Well, this seems to be the week where all my favorite, once-bright boy groups go dark. I’m not sure what alternate timeline I’ve stumbled into, but I want out. With Golden Child, this transition was eased by an excellent album and some inventive song construction. ASTRO’s “Blue Flame” does not enjoy these same benefits. This is as faceless as the group has ever sounded, and an utterly uninspired choice for title track.
I chose ASTRO as my most promising rookie of 2016, and they’ve proven that potential time and time again. Even as their sound shifted during January’s “All Night,” I grew to appreciate the track more than I did initially. However, “Blue Flame” baffles me. I understand their desire to go dark and trendy, but the only way this works is by bringing something new to the table. “Blue Flame” might as well have been recorded by any boy group of this era. It has none of ASTRO’s musical hallmarks, nor anything adventurous to set it apart as a new sound for the group. It’s simply generic.
“Blue Flame” checks off so many of 2019’s overused hallmarks. Trap beats? Check. Subtle Latin influences? Check. Noisy EDM chorus? Check. It’s so tiresome and unengaging, like a song written by a committee determined to create the most foolproof product they can muster. The chorus offers the track’s only memorable melody, but it’s undercut by irritating “tick tick tick” percussion that sounds like a malfunctioning machine. Though they’re performed well, the verses barely register — more breathy coo than fleshed-out songwriting. But worst of all, “Blue Flame” is just not a pleasant listen. It’s lumbering and noisy and mind-numbingly dull. Oh ASTRO, how could you?
IATFB says: Not nearly as down on the song as TheBiasList, but for most of the reasons cited it’s just a solid song that now exists and … that’s it. Well, other than that horn blast in the chorus that sound suspiciously like something else.