ASTRO is back! It’s been two years since their last full album, even though they gifted us with a slew of music last year, including 3 single albums and an EP. Cha Eunwoo graced this world with his acting on “True Beauty”, Jin Jin has joined Pentagon’s Kino for a new podcast, Moonbin & Sanha created a duo unit, MJ was in a trot group called Super Five…our boys are always working hard!
Even though this album was released more than a month ago, it’s never late to give it a little review!
1. DEAR MY UNIVERSE
Track one! I LOVE when I hear the first song on a new album for the very first time. It feels like it’s the introduction to a new journey or something cheesy like that. Ha! This song is such a beautiful way to open this new trip with ASTRO. It has their familiar light and breezy style to it, which is always warm and inviting. There’s an airiness in the instrumentals that make me feel really relaxed as soon as the song begins. That’s exactly what we like in a first track! Set me up for success. Haha. My favorite part of this song, without a doubt, is Rocky’s rap section. The opening line is, “I think I’m about to get closer to the planet called you. This place is so beautiful that no words can describe.” With so many vocalists that have higher registers, Rocky’s (and Jin Jin’s) low rap brings so much balance to this track.
“You always stay in my life.” The lyrics talk about having each other’s back and feel like a direct message to their fans, who have continued to show their support even through the difficult times. “Even if we’re far away and can’t touch each other,” is a line that I’m sure many listeners can relate to, considering how the last year has been all over the world. But with this album, “many dots are about to get connected.” It’s as though they’re reassuring the listener that we’ll be together as we enjoy this album with one another. “Thank you, my universe. It’s full of warmth around me now.” *group hug with ASTRO*
2. BUTTERFLY EFFECT
Typically when people talk about a “butterfly effect,” they’re talking about making one small change that has a ripple effect of consequences. I was pleasantly surprised to see that these lyrics make references to flying high, the “beat of my wings,” and “headwinds.” As it turns out, this song is about persevering, even when times are difficult. Life can be confusing and full of challenges. “I feel like I’m wandering in the air without coordinates.” The dark clouds begin to clear and the line starts to shine; “I clearly realize the significance of this long flight.” The wind starts to shake and threatens of coming storys, but “I just fly, toward that beautiful light.” You have to just keep telling yourself to fly. “Climb high” and fly a little higher, push a little more.
Something that I really appreciate about this song is the way it showcases ASTRO’s vocal range. We see that in our rap line, as well, which is especially beautiful considering how low their voices typically are. Rocky reallyyyy shows off his range on this track. *Aroha bows down.* We are truly not worthy. With lyrics like this, I feel as though this could’ve easily been a ballad. I’m glad that it isn’t, though. The bouncy notes in the verses and the way that it builds towards the chorus draws my interest in. And the way the bottom drops out in the chorus and we’re hit with the synth melody drops in – so good. It’s got an intoxicating effect, which helps with the message of the song. This is definitely a song I’m adding to my playlists that build my confidence and encourage me during difficult times.
*whispers* “This is it.” Did anyone else hear that in the intro and die a little? Because same same. There are so many small elements of this track that get stuck in my head; added all together, it truly makes this an infectious track. Something I noticed right away, though, is that the dance break section isn’t on the audio track. It makes me a little sad because that section of the song is dynamite. But I get why they did that; it’s an extra special moment for their performances and the MV.
From the title and the main chorus lyric, we can get the idea that this is a song about, well…being ONE. Haha. Some of my favorite lines that further this message are with Eunwoo sings, “I’ll dance under the same sky as yours,” in the first verse. UH HELLO SWOON. Then later JinJin raps, “Even if I do not find you, I will meet you soon maybe. I can feel you without touching you. I can reach you with my eyes closed.” BOY. There are also lyrics that piggyback off of “Butterfly Effect,” which I love to see. MJ sings, “We fly to the sky. Your dreams and my heart, they come together and shine the dark way right.”
As for the music video, this concept is SO.COOL. We’ve been taking baby steps towards this super strong and intense kind of concept for the last year or two, and now here we are. A little techy techy, a little futuristic styling, mixed with a little mechanic’s garage. Haha. A stellar combo, as it turns out. Guys. We need to talk about Rocky. He is the whole ass king of this era. I’m open to other arguments, but Rocky is crushing every aspect of this comeback and it makes my heart so happy. His rap is a jaw-dropper. That dance break with Rocky as center is a jaw-dropper. Etc. Etc. You get it. Altogether, a memorable, powerful, beautiful, inspiring, stunning, + a million other adjectives kind of comeback.
