Bask in the Golden Hour with ATEEZ’s 10th Mini Album [GOLDEN HOUR : Part.1]!

Early in April this year, K-Pop boyband ATEEZ made an electrifying debut on the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival stage, captivating fans and new audiences alike with their all-rounded performances. As someone who has watched their female counterpart BLACKPINK grace Coachella as the festival’s first Korean headliners, seeing other notable and well-deserved acts like ATEEZ carry on the torch in making history as the first K-Pop boy group themselves to perform at Coachella has been nothing short of a proud fan moment! 

Now, after a month of teasers and following their monumental Coachella stage, the octad returns with their 10th mini album! Entitled GOLDEN HOUR : Part.1, it marks the first instalment of a new multi-story album series; a trend ATEEZ has been doing with all their previous albums as well.

From the “TREASURE” series, which depicted their journey to search for the “Treasure” each of them holds in their hearts, to the “FEVER” series, which captured their passionate fever, and the “THE WORLD” series, which saw them sing for liberation, the “GOLDEN HOUR” series aims to capture their most radiant moments. 

In photography, the golden hour is often referred to as the scenic period of daylight shortly after sunrise or before sunset. For GOLDEN HOUR : Part.1 however, the same phrase explores the magnified beauty of fleeting moments owing to their ephemeral nature. 

All in all, life’s fleeting beauty and ATEEZ’s most radiant moments are explored in the new album alongside accompanying themes of nostalgia, hard work, love, growth, and more. And today, with my expectations high, I will explore the album track by track. Will I find the beauty of the “Golden Hour” in this album? Listening is the only way to find out, so allow me to share the “brightest” and “darkest” moments of GOLDEN HOUR : Part.1!

Golden Hour

Welcoming you to the album is a spoken narration by fellow labelmate MADDOX, who is best known in the ATEEZ fandom as the group’s longtime collaborator, working as a composer and songwriter!

Since it’s a narration, I can’t comment much on its sound, but I appreciated the soft humming harmonies, which, while minimal, were befitting of the track’s message. The track opens the album by highlighting the different feelings people may experience in fleeting moments as well as the brevity within such bright points in life.

Everyone has their own special times in life
Some people look forward to what’s ahead
While others cherish the memories of what’s gone by

When watching the sunset, some might wish for the moment to last forever, while others might prefer waiting for the sunrise. The same can be said for fleeting moments, where some might hold onto and cherish the past’s memories, while others might be excitedly awaiting what the future holds. 

What should we call, all thе other times
Apart from those bеautiful
And shining moments?
Could living for the moment leave
Our hearts feeling emptier?

The narration then prompts you to reflect on the nature of such fleetingness, challenging you to relook at what the “golden hour” means to you as it questions whether living for the moment will “leave our hearts feeling emptier”. Instead of chasing life’s highlights, perhaps the golden hours can be found in everyday moments, like  “Quiet family dinners, relaxing weekends With loved ones”.

Overall opinion: In this reflective opening, I enjoyed its likeness to poetry and how it felt like a comforting message a loved one would send me. It brings the album’s message to the forefront of listeners’ minds and encourages you to explore the deeper meaning behind the tracks to follow, so no complaints from me!


The first actual song on the album, Blind, is filled with burning passion and energy; you would be blind not to notice it! Tapping into Latin pop influences, The song is littered with Spanish phrases, aiming to capture your ears and heart! 

Take my soul, take my heart, el amor es ciego

In Blind, the guys passionately sing “el amor es ciego”, meaning “love is blind” in Spanish, a language you will find in another track on this album as well. Featuring Cuban trumpets and the harmonica, an instrument I don’t often hear in K-pop nowadays, the song starts with a bang and keeps its energy high throughout! As I listened, it felt as though the song’s celebratory and passionate feeling could fit right in with a setting of colourful and boisterous streets, with flocks of people dancing vivaciously.

To me, this is one of the main highlights of the album. Immediately from the first few seconds, you’re hit with the urge to get on the dance floor, and the catchy hook is glued to your brain. I love that while ATEEZ has a distinct and unique music style, they can seamlessly blend in with the song’s Latin elements. 


So glad Hongjoong decided to not gatekeep Blind for a later album I wouldn’t survive without this ass shaking song #ateez #atz #에이티즈 #goldenhour #goldenhourpt1 #ateezcomeback

♬ original sound – Jerbohwa

The song also showcases the members’ versatility — from the sultry pre-chorus to the more energetic and bold chants in the outro, they’ve managed to capture the vibrancy and rhythmic allure of Latin pop. This is definitely one of the tracks I will be anticipating the choreography of when they perform it on stage live!

