[Review] Astronaut – Stray Kids

Last month, Stray Kids made a start to their upcoming Clé: Levanter comeback with the release of Double Knot. The second pre-release single and official comeback was scheduled for November 9th and 25th, respectively. However, due to the unexpected departure of Woojin from the group, the release of both parts of the comeback was postponed. Their comeback is not been rescheduled for 9th of December, which gives times for the group to replant their new tracks in preparation for an 8-man lineup. Today, we see the release of Astronaut, the second pre-release single expected on their upcoming mini-album.

Astronaut is probably their most generic and standard track yet. That is not a bad thing, though. I still had a kick-ass time listening to the track. There is an infusion of energy in this generic form of EDM that really makes you think of good times. Actually, it makes you want to have a good time. But while the instrumental was typical, their vocal work and rapping delivery had the very important job of not making the track feel that way as a whole. And I think they successfully nailed it. The vocals were quite smooth, adding a nice contrasting to the standard EDM we got. The rapping was rather dynamic. I liked the melody they brought in via the rap sequences. It also brought in character to the song, which made it even more appealing. Overall, I thought Astronaut was a great pre-release single. Though it makes me wonder. With two very different tracks (Double Knot and Astronaut), how will the upcoming album pan out?

Eagle-eyed fans noticed that there were nine members in the music video, which is definitely a treat for fans. Though for the most part, Woojin was edited out of the music video and I wouldn’t be surprised if some scenes were reshot. As part of the Clé series, you know Astronaut is somehow connected to rest of the video. Hyunjin is the main character, as suggested by the ending of Side Effects. We also see a glimpse of the vehicle that the members rode in in Side Effects, which shocked Hyunjin for a moment (it looked like a prequel, but that scene seems to suggest otherwise). Bangchan and I.N are also now seen as important figures in the story, shown in this music video. We also get an additional suggestion that this series is somehow linked to District 9 (which I pointed out in Side Effects) based on their white clothing at the end.  Other than that, I am not too sure about the ‘storyline’ of the video. Theories would be nice. And you can expect an upcoming ‘Music Video Theory’ post about this series sometime in the next year once I am a little freer to sit down and analysis every single detail of this confusing series.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Review] Double Knot – Stray Kids

I will post my review for Kei’s solo debut tomorrow. 

A lot of male comebacks this week from what I have noticed. And to add to the influx of male groups is Stray Kids. They are gearing up for a future comeback as they released a mysterious teaser which featured Double Knot, District 9: Unlock, Astronaut and Clé: LEVANTER. Double Knot was confirmed to be a single release and District 9: Unlock is going to be their first concert. No word on what Astronaut and Clé: LEVANTER are but my guess is another single (or possibly title track) and mini-album. Double Knot is also the first release from Stray Kids since Side Effects.

The way Double Knot is presented to us is slightly different from the upbeatness and energy that we got from Miroh and the intensity that we got from Side Effects. At the exact same time, however, I think the energy and intensity are still there. But rather, it is very subtle in this hip hop dance track. I found the track to be fierce and very masculine, a side of Stray Kids that I would say we haven’t from the group since their debut days. The rapping is very well in this song, which I think is a common thing when it comes to hip-hop like tracks from Stray Kids. The vocals were also equally as nice. I also want to comment on the fact that the song felt like it held itself back. Obviously, it wasn’t as powerful or explosive like their two title tracks from this year. But, in a way, it creates suspense for their impending comeback that we know will either happen in November or December this year.

That fierceness is definitely transformed into their more urban edgy music video. In this video, it looks like Stray Kids is a gang in the back alleyways. I also feel like the subtle nature of the song really brings out a different tougher vibe to the group, which makes them look very good. I liked the many transitions that were used in this video, which made things feel so much smoother. It isn’t something that you would expect in this video, however. One clear example has to be when the video transitioned between Jisung, Bangchan, Jisung (again), Woojin and Seungmin (around 0:30 of the video). That looked cool and really drew my attention to the rest of the video. There are clues to what Astronaut might be and also elements that tie this video to their previous videos. So it will be interesting to see how Double Knot fits into the storyline.

