[Album Review] GO生 (Go Live) (1st Studio Album) – Stray Kids

Stray Kids made their comeback a few weeks back with their very first studio album, GO生 (or Go Live). The main title track was God’s Menu, which has proven to be a great song in my books. It has gone on to top the Weekly KPOP Charts thanks to its powerful energy, catchy hooks and dynamism. So it was natural for me to investigate the album which it is featured on. Alongside God’s Menu, you will find familiar tracks such as Top and Slump (which were both previously released Japanese tracks), along with Gone Days and On Track (which were earlier mixtape releases that were released after their Levanter promotions). Links to the reviews for these tracks, along with my thoughts on the other sidetracks can be found below.

Image of Go Live Album Cover
Go Live Album Cover

1. Go Live (GO生) – Stray Kids is known for their powerful tracks, as their entire career so far has been predominately made up of powerful sounds. Go Live, as an introductory track, aligns the album with that association and really kicks off the album in a very suspenseful fashion. A lot of hip-hop influences in this short track. It kicks off with strong rapping from the rappers and the vocalists come in with their vocals autotuned to fit the atmosphere. I.N’s deep voice is probably the most shocking of all (did not know we had another Felix in the group) and Lee Know’s ‘I Know, You Know, We Know, Lee Know’ line has to be the most memorable of all. (7/10)

2. God’s Menu (神메뉴) Click here to read the full review of God’s Menu. (9/10)

3. EasyEasy, without doubt, continue the momentum that God’s Menu ends off with. The rapping in this song is also rapid and powerful. The vocals are autotuned. I am a little torn about this, as I am not a fan of overly autotuned vocals usually. However, as mentioned in the introductory track’s paragraph, this was the obvious direction for the vocals to fit the powerful and fast tempo nature of the song. Regarding the instrumental, it feels fairly plain in comparison to the title track, though I did like the start which added dramatic suspense to the song. I also enjoyed the dance break, which added some energy to the song. The one thing that weighs down the song is the lack of dynamic hooks, which is why I give it a slightly lower rating to their title track. (8/10)

4. Pacemaker – The fast pace instrumental of Pacemaker blasts you at the very start of the song before the members assault you (in a good sense) with their rapping and vocals. It might be overwhelming for some, but that is one of the aspects of the song that I thoroughly enjoyed. The instrumental itself takes a half step back for some of the verses, before returning to that blast of energy for the chorus. I liked how the lyrics liken their lover to a pacemaker by saying things like ‘your end is my end’. It is a captivating track full of energy and one that I recommend if you don’t mind the members and music coming at you. (9/10)

5. Airplane (비행기) – We take a step back from the intensity for something with a pop sound. There does seem to be some hip-hop influences mixed into the song, but I would categorize it more as a pop track by the song stops playing. Airplane is fun-sounding but it is nothing more than a pleasant track. There is an enjoyable level of brightness and energy in this song. And even though it may not conform to Stray Kid’s powerful sound, Airplane has a decent beat and the vocal melodies shine. I am kind of glad that the vocalists (namely Seungmin and I.N) get an opportunity to shine somewhere on this album. Their voices may have had to compete with instrumental, though they did well with what they had to work with. (8/10)

6. Another Day (일상)Another Day is another chance for the Stray Kid’s vocalists to shine. Wait, let me backtrack that statement. All members actually shine throughout this song. Joining Seungmin and I.N as vocalists in this song is Lee Know, Bang Chan and Han. And if this song needs to prove anything, those members can definitely sing. Felix, Changbin and Hyunjin took on their usual roles as rappers. Even though their parts were very constricted, their deep and raspy rap-singing lines were very pleasant and extremely fitting alongside the vocals. This is all over an instrumental predominately consisting of a mellow sounding acoustic guitar. Fitting the atmosphere of the song are the members reflecting on ‘Another Day’ in the lyrics. (8/10)

7. Phobia – Overtaking the other songs that have been branded with a 9/10 rating, in terms of quality, is Phobia. I really like how this track sound. This is a synth pop-dance track. I really like soothing the energy is for this song. While it is upbeat (which might not be a term you would associate with ‘soothing’), I find the melodies and vocals to be glide effortlessly over the instrumental and everything just balances out nicely. Their vocals and rapping in this sound, alongside with the melodies are very dynamic and catchy, which are undoubtedly strong appealing points. The song’s hooks were quite addictive and I really liked how cool the English sound in this song. Jisung handling the high note was a pleasant surprise and another drawing point to the song. (10/10)

8. Blueprint (청사진)Blueprint is the type of song that you want to have playing a theme song as you stroll down a busy suburban street on a sunny day and you interact with the other pedestrians in perfect looking montage. It is also fitting for the current Summery season. Great upbeat energy coming from this song. I like how the synth heavy the song is, but I also enjoy all the actual instrumentations poking through along the way. The members add a dynamic atmosphere to the song, which I find to be very appealing. The melody that their voices carry, especially when it came to the chorus was quite memorable. Seungmin is my pick for standout member in this song. I also like how all the members sing parts of each line at the end of the song, which adds a very happy and joyful tinge of colour to the song. I found it very hard to fault this song, hence a perfect rating. (10/10)

9. Ta (타) – Two 10/10 tracks in a row? Well, I might as well spoil it now and say that this is another 10/10 track. Ta is probably the most straightforward song on this album. The start of the song reminds me of how Miroh started with jungle sounds. But what sets Ta apart from their previous dynamic sounding title track is that it just continually builds on top of those jungle sounds, creating a party-like sound that I can’t stop gravitating to. I would gladly put this one at a party to just get it started. The melodies are addictive. Their voices are amazing. The hooks are catchy. And the atmosphere is exciting and fun. What more can you ask for? (10/10)

10. Haven – Like the previous song, Haven has this addictive and memorable party-like vibe that I am digging. It is great that the two tracks are paired next to one another, as I can play both songs without needing to skip anything in between. Haven has more of a club beat during its more upbeat moments, whilst having more of a pop sound when we are in the verses. The chorus also has this nostalgic sound it, reminding me of a few party-like sounds we have heard in KPOP. I have to admit that the rap/trap sequence in the second verse cut the flow is a slightly undesirable manner and hence I can’t give it that 10/10 rating. But everything else is worthy of a listen. (9/10)

11. Top (Korean Version)Click here to read the full review for Top. (9/10)

12. Slump (Korean Version) – The Japanese version of Slump was also released alongside Top to be part of the official soundtrack of the anime, Tower of God. I really like the pop-rock path they took with this song, which is unique and different for Stray Kids. I don’t like how the vocals were autotuned during the chorus to match the autotune that the rappers had. I felt that was unnecessary and robbed the members of a chance to show off their vocals during a powerful chorus. But it is still a good song. (8/10)

13. Mixtape: Gone Days Click here to read the full review for Gone Days. (7.5/10)

14. Mixtape: On Track (바보라도 알아)Click here to read the full review for On Track. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

Group Teaser Image for Go Live
Go Live Teaser Image

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