Reviews

Stray Kids “ROCK-STAR” Album Review

ROCK-STAR

Stray Kids

  • Genre: K-Pop
  • Date: 10 Nov, 2023
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Track(s): 8
  • ℗ 2023 JYP Entertainment

Stray Kids &Quot;Rock-Star&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, April 13, 2024

Released on November 10, 2023, through JYP Entertainment and Republic Records, Rock-Star is the eighth album (thirteenth overall) by the South Korean boy band Stray Kids. It comes five months after the release of their third studio album, 5-Star. Versachoi, Cubeatz, Willie Weeks, Millionboy, Nickko Young, and Jun2 collaborated on the EP with Huiroaerak, 3Racha, and the group’s in-house production crew, which was based on the Korean four-character idiom of feelings. Among its eight tracks are the lead hit “Lalalala” and the Korean rendition of “Social Path,” which features Japanese singer-songwriter Lisa.

Rock-Star sold 1,885,065 copies in South Korea on release day, according to the Hanteo Chart. After selling 3,650,904 copies of the limited and regular editions and 177,901 copies of the Nemo edition, the EP debuted at the top of the Circle Album Chart. In Australia, France, and Germany, Rock-Star peaked at number two.

Album Art

Stray Kids &Quot;Rock-Star&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, April 13, 2024

The album Art is a colourful mix that seems to spell out the album title while making psychedelic references to the colours. The artwork captures the essence of the music, creating a visual representation of the album’s vibrant and trippy sound. Each colour and design choice adds depth to the experience, immersing listeners in a visually stimulating journey.

Tracks And Features

The EP’s dynamic opener, “Megaverse,” has an imposing sound, a booming bass, and a fusion of their unique sound. It’s a tiny taste of their true potential that shines through as the EP progresses. Lyrically, it’s another chance for Stray Kids to show off their creativity. They prefer to claim they are competing against themselves and that rankings and data don’t mean as much as their fulfilment. Lyrics such as “My place is at the top” may imply otherwise. These lyrics reflect a sense of ambition and drive within Stray Kids. While they prioritize personal growth and artistic expression, they also desire to reach the pinnacle of success. This juxtaposition adds depth to their music, showcasing their multifaceted nature as artists.

With its aggressive, in-your-face attitude and punchy rap rhymes, “Comflex” features Stray Kids at their most chaotic and amusing. Like “S-Class” before it, Bang Chan can make even the most ostentatious statement seem genuine in this song when they “flex” their complexities. But when reality sets in, that’s when they’re at their best. By exposing their openness and unfiltered feelings in these situations, Stray Kids helps listeners relate to them on a deeper level. Their thoughtful and playful sides clash, which deepens the music and accentuates their range as musicians.

“Blind Spot” highlights the mental labour and hard work behind the scenes. They sing over distorted synths and a lively rhythm beat. The lyrics stress their sacrifices for their profession by delving into the difficulties and challenges they encounter as artists. It serves as a reminder that there is more to their accomplishment than first appears, highlighting both their resiliency and vulnerability. Heartfelt lyrics and catchy instrumentals make for a strong and relevant song for listeners.

In “Cover Me,” a delicate ballad, Hyunjin reunites with producer Nickko Young and Bang Chan, posing the question, “Why do I feel so lonely on this night?” It’s the kind of vulnerable midnight reflection one could anticipate from Hyunjin, made more poignant by the members’ powerful vocal talents. Seungmin excels, particularly throughout the track’s breathtaking bridge. His passionate performance captures the unadulterated feelings of loneliness and desire, giving the song deeper meaning. Hyunjin, Bang Chan, and Nickko Young’s partnership once again demonstrates a successful recipe, producing a poignant piece that profoundly connects with listeners.

“Leave” is the only romantic track on the EP. The song has a timeless feel to it and a nostalgic tune. The song’s lyrics, which speak to listeners on a profoundly personal level, masterfully convey the bittersweet essence of longing and heartbreak. An intimate mood is created by combining soothing instrumentation and emotional vocals, which lasts long after the song ends.

A strong guitar riff and some soul-baring begin “Social Path,” the penultimate track. The members chant, “Gave up my youth for my future,” delivering their confession with similar sorrow and hunger. This album’s Korean re-recording of the collaboration with Japanese singer LiSA sounds anthemic, as most Stray Kids songs do, and the lyrics read like a Tumblr post. The song was initially released in Japan in late August. Put another way, it’s the concern of someone who experienced it firsthand and is so direct and vulnerable.

The relentless beat of “MIROH” from 2019 and the tense explosiveness and piercing poetry of “God’s Menu,” their 2020 single, are both expertly captured in “LALALALA.” But instead of trying to prove their worth or knowledge, “LALALALA” is a celebration. To put it more simply, it’s a happy expression. Han urges, “Blast away the silence and negative energy,” which makes the song’s chorus even more captivating. Fans are treated to an even more intense emotional experience with the EP’s “rock version” of the single, which concludes the record.

 

Tracklist

NO TITLE TIME
1 MEGAVERSE 3:05
2 LALALALA 3:02
3 BLIND SPOT 3:20
4 COMFLEX 2:52
5 Cover Me 3:11
6 Leave 3:39
7 Social Path (feat. LiSA) 3:17
8 LALALALA 3:07

Album Summary

At twenty-seven minutes and twenty-seven seconds, eight tracks make up Rock-Star. The group is unstoppable; that much is true. With no indications of slowing down, they continue on their upward trajectory. This is merely a prelude to the subsequent significant event. To create an unbreakable image, even the most successful rock artist uses performativity to support their story. Unaffected by reality, they live in their universe. This, combined with the group’s new discography, makes the collection even more enticing. It is an intense and poignant reminder that confidence and self-love will only take them so far before those cracks appear. Little wandering youngsters will eventually face reality, no matter how hard they try to be unaffected by achievement.

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