4. SOMEONE ELSE
The true test of a stellar album is the track order. I always say it and I’ll say it forever. The song that follows the title track has to be the RIGHT track. This particular song is in fact, the right one. We get a fun little trio unit on this one with MJ, Jin Jin, and Moonbin. Just from that list of names, you know you can expect beautiful vocals and enticing raps. And you’d be right! “All of this is only for you so that we can get closer after today.” Signature lyrical sweetness. “You’re the protagonist, everywhere is a stage.” I don’t know why, but I love that line from JinJin so much. Maybe because I’m a sucker for literature references. Haha. Then he hits us with, “Call me anytime, I’ll be there.” (Anyone else wanting to follow that line with, “Such a good night”? If you get it, you get it.) The references continue with: “I just wanna be your star. I want to fly to you.” Two references in ONE? We get the introduction phrase and a nod to the title track, all wrapped into one lyric from Moonbin. Clever clever!
The overall vibe of this song is very late 90’s/early 2000’s, which is a popular concept these days. Lots of bouncy rhythms, especially in the first verse and the rap section. This song really matches their “ME” album version, with the whites and blues; it’s pretty relaxed and those visuals match the 90’s vibe perfectly. Considering how upbeat and intense the title track was for this comeback, the style of this particular b side is nice to hear. It was written by Penomeco and Damian, so if you like the sound of it, you should check out those solo artists!
This other unit track consists of the other 3 ASTRO members: Eunwoo, Rocky, and Sanha. To me, this is an ideal trio. ESPECIALLY when Rocky taps into his vocalist side. Whoever decided that Eunwoo would open this song with English lyrics like “oh my love” knew exactly what they were doing. Cha Eunwoo has one of the sweetest voices around, so my ears were immediately satisfied 30 seconds in. The lyrics of this song paint the cutest kind of picture, as well. Obviously it’s about social media posts (see title), and in the chorus we get lyrics like, “All four seasons suit us…we look so good together.” They don’t need a filter, any pose is ok…”our little vacation” is all that matters.
The vibe of this song feels like if we took one of their earlier tracks like “Baby” and gave it a 2021 upgrade. It still has their cute personalities and sweet lyrics, but it’s a little more grown up. The first time I heard this song, I immediately added it to about a dozen different playlists. Haha. It’s been a go-to mood boosting track. When Eunwoo and Sanha sing these words in the bridge, my heart suddenly gets so happy: “Everyday you lift me up. I hope you hit me up.” Perfect sweetnes from this trio of dreamboats. Haha. Overall, this is probably the simplest song on the album, but every album needs a song like this! It’s like the palette cleanser and it sets us up for the rest of the songs.
6. ALL GOOD
No matter what concept our boys do or how intense their comebacks are, they always give us a reminder of their cute powers. And I LOVE that about them. They do bright and fun so well; no reason to ever abandon it! At leat, I hope they never get too far away from this concept. It’s deep in their roots. Haha. They chose to perform this song, as well as “gemini”, at this fan meeting before the release of the album, which was a special treat. Their staging of this song is full of smiles, heart signs, and energy. Watching them truly doe snake me feel like, “It’s gonna be all good.”
Written by JinJin, this is the kind of song that can boost even the lowest of moods. The lyrics are basically a giant hug from the group to their fans. They show their gratitude to their fans by singing, “Because of you, I’m feeling alright,” then tell Aroha, “It’s all good…now I’ll be all yours.” I love when JinJin raps, “Oh, you are my pleasure. Oh, you are my treasure. All the moments to be with you, what a dreamy day.” The bridge talks about feeling complete because they and Aroha are like puzzle pieces that fit together. Sentiments like that, written from a group member, really do go straight to my heart. It’s so encouraging and it makes me, as a fan, feel like my support really does mean something to them. It makes our support a two-way street, which I’ll always appreciate. ASTRO loves their fans so well.
7. ALL STARS
It’s hard to follow a song like “All Good,” in my opinion. Honestly, it seems like it would’ve been the final track, since it’s to the fans. However, we kept up the tempo with the transition to “All Stars”, which I like. If it’d been a ballad, we would’ve really lost momentum! We got another Easter egg discography reference with the “One & Only” lyric in the pre-chorus, those angels. JinJin also raps again about how we can call him and he’ll come running; I would like to actually test this theory, please and thank you.
