[Mini-Album] ASTRO – Summer Vibes

Summer Vibes is the second mini-album released by ASTRO. Breathless was used as the promo track.

summervibes
Released: July 1, 2016
1. Fireworks (불꽃놀이)
2. Breathless (숨가빠)
3. Growing Pains (성장통)
4. Polaris (북극성)
5. My Style (내 멋대로)
6. Breathless (Acoustic ver.)

Summer Vibes opens with Fireworks and I’m not totally sure what to make of it. It is a soaring pop song and it has some really nice parts to it. I love the heavy beat and the powerful harmonies that pop up here and there throughout the song. It does a good job building to that chorus. However, I feel a bit letdown with the chorus. It just feels like it is missing that thing that really makes me get into the song. I think part of it might just be the vocals that come off a bit too nasally and sweet for this song. It’s not bad, just doesn’t quite hit the spot for me. Breathless, on the other hand, is just great. It keeps up that positive pop vibe that their debut single had. I would say this one definitely fits the summer feeling with its bright chorus. I love the beachy vibe that the arrangement brings with its strong percussion and guitar foundation. The verses are a fun mix of rap and singing, which helps to keep them interesting despite the chorus still being the highlight. Just a fun song that is catchy and cute. Growing Pains is the ballad of the mini-album. I don’t quite like the verses because I find the music just distracts from the gentleness of the melody. The chorus is a bit better and I do like the R&B beat that pops up. With that said, everything does come off a bit forgettable and I don’t think the melody is as strong as the ballad from their first album. The whole song just seems too light and floats along which causes it to be a bit forgotten. Polaris brings back the bright pop sound of the promo track and it does seem like a good follow-up to it. The verses have a similar trade off of singing and rapping, although there is a bigger dominance of rap in the second part. Unfortunately, I don’t find the chorus to be that strong. The beat is so heavy and the melody is really flat in its delivery, which just doesn’t match that well. There is no power in the hooks either. My Style brings a completely different vibe though with its more dramatic sound. I was actually quite surprised to hear the group do this style of song, but it’s definitely a cool departure from their usual material. I do like the arrangement and the verses are cool. The melody is a bit disappointing though. Why does it have no power to it? I feel like it should have even more energy to it. The music should be stronger and the melody should be more dramatic. It’s a bit of a letdown. Luckily, the acoustic version of Breathless comes by and I love it. The melody was already great and this version calms things down, but creates a really interesting twist on things.

Overall: I am really disappointed in this mini-album. I loved the promo track, but the B-sides were just so weak compared to their first mini. They all had potential, but the choruses just lacked something. They just weren’t catchy enough or they lacked the strength to really make them memorable. What happened?!

B

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[Digital Single] A.C.E – Callin’

Callin’ is the second digital single released by boy band A.C.E. It is their last release before the members joined the shows, The Unit and Mix Nine.

callin
Released: October 18, 2017
1. Callin’
2. Callin’ (inst.)

Callin’ doesn’t have the same punch that Cactus has, but it follows a pretty similar sound with its hardstyle chorus. The verses are definitely calmer and they act as an interesting contrast to the explosive chorus. I quite like the music, especially the second part of the chorus, which is more hook based. However, I don’t think the song is as strong as Cactus. The melody just isn’t as memorable and I find the music doesn’t totally suit the melody as well as I would like. I would hope for the melody itself to be more hard hitting and not just float on top.

Overall: This is a decent follow-up to their debut and I do like that they kept up with the same kind of genre. I do wish it was as strong as their debut, but it’s not a bad song by any means. I just don’t find it as memorable and I wish the melody had more punch to it and stronger hooks.

B+

[Single] April – BOING BOING

BOING BOING was the first single by April. It was their first release since Somin left the group. Muah! was used as the promo song.

muah
Released: November 25, 2015
1. Glass Castle (유리성)
2. Muah!
3. Muah! (inst.)

Glass Castle is a cute bubblegum pop tune. The melody is a bit slower than I would have expected, but it does get a bit faster by the chorus. I’m not sure if I’m really into this song though. The song isn’t particularly memorable and the melody really lacks a strong hook. Also, the girls just don’t have the chance to show off their voices. There are some nice features to it like the nice bridge, but the delivery of the rest of the song is pretty flat. Luckily, Muah! is so much better. This is definitely a great tune that keeps the youthful image of their debut, while providing something a bit more upbeat. It definitely has more energy than their other songs. The verses aren’t particularly strong, but the chorus makes up for everything. It’s really catchy and the Muah! hook is a really fun addition. The music also has a lot of power with its flashing synths and strong beat. It’s really fun!

Overall: This single was saved by Muah! being so strong. Glass Castle was just forgettable and is one of the group’s weaker B-sides. Luckily, the A-side was exciting and had a lot of energy while keeping up with the youthful image of the group.

B+