Overall opinion: Blind is undoubtedly one of the “brightest” parts of the album. The hooks are instantaneously memorable and infectious, and the song feels as though it represents one of the meanings of “Golden Hour”. This is most certainly going into my playlist!


As the saying goes, “time is money”, and ATEEZ are here to drill that message into your head! Aptly titled “WORK”, the title track delves into ATEEZ’s commitment towards working hard for their success as well as ignoring and cheekily mocking their haters.

With lyrics like “Gotta WORK, Gotta make that money, make purse” and: 

Ganso que pone huevos de oro (meaning “Goose that lays the golden eggs” in Spanish)
Building towers 24 hours a day, 
Not really interested in socialising
No no no no no

The group can’t get any more straightforward in what they’re trying to say than that. However, the message of hard work doesn’t seem to translate into the song.

In essence, WORK is a mid-tempo hip-hop track. It’s easy for mid-tempo tracks like WORK to be boring due to factors such as predictability and monotony owing to a lack of dynamic variation. Unfortunately, that is the biggest issue the song runs into. 

However, I can credit them for WORK being different from their previous title tracks due to its more reserved nature than more bombastic tracks like HALAZIA and Guerilla. After all, there’s nothing wrong with reinvention — constantly recreating the same energy of their old works would get boring. However, I wished WORK could have more interesting elements come into play. 

Additionally, given WORK’s short run time of 2 minutes and 52 seconds (a trend that’s being normalised in K-pop now more than ever), I expected an attempt to stuff standout moments into the song. Where are our main vocalist, Jongho’s passionate adlibs? Instead, he seems to have been pushed to the background to contribute mostly backing notes and a singular high note in the bridge. Consequently, ultimately, we are left with a hook that, while admittedly catchy, grows stale over time due to its sheer repetitiveness.

Overall opinion: For a song called “WORK”, it feels like a little more work needs to be done to make it worthy of being a title track. Hence, this is on the “darker” side of the album, but I’m confident that if the group returned to this sound, they’d only elevate it to new heights!

Empty Box

In typical K-pop fashion, you’ll almost always find a ballad or two in the mix. Whether it’s about a tragic heartbreak or a fan-dedicated song, ballads tend to be my least favourite tracks on an album as they personally are melodically dull, but Empty Box has a few merits.

I got to move on
The dust piled up is full of traces
I can’t shake it off
The memories locked in my room have stopped flowing
Now I’m going to let it go, open the window
I got to move on
It’s time to move on

In Empty Box, the members sing of the struggles of letting go of past memories but the need to do so to move on and create a new beginning. One surprising thing I noted is that in the tracklist, Empty Box has been placed in the middle, and ballads are commonly the very last song you hear to close off the album. 

While I’m unsure what the motive was, it helps break up the pattern, as listening to multiple fast-paced tunes in a row can be exhausting. Essentially, it’s a soft bedroom pop song that doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest, so you can take it as a good or bad thing that it’s an outlier amongst the other more high-energy, dancey songs. For me, while the song’s message aligned with the album’s theme, as the sole track to exude a mellow vibe, it felt extremely out of place.

Song-wise, it gives off a nostalgic feeling, as though a friend is giving you a warm, comforting hug with its soothing and serene melody. ATEEZ delivers the song with a sombre tone, changing their voices to be more breathy and emotional, unlike their usual more aggressive and punchy sound. 

Usually, ballads don’t feature much rapping, but here, rappers Hongjoong and Mingi blend decently into the song with their rap lines. Hongjoong, in particular, even had a standout moment, singing his heart out in one part of his verse with a strong, emotional voice. 

Overall opinion: While the song is pretty inoffensive when you zoom out and compare it to other more notable ballads from K-pop groups, it feels as though Empty Box gets lost in all the noise, following the typical patterns of a ballad. Personally, it doesn’t do much for me, so I wouldn’t put it on the “bright” or “dark” side of the album. If the song were to have more passionate moments like Hongjoong’s, I would probably gravitate towards it more.


After Empty Box is Shaboom, and this party anthem is a 180 from the emotional ballad before it! Once the drum rolls, we are given a fun reggae-pop number with the guitar strumming, allowing me to feel like I’m lounging on a beach, but don’t be fooled by its laidbackness. 

