanding of the group's feel and concept and then make you a fan while certain releases can make you indifferent.
Long story short, I watched All Night and ... there's a lot to talk about.
Every single time MJ sang, he pulled my attention. Since I'm no vocal expert I can't even determine why I was so drawn to his voice (maybe it's sorcery?) but the same happened in my viewing of Crazy Sexy Cool. Out of all the members, I walked away from that era knowing MJ's name and face and apparently with All Night nothing has changed. Sanha I also found to have a distinct voice from the other members and his voice had a soulful ring during the pre-chorus.
The hair colors
K-pop hair stylists love to dye idols' hair all kinds of crazy colors (sometimes making them look as if they walked out of an anime) and the color was flying with Astro. There were dreamsicle orange, soft pink and frosted purple hair colors–all colors that stood out against the cool blue backgrounds rampant in the music video.
Although the title of the song is All Night, the music video reminds me more of day what with all the floral accents in the set design and the bright, warm colors at the start of the video. As the video moves further along, however, the shadows in the lighting increase, night arises.
Chic and elegant atmosphere
Talking briefly about the set design brings me to the wonderful and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere of the whole video. The white clothing, the flora, the smooth dancing, and the R&B twist to the song all work in tandem to craft a chic and elegant, almost delicate, atmosphere.
Many K-pop songs include a mixture of genres in their works (one of the many reasons why I love the genre) and this feature was present in All Night. There was a mixture of R&B and pop which just reminded me of the early 2000s jams my mom and dad would play in the car. These elements I found most evident in the chorus and pre-chorus also known as my favorite parts of the song.
Along with MJ, Moonbin kept stealing my eye throughout the music video. It could be his voice, his hair's cotton candy color or the fact that he was showing some shoulder at the end of the music video, but he seriously radiates with some kind of gravitational energy that pulls you into his orbit.
Since Crazy Sexy Cool, I associated this cute and charming image with Astro. Their youthful, cute sides do not completely disappear in All Night but, for the most part, there's a different tone–a serious serenade. With this song, Astro adds a different layer to their appearance and is telling me, as someone not extremely familiar to them, that they have more to offer than only a youthful and joyful concept.
For live performances I checked out their performances on M Countdown on January 17th and January 24th (and I must say I am a fan of the black outfits, amen to the stylists).
Some common denominators between both performances was Moonbin's electric charisma. Before watching the live performances, I wondered if the same level of energy I witnessed in the video would be apparent on stage. And I wasn't disappointed. He's extremely expressive and artfully delivers the subtle sensuality of their current concept. Plus he drove the crowds wild whenever he revealed his shoulder.
There were some key moments in the choreography I kept a look out for in the live performances after briefly glimpses of the moves in the music video. When they all drop it low during the chorus, for example. I also really liked the detailed floor work at the very beginning of the song and during Rocky's part in the bridge.
MJ was also super happy in their first M Countdown appearance. He ended the stage with such a bright smile I almost shielded my eyes from the UV rays. His smiles were extremely infectious so I'm labelling him the group's happy virus. But I could be totally wrong.
I also found while watching the live performances that I was really able to focus on the voices of each member and found them all vocally stable and distinct. If listened regularly to Astro, I would most likely be able to tell who was singing which part of a song with minimal problems.
I learned so much more about Astro by giving their music another try. They seem to have strong vocals, charisma on stage, and bright dispositions. Astro is really trying to pull me in, make me an official Aroha, but I'm going to hold back for now. I'll keep a look out for more tunes and maybe check out the full All Light album, but I'd like to see more from Astro first. It seems Astro is entering a more mature period. I know they have a younger member in their group, Sanha, which in the past may have limited how risky Astro's concepts were what with Sanha being a minor. So maybe, moving forward, their comebacks will take more mature routes, which would cement my fandom. Overall, I really enjoyed this comeback from Astro and I got a better sense of who they are as a group. They all seem like bright, joyful, and radiant individuals which is reflective in their music and each member's stage presence.
A fan of Astro? Comment down below with your favorite Astro song or your thoughts about their most recent comeback!