The dance was equally as impressive. One thing I haven’t mentioned is that the entire comeback comes off as epic. But I  held onto that comment until the choreography because that is what I felt when I watched the choreography for the first time. The initial pose looked really cool. And I like how tough their chorus looked, aligning itself with their previous comebacks despite the different nature of the song.

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

[Special] Top 10 Personal Favourite Songs from 1st Half of 2019

As I have been mentioning over the past 2 weeks, I reflect over the 1st half of 2019 through two posts. The first post is the recap of the Number 1 songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts for the period between July 2018 to June 2019 and this was published last week. The second post is my pick for most favourite songs from the first half of the year. This is irrespective of the charts (or any charts for that matter) and reviews, as sometimes my favourite songs don’t reach the top. I have listed 10 songs below, in no particular order, which I believe represent the best of the best that 2019 has offered to us so far.

Boogie Up – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Q&A – Cherry Bullet

Woowa – DIA

Side Effects – Stray Kids

The Fifth Season (SSFWL) – Oh My Girl

Zimzalabim – Red Velvet

Valkirye – ONEUS

No – CLC

Sunrise – GFriend

L.O.V.E – Park Ji Hoon

I wanted to add a few more but think limiting myself to 10 would probably be best, otherwise, I’d be copying and pasting majority of 2019’s releases onto this page.

Do you agree with my picks? What about your favourite tracks of 2019 so far? Comment down below!

[Album Review] Clé 2: Yellow Wood (1st Special Album) – Stray Kids

Today’s album review will be focusing on Stray Kids’ latest release. As you can tell by the title of the post, this isn’t the traditional album release from Stray Kids, like in past comebacks. Apart from three new songs (which includes their latest title track, Side Effects), the album also compiles their 4 past mixtape tracks, which were previously only found on the physical version of each of their 4 past mini-albums. Usually, I do not review these mixtape tracks. But as this is a special album, I have decided to make an exception.

Clé 2: Yellow Wood Album Cover

1..Road Not Taken (밟힌 적 없는 길) – Kickstarting Yellow Wood is an introductory track that throws you into the deep end, with the song featuring a very energetic and robust electronic dance instrumental. Interestingly, we do not get that same level of energy that comes from the vocals or raps. But the seriousness in their voices reminds us that they are not here to mess around with. And I think this contrast is spectacular, matching the inspirational nature of the lyrics. I really like the drop, foreshadowing the exact same glitchy effect in the title track. It is rather disappointing that it was a short one, as I would love to hear a full track out of it. (9/10)

2. Side Effects (부작용) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Side Effects. (10/10)

3. TMT (별생각) – The third new track on this mini-album is TMT. The first thing I noticed about the track is that it takes a more ordinary approach, compared to the previous two tracks. It relies less on theatrics and a dramatic instrumental, refocusing on the vocals and rapping techniques of the group (which I did enjoy). With this more ordinary and less intense approach, the track feels like a potential GOT7 title track, especially after the release of Eclipse. I really like whiney synth in the background of the chorus, giving the song a memorable sound. It is not necessarily a stand out track from the group but it still contains a kick that I enjoyed. (8/10)

4. Mixtape #1Mixtape #1 (originally from their first mini-album, I Am Not) is a standard track, structure wise. It is surprising to hear such a pleasant sound from the group, which is very different from what we are used from Stray Kids. It showcases the vocals of the group, which I think was very nice, especially in an album that features District 9 (which was loaded with raps and intensity from memory) as its title track. Mixtape #1 talks about self-deception into thinking that you got everything under control to achieve what you want later. Overall, a nice track. (8/10)

5. Mixtape #2Mixtape #2 featured on the group’s second mini-album, I Am Who. The track features acoustic guitars, miles away from the dance tracks that Stray Kids have presented us. It focuses purely on vocals, with the rappers even opting for a more melodic form of rapping for the track. The lyrics focus on the bonds created between the members of the group and the bond formed between Stray Kids and Stays (their fan club), along with how they will not give up. I find them all singing at the end to be a very impactful moment, given the message of the track. Soothing and peaceful, a stand out track that I can’t believe I opted to miss out on when I reviewed I Am Who. (9/10)

