As K-pop enters a new generation of rookies, the number of fractured boy groups continues to grow at an equally rapid rate. Military enlistments have left many boy groups without some of their core members and sent others into a temporary hiatus. Astro are the latest to fall victim to this with MJ recently enlisting in the military. As such, the groups latest comeback has a slight tinge of melancholy to it. Though the buoyant Candy Sugar Pop doesn’t linger on it at all, instead harkening back to the bright pop sounds of the groups debut era work to craft an absolute standout.
I mean just look at the name. If you come into a song literally titled “Candy” – “Sugar” – “Pop” and expect something other an overtly optimistic and relentlessly joyful pop song then I’m sorry but you’ve really got to adjust those logical reasoning lenses of yours. But unlike what I had initially expected, Candy Sugar Pop isn’t all just fluff. In classic Astro style, the melodies are incredibly bright but tight and expertly constructed to craft a dynamic production that leans into the buoyant and more aloof nature of the production but never feels as though it’s throwaway or too saccharine for its own good. It’s a track that harkens back to the sound of their excellent Dream pt.01 album for nostalgia’s sake but also injects an invigorating synth laced funk backbone to fit current trends. A combination that helps satisfy both the old and new.
The chorus however is where Candy Sugar Pop really comes into its own, pulsing forward on a MEATY melody and an excellent percussion and synth assisted backing that helps inject the centrepiece with some real dynamics. It also helps that it’s incredibly catchy, enough to get stuck in your head on first listen and have you hum it over and over across further listens and even when you’re not listening to it. It’s the best kind of upbeat pop hook, infectious but not annoying. A combination that the boys had perfected during their debut year and have rediscovered here. It’s honestly such a great chorus that It completely overshadows the good but comparatively weaker verses. It acts as a wonderful contrast to the plethora of other boy group songs that have for some reason just decided to go all in on the clattertrap noise music train that acts as a natural repellant for me. And that alone would have made Candy Sugar Pop a win. The fact that it’s this great is just the icing on top of an already sugary cake.
Final Rating: 8.75 / 10