APRIL and ASTRO are two rookie groups that have yet to hit it big, but have still managed to receive a lot of media attention while continuing to build sizable followings. APRIL’s fame is thanks to their members, who have appeared on popular competition shows like Produce 101 and The Kara Project, and have also promoted in other girl groups like PURETTY. As for ASTRO, their popularity is thanks to member Cha Eunwoo, who has become a trending idol with CF deals and countless variety show appearances.
Debuting within six months of each other, both groups are known for great visuals, their catchy (and totally underrated) music, and their cute images. They both had their comebacks on Monday, and as expected, they were amazing. Let's start with APRIL.
The group’s latest effort, “MAYDAY,” is a huge departure from the emotive, “Rough”-inspired sound of their last single, “April Story.” It's far more experimental, with a pounding beat, processed aegyo vocals, and all kinds of quirky sound effects thrown on top. The chorus bursts into more familiar sounding girl group territory, but the verses are totally out-there. Overall, it's pretty disjointed, but in that cool way that only K-pop can really pull off.
“MAYDAY” was produced by Chowool, who was behind Gugudan’s “A Girl Like Me,” and you can definitely hear the similarities between the two songs, although “MAYDAY” pushes the musical envelope a little further than what Gugudan’s single did.
The music video, like the song, is a bit confusing. Most of it is a cute retro style, like Wonder Girls meets T-ara’s “Roly Poly,” but they also have a sporty baseball look thrown in there too. It's very cute, but it doesn't really match the futuristic sound of the song.
On the other hand, ASTRO go for a more conventional approach for their new single, “Baby.” It's built around a tropical synthpop refrain, but it's done in a cute and bubbly way as opposed to the hip-hop or house music genres that have utilised the tropical sound this year. The production is tight and the melodies are strong, making it an easy and fun listen all the way through.
“Baby” definitely sounds like an ASTRO song, but it's also quite different from their four seasons album quadrilogy. It's nice to see the boys changing things up a little bit while still maintaining their signature style.
Regardless of your taste, you should find something to like between ASTRO and APRIL. If you want something quirkier, go with APRIL; if you're looking for a more classic K-pop style, then ASTRO’s the one for you. Either way, these two talented rookies deserve more attention so hopefully 2017 will be their year.
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