6. Mixtape #3 – I know these songs are probably not connected in any way. But Mixtape #3 takes the acoustic nature from Mixtape #2 and redefines it into an upbeat sound. Once again, it is vocally driven. But I find the rapping in this track to be impactful and attention-grabbing, emerging as a strong component. But ruling the track has to be the beautiful sounding melodies. I also like how it doesn’t necessarily feature the members singing together but you can feel their presence as a group at the end of the track. (8/10)

7. Mixtape #4 – Featured on the group’s fourth mini-album (Clé 1: Miroh), this is the style I had expected more when it comes to the term ‘mixtape’. The track is more intense than any of the other mixtapes on this album and it feels more aligned with the title tracks we have heard thus far. The track talks about pushing forward regardless of any troubles. The rapping is more dominant, which is a nice change up to line-up. The vocals were good, but I felt like they were a little weaker, especially around the chorus. But still good, overall. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

Clé 2: Yellow Wood Teaser Image

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[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

[Album Review] Clé 1 : MIROH (4th Mini Album) – Stray Kids

Apologies for the missed album review on Sunday. As a result, I will be publishing another tomorrow to compensate for it, or else I will fall very behind on my schedule. In the meantime, this is the weekly Friday album review post! Stray Kids made their comeback on the 25th of April with both Clé 1: MIROH and the title track, Miroh. Since then, they have been releasing special videos for a number of the tracks on the album. It seems like this is a common thing for Stray Kids and I may compile a special review of these videos later on. However, for now, here is the album review for Clé 1: MIROH.

Clé 1: MIROH Album Cover

1..Miroh (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Miroh. (9.5/10)

2. Victory Song (승전가) – Stray Kids throws you intensity right, left and centre in Victory Song. Listening to the track, it is loaded with that hip-hop sound that Stray Kids started off with their mixtape. And it honestly been a while since I have personally heard a hip-hop dance track like this and really enjoyed it. Starting the song off are some sirens, which just tell you that it is going to be one hell of a track. The song then moves onto rapping and we are treated to a very deep whisper by Felix, who does a really good job building suspense for the track. The way the song is set up allows for the rappers to really shine, but the vocals were also quite good. The chorus is extremely strong, with their chanting union of the line ‘Listen to this Victory Song’ very memorable. (9/10)

3. Maze of Memories (잠깐의 고요)Maze of Memories is also very intense. But it takes a different approach that Victory Song or the title track. The song starts off with a light-ish piano piece to build up the song (To me, the piano piece reminds me of the waiting music you hear when you are waiting for a computer game to load up). But the song takes a sudden turn for the chorus, delving into a rock instrumental. Interesting, it returns to the piano piece for the second verse, which I thought was rather cool. And this allows for the rock instrumental to be even more profound when it returns once again. Even more impressively, all the members rap throughout the song. I don’t think I heard any vocals and I think that is quite cool. Felix, Seungmin and Bangchan’s English lines did take me by surprise, which I don’t really understand why. But I guess it is might be because I have not heard an extended sequence like so that much. (10/10)

4. Boxer – Following the intense trend on this album, Boxer seems to be a very appropriate title for a track on this album. And like the title, the song centres itself around boxing, with the chorus acting like a boxing tutorial that I think might just work if you are wanting a workout (though, don’t trust me on this as I do not work out in any way). Once again, the rappers are at the forefront of the song, dominating for most of the verses and choruses. But the vocalists were still quite good in their limited sections. As for the instrumental, there is a more electronic influence, with the scratchy chorus and very intense fast vibrating synth accompanied by the bells you hear commonly in boxing matches. To me, it isn’t the stand out track on the album but it still quite good. (8/10)