As the pre-chorus progresses, the instrumentation switches up abruptly to be more fast-paced and electronic, with Mingi matching the pace with his autotuned-laced vocals. And then, an anti-drop hits you out of nowhere. After listening to so many K-pop songs that use the anti-drop trick as an element of surprise, it got old real quick, but the electronic chorus and the members’ vocals scratch my brain right! I loved the contrast between Jongho’s higher notes and fellow vocalist San’s voice, who was pitched lower to sound deep and almost guttural.

The sharp differences between the relaxed verses and the electronic chorus could be jarring for some, but I appreciated this element as it keeps me on my toes for what’s next. And boy, they didn’t disappoint with the bridge. 

As fans of ATEEZ know, no ATEEZ track can go without vocal king Jongho’s high notes introducing the bridge. As his voice skyrockets, inseparable rap duo Mingi and Hongjoong go at it faster than I can blink, the song accelerating at break-neck speed before a different anti-drop hits! Finally, we are met with a shouty post-chorus, where I believe they would most likely fit in an intense dance break in true ATEEZ fashion to close the song.

Overall opinion: Again, the contrasts in one song may be a turn-off for some, but in K-pop, such contrasts have become the norm, so not only have I gotten used to it, but I have also been craving for more tracks like this. Shaboom satisfied that craving, flawlessly fusing its techno and EDM-laced chorus with its reggae sound from its verses. Like Blind, Shaboom is also another “bright” part of this album!


Closing out the album is the track Siren. Siren is the perfect conclusion for an album’s subject matter revolving around hard work and new beginnings. Here, ATEEZ confidently declares their determination to resiliently and unwaveringly walk their own path as the ‘siren’ goes off everywhere they move. 

Broke down this era, those critics are not fine
Born with natural talent, and luck is also a skill, prime-time
Altogether, what worldwide?
It is gonna be great, worldwide
Don’t hold on to my pants, go down there
Lastly, I made all the facts because they are all mine
The siren grows louder, like a wind instrument
The sound of a song that reverberates with every line (Oh)

Before the album’s release, Mingi mentioned that the lyrics he wrote for Siren are probably some of the strongest lines he’s written. And when you read it, you can feel the intensity of the diss he makes towards ATEEZ’s critics. He even compares ATEEZ’s music to the “Pungak”, a traditional Korean wind instrument which sounds loud and resonating and represents Korea’s sound. Talk about peak confidence!


Mingi abt siren | مينقي عن سايرن #MINGI #ATEEZ #ATINY @ATEEZ_Official

♬ original sound – YEOSANG MONTH

As for the song itself, it features a heavy trap production, making it one of the more noisy tracks on the album, similar to Shaboom. A squeaky sound introduces the track before you hear Hongjoong’s signature laughter and hard-hitting rap verse. The pre-chorus is probably the only part you can consider the calm before the storm — the buzzing but addictive chorus filled with the members’ confident singing. The buzzing noise could be annoying to some, but it adds to the track’s chaotic vibe for me.

And finally, when we reach the bridge, a whistle akin to a kettle grows in volume before an exchange of whispered and shouted “Ringing siren” is heard with one last shout for ATEEZ to go out with a bang!

Overall opinion: After listening to the album as a whole, I can understand why Siren was chosen to close the album over other tracks. It feels like the conclusion that answers the question the album wants to ask its listeners. The noisy, pots-and-pans feel of the track is not something I would normally lean towards, but ATEEZ delivered this in their own style that makes it likeable. Overall, Siren is truly one of the “brightest” parts of the album.

Ending Comments

It’s been a hot minute since ATEEZ produced an album perfect for the summer. With tracks like Blind and WORK weaving in Latin and reggae vibes, the album also signals a new path they have taken in their musical journey as they continue experimenting with various genres. 

Although a couple of missteps made the album less cohesive than it could have been, I appreciated how this album, like the rest, presents a completely different concept and sound. It also highlights the group’s limitless potential, their ever-impressive versatility, and their ability to adapt to almost any kind of music.

At the start, I mentioned how the phrase “Golden Hour” serves as a powerful metaphor for the beauty of fleeting moments, and GOLDEN HOUR: Part.1 embodies this message. Like a sunset, it marks the end of their previous chapters and the start of a new one filled with possibilities. This is only the beginning of ATEEZ’s rise in the music industry, and with the only way being up, I can only see them going higher than before.


ATEEZ GOLDEN HOUR Album Review: Album Cover

Check out GOLDEN HOUR : Part.1 now on Spotify and Apple Music! For more ATEEZ, head over to their official website, Instagram profile, and TikTok account to stay updated on the group!

Visuals courtesy of blackstar Asia.

Glenda Chong

Down to yap about anything related to K-Pop and pop culture anytime, anywhere.

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