[Review] Side Effects – Stray Kids

One of the two big-name artists in the industry at the moment making their comeback today is Stray Kids. While Stray Kids may not be exactly established yet (a few more successful comebacks will be needed to consolidate that), there is no denying their growing popularity, especially after the success of their last comeback, Miroh. Their comeback today is featured on the second part of their Clé series, Yellow Wood, which is the group’s first ever single album.

The title track for this comeback is Side Effects. I find the trance elements that the song features to be undeniably appropriate for the Summer season, the season filled to the brim of energy. Just Stray Kids manages to mould the intensity into something that I personally have never seen. The song does not stop with its boldness and bass, which I think makes it so unique. There were brief moments of silence or slowness throughout the song that did provide some relief but there was always another element (let it be vocals or raps) to continue the momentum. Talking about the vocals and raps, this song is just another example of the group’s talents and potential. If Side Effect‘s instrumental throws its intensity at you, the vocals and rapping slap you across the face. Props to Seungmin and Felix for their deep tone moments, with the latter finally getting an opportunity to shine in a title track. As you can tell, I am extremely enthusiastic about this track and the energy that comes off on it keeps me on the edge of my seat (despite the many listens that I have already gone through).

There seems to be a complex story brewing within the series. It seems to be connected to Miroh, with Hyunjin fighting another member in both videos. So clearly, the centre member in this series is Hyunjin. I did notice some similarities to their debut music video (District 9), which was very interesting (i.e. bus, security camera view, the lyrics talk about a pill, fencing etc.). My brief understanding is that the members are roaming around freely. Hyunjin seems to be on edge for some reason, attacking Seungmin and becoming frustrated with Felix. The reason why, well, I guess we have to wait until the next comeback to see what is going on. (I did read a few theories on Instagram, which seems to connect back to District 9). Standalone, I think the video does a good job of conveying the tone of the song.

But what is the message of the song? Well, it is all about being overly insecure and worrisome, especially about how this mind state could influence how you perceive the world (i.e. Hyunjin vs. the members in the video). Someone pointed out (in the comments on YouTube) that there are 9 additional backup dancers in the background, potentially representing the demons of each member. Very interesting theory. As for the routine, I think this is another fully captivating performance to keep your eyes open for. 

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.7/10

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