The message that everything is okay continues with this track and I’m not at all mad about it. We can’t ever be told that it’s “all good” enough in our lives. I have to spotlight some lyrics that I adore. A major one is in the chorus when they sing, “Being together is magical. Every moment is our perfect timing.” I also love when Moonbin sings, “Sometimes we cry ‘til our eyes get swollen. Sometimes we see each other even if it hurts til the wounds heal.” I love when songs acknowledge that life is difficult; it isn’t all roses and sunshine. But we also have to be reminded that healing comes, as well, and that’s just what this song does. “Everything is ok…everyone is ok.” We’ll all go “towards the bright days in front of us” together. “Look forward and just go straight…you can do it with me, too,” Rocky says. WELL OK, LET’S GO! “When you’re with me, everything becomes more perfect.” That’s exactly how I feel about ASTRO. That one line sums it alllll up.
8. OUR SPRING
This is one of those songs that sound different in the first verse than it does in the chorus; it’s almost like they’re 2 different songs, in a good way. The intro has some strong 1980’s teen movie vibes with those long keyboard sustained notes. (Anyone else think of The Breakfast Club? Just me? That’s normal.) Then as we inch closer to the chorus, that vibe slowly falls away and is replaced bit by bit with a more modern style. The beat drops in and it suddenly feels very ASTRO. There are moments, instrumentally, that remind me of “Blue Flame”, especially with that drop sound. The second verse then sounds even MORE different, if you can believe it. We have those keys lingering in the background, but we have a quick tempo mixed in. This song is like going on a musical journey!
I think that ASTRo always brings stellar ballads. I like that this one carries those easy listening vibes in the beginning, but I’m not upset about the change later on. Unlike most of the other songs on this album, this track focuses on the past. The lyrics reflect on previous experiences and there are lines like, “You and I didn’t know what love was…I want to give you all of my heart.” They sing about how the spring comes back each year, and how “their” spring is still the same, no matter what. What they started (planted) together has bloomed and gone away. Watching spring come back each year brings pain as they remember how things used to be. “It welcomes us brightly as though it was waiting for us.” There are some conflicting emotions in this one, which I kind of like for some reason. Haha.
A song that starts with the rap line and a piano? Sign me UP. I love how simple the instrumentals are on this track from the beginning all the way to the very end. We get to really focus on the vocalists and the rap line’s dynamite style. It also allows the message of the song to shine a bit more without any distractions. Since the storyline the song follows has us imagining standing under an open sky with bright stars, simply stargazing, the choice in music makes so much sense. It’s the kind of song you might want to listen to while literally stargazing on your own!
If there’s anything about ASTRO that’s consistent and sure, it’s their commitment to their outerspace theme. Haha. This song includes words like: galaxy, stargaze, starlight, gravity, shooting star, and more. The lyrics tell the story of having someone you want to be beside always. Sanha sings in the first verse about following a light that allowed him to circle around them. “You shine so bright that you’re blinding.” Moonbin then comes in and sings about stargazing towards that brightness and taking his loneliness away. “I want to stay beside you forever.” This is a simple song with a really sweet message. It fits these boys perfectly, too, and is a nice transition into the conclusion of this album!
ASTRO rounds out this album with a salute to their higher registers. The high notes and vocal slides we’re gifted with in just a couple of minutes are *praise hands*. This final track on the album sounds a lot like “Stardust”; it’s very simple and sweet. MJ has the main writing credits for this song, which is always nice to see from idol groups! Somehow when you see that the artist wrote the song, it instantly becomes more meaningful. “Gemini” is a big hug and a giant thank you to their fans everywhere; it honestly feels like listening to the warmest of embraces.
The nod to the galaxy continues with this song, as expected. The group has said that this is another song on the album meant for the fans; it has lyrics about feeling alone, but then dreaming and feeling warm again. “I’m left here alone and wait for you again.” This song feels like a look inside the heart of an idol. I can’t imagine the pressure and loneliness they must feel from time to time and this song gives us an inside look at those emotions. It also let’s us see how much they rely on the support of their fans. “Like the light of the night stars, you always light me up…will you protect me?” I think my favorite part of this song is the bridge section. “To me who’s lost my way, you always come to find me. I’ll always treasure it.” Such a sweet song!
Which of these tracks is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!