Reviews

Stray Kids “★★★★★ (5-STAR)” Album Review

5-STAR

Stray Kids

  • Genre: K-Pop
  • Date: 02 Jun, 2023
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Region: NGA
  • Track(s): 12
  • ℗ 2023 JYP Entertainment

Today, June 2, 2023, JYP Entertainment and Republic Records released “5-Star,” the South Korean boy band Stray Kids’ third studio album in the Korean language (and fourth overall), as the follow-up to their seventh EP, Maxident (2022). It is a distinct and unusual album that, for the first time in a long time, accurately portrays the color of Stray Kids.

There are twelve songs on it, including the lead single “S-Class,” the Korean translation of “The Sound,” which was originally included on the group’s Japanese album of the same name, and “Mixtape: Time Out,” which is from the Mixtape Project. Additionally, Tiger JK makes a special appearance.

Album Cover Art

Stray Kids &Quot;★★★★★ (5-Star)&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, May 19, 2024

Nothing much is happening on this black-themed album cover but we can find five stars drawn above a Chinese inscription next to words encased in a rectangular box that reads, “S-Class,” a song title on the project.

Tracks and Features

“Hall of Fame” gets things off to an upbeat start, with Stray Kids bringing the needed energy for a fast-paced beat like the one used in the song. The rapping and singing blend well to produce something razz and bubbly, something that expresses the band’s free exuberance. The energy grows in “S-Class,” where the band sing about the superstar lifestyle and how second-to-none they are. The confidence in the lyrics is backed by strong vocal performances and crazy beat switches only pros like Stray Kids could navigate smoothly.

Some hard rap begins the next track, “ITEM.” With the energy found in Indian movie soundtracks, Stray go in hard, owning their style and recounting their tale from zeros to heroes. This would also perform well as a soundtrack to a teen-inspired breakdancing film. In “Super Bowl,” the band takes pride in their content and style, referring to their material as finger-licking. They use the opportunity to take a subtle stab at doing the nasty with a lover, but they quickly leave the subject and head back into the high energy vibe. They are also indirectly telling the fans to be expectant for more stuff from them because they are cooking up a literal super bowl.

Tiger JK, the first guest feature of the album appears in “TOPLINE,” and brings the rap flame. The song is mostly rap and has a beat that bangs hard on the bass and drums, directing the fiery delivery of the group. In “DLC,” they are only concerned about dancing like crazy. Sometimes it’s OK to let those inhibitions go to live a little and the boy band agrees.

A similar theme and energy continues in “GET LIT.” Over a Dance-influenced beat, the guys let loose but stay mindful, seeing as they don’t want to die young. The singers perform impressively with the assertive vocals and flow. From there the vibe is taken into the romantic zone in “Collision,” where the boy band is singing about desiring to make up with a love interest, and reminding her how things used to be as a little incentive to change her mind. The song ends with a dial tone, like a scene in a romance movie where a guy trying to reach out to an ex lover never gets through to her.

“FNF” brings back to memory old Taio Cruz hits, and the boys gave a great performance and flexed their vocals. It’s a vibrant tune young people would easily catch on to. And the inspirational “Youtiful” discourages self-doubt and preaches self-love. This may be the best song on the album. Proper attention was paid to songwriting and song arrangement and it paid off.

The party resumes in their Korean version of the upbeat “THE SOUND,” which paves way for the final song, “Mixtape: Time Out.” They switch to Rock in this song and it still works because their energy never depletes.

Tracklist

NO TITLE TIME
1 Hall of Fame 2:51
2 S-Class 3:15
3 ITEM 3:11
4 Super Bowl 3:03
5 TOPLINE (feat. Tiger JK) 3:23
6 DLC 3:06
7 GET LIT 2:51
8 Collision 2:37
9 FNF 2:51
10 Youtiful 3:29
11 THE SOUND (Korean Ver.) 2:58
12 Mixtape : Time Out 2:55

Album Theme

Stray Kids aimed to party it up while still supplying the good, positive vibes and they achieved their goal.

Production Credits

Versachoi, Chae Kang-hae, Restart, Zack Djurich, Millionboy, Trippy, Nickko Young, Kyle Reynolds, Chris LaRocca, and Jun2, and band member, Felix, worked on the album’s production.

Stream

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