My love for STRAY KIDS was based purely off the first time I heard them – ‘Hellevator’ – but I soon started to see what concept and style they had before delving too much into their reality survival show “Stray Kids”. That being said, I did have a preconceived notion and general gist of what they were like but I was pleasantly surprised at how much excitement I do have for their official debut at the end of March.
ARTIST: STRAY KIDS
Released on 8 January 2018, Mixtape kind of flew under my radar. To be completely honest, I didn’t know this even existed until I saw it on my WordPress timeline and felt a little embarrassed at how long took for me to listen to it. I, of course, know the song ‘Hellevator’ so I skipped passed this song when I listened to the rest of the album and there were a few songs that I did like a lot, bringing them onto the same level as ‘Hellevator’. In saying that I also did have songs I didn’t like as well so keep reading for which ones were which.
(I did say I skipped passed this song on the album but I wanted to leave my reaction here as well for a reference to my initial first thoughts on both the song and the group. I was pleasantly surprised at their rapper ratio and I could hear some really nice voices in the group as well.)
Moving on to their second track ‘Beware’ or ‘Grr’ – well, Jesus. This song is fantastic and I don’t use that word lightly. I don’t know if it’s because it was unexpected but for God’s sake – WOW! I did just post up my reaction to this song a couple hours before posting this, but for those who missed it I will include the reaction below. I loved everything about this song – from the changes in tempo to the aggressive nature of the chorus. I can’t help but already tell they’re a very rap heavy group which I love. I do like how they stand apart from the other JYP groups and this song alone makes me want to become an avid fan. I would most definitely rank this song higher than ‘Hellevator’ which really speaks a lot for how much I love it.
‘Spread My Wings’ was a bit of a flop for me. I’m not too sure if it’s because it follows two extremely good songs or because I was hoping it was going to be a lot different but I just wasn’t a fan of the song. I did film a reaction to it but I wasn’t happy with a lot of the shots and my reaction could come across as a bit negative which is something I really don’t want to put out into the universe as the group hasn’t even debuted yet. I really could have done without this song on the mixtape if I’m honest.
‘Yayaya’ is a rock/hip hop fusion song which is executed really well. I do really like their rap line which I have already mentioned and I can’t help but be curious about their rap unit 3RACHAs releases. I like how the song flips back and forth with the hiphop and rock from chorus to verse which makes the song sound catchier.
‘Glow’ is a nice contrast to the rest of the album. While their earlier tracks tend to cater to the rap line, it’s nice to have a song which shines a light on their vocals. It builds musically throughout while not overpowering their vocals at any point but I was expecting the chorus to be a little more hard-hitting than it is but I’m not upset at it.
‘School Life’ is a fun-sounding song, very upbeat and seems like it’d be a great song to see performed live. It does seem a little thin and light in the verses but I do like how it contrasts with the chorus which does pump a little harder. I really enjoy the catchy little adlibs in the background as well.
‘4419’ is a low song which I found pretty average in comparison to the other tracks on the album. I’m not too sure about the meaning of the title so I do need to bite my tongue a little bit just in case it does hold some kind of significance but I’m sure if it does hold some kind of sentimental meaning my opinion would change – I am a softie at heart.
I love how these boys are able to make decisions about the music they’re putting out, mostly by Chan, but it is even more significant seeing as they haven’t even officially debuted yet. I think it’s so important for a group to actively participate in their sound so I’m happy these boys are already well known for doing this. I can’t wait to hear about what sound and concept they’re going to have with their debut album as well.
TOTAL SCORE: 8/10
Are you guys excited for their debut? Do you have a STRAY KIDS bias yet? Let me know down below.