Ever since their debut, Astro have always been one of my favourite boy groups. Their bright, upbeat pop sound was incredibly refreshing and paved the way for some of K-pop’s most instantly addictive singles. But much like every other boy group, Astro felt the need to ‘mature’ themselves. And while this approach has mostly yielded success in the form of songs like Always You and All Night, it has also resulted in generic duds such as Blue Flame. New single Knock (널 찾아가) falls somewhere in the middle, but is easily one of the more exhilarating singles the group have given us in a while.
Let me start by saying that Knock brings absolutely nothing new to the table. Overuse of trap hi-hats? Check! Moody verses? Check! Future bass inspired hook? Checkerino! It’s the same formula that’s dominated the boy group landscape over the last few months, with groups like The Boyz, Pentagon and GOT7 all churning out pretty much the same song. But thing is, Knock is the first of these to truely feel like it has substance. I adore the filtered piano in the opening verse, it adds a sense of classic songwriting to the track. And while the overused trap hi-hats do find its way into the track moments later, they are buried quite far into the background to really distract from the overall experience. This brings me to the chorus, which is one of the most instantly catchy hooks I’ve heard all year. And while the “Knock Knock Knock” might potentially get repetitive over further listens, I think it actually works really well. And like with all great songs, Knock builds to a breathless climax, where the rapping and soaring vocals are intertwined to send the track off on a high.
But while Knock has its fair share of highlights, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it’s much too soundalike to really stand out. The production itself is 2020 by the numbers kpop, and while it is addicting, it doesn’t really have that ‘Astro’ sound that most of us fell in love with in the first place. The boys sound great, but it feels like you could have pitched this to almost any other boy group and the results would have been nearly the same. That doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy Knock for what it is, but I doubt it will the kind of song that makes me think of Astro immediately.
Final Rating: 8.25 / 10