5. ChronosaurusChronosaurus is appealing for several factors. The song starts off with a tone that seems to refocus on the vocalists of the song. It is much more melodic, and the rappers appeared to be scattered throughout the song, rather than the vocalists like in the previous tracks. The song isn’t as intense, providing some relief after the overload of intensity we have gotten so far. It also has a slower tempo, which allows us to really appreciate the song in a more wholesome way. I also liked the instrumental. Still quite dynamic but it’s different in its own way. I think the best part has to the eerie bridge. I really liked Bang Chan, Woojin and Seungmin’s vocals in this section. It really goes well with all the Western songs that I listen to and it makes the final chorus even more impactful once it comes along. (9/10)

6. 19 – When you see the number 19 in the context of KPOP songs, you automatically think of the strict broadcasting laws video content must be branded with. However, this is not the case for Stray Kid’s 19. The song is a slow R&B track that showcases both the rappers and vocalists evenly. I think the song talks about their hardship at the age of 19, which I think is the final age before people become ‘adults’ in Korea (don’t quote me on this, however). I really like the moody instrumental of the track which seems emotional and reflective, but the deep R&B vibes also fit Stray Kids’ portfolio. It didn’t appeal automatically to my taste, but the song grew on me after a while and I think, now, is quite good. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.9/10

Clé 1: MIROH Teaser Image

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[Review] Miroh – Stray Kids

Stray Kids have returned with their first 2019 comeback. Last year, the male group made their debut with District 9, and continued promotions throughout the entire year with My Pace and I Am YOU. If you ask me, that is an extremely busy year for a rookie group. Today, the group dropped their 4th mini-album, Clé 1 : MIROH. But they released the music video for Miroh 18 hours prior to the album drop, which was extremely unexpecting. But hey, I am not complaining.

Miroh is an even more intense sound than any of their previous releases. But we don’t really get a sense of that intensity at the start but you can definitely sense the exponential buildup as we head towards the chorus. Instead, we open with Felix’s deep tone voice and sirens layered over birds tweeting. We are then lead into a nice vocal verse. Out of nowhere, the intensity picks up and the rappers come at us with a very powerful rap pre-chorus (also my favourite part of the song). Continuing the momentum is the chorus, which takes a half-instrumental piece and half singing approach. I actually quite like this and thought the song was extremely dynamic due to the dance influence the instrumental featured.  I also find the ‘Woah-Oh-Oh’ very addictive as well, as it seems to provide relief after all the intensity. The fade-out was also nice. Not too typical for a dance song like this but given its heavy-handed nature, I think it works excellently, My personal biggest issue with the song has to be how short it felt. Two choruses in and I actually wanted more, though I am not sure how I would handle more.

I am personally not sure what the song is 100% about. My interpretation of the lyrics is that the song talks about reaching new heights and being yourself in the process (but this may be wrong). I like how the video relates to the song in a more literal sense, however. The members are singing about the concrete jungle and how they ‘ran to the next city’ to go ‘higher in the next city’. And we see that. We see the members taking over the city from the rich men who run it by leading another rebellion. We see them on top of buildings, performing their choreography. It all works out well. I like how the edgy feel of the song seeps onto the video. Furthermore, I enjoyed the editing in this video, which made everything feel so intense.

Big ticks for this choreography. The best part has to be the chorus for me, where the song peaks. And there is nothing better than the peak of a song! Definitely intense and I always like a jump that is timed with the song.

Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10

[Special] 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist Categories Results

Welcome back to the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards! On the 1st of December 2018, I presented my readers with many categories filled with talented and deserving nominees for the 2018 KPORPEVIEWED Awards. For the month of December, all of you voted for your favourite artists and songs from January 2018 to November 2018. And today, I present to you who the winners of each category were.

This is the first section, which will look at the categories surrounding the artists including Best New Groups, Best Female and Male Groups and many others.

Each category will have a WINNER (the artist/group that received the highest amount of fan votes), Honourable Mention (the artist/group that received the second highest amount of fan votes) and KPOPREVIEWED Choice (who I voted for).

So, drum roll please, for the winners of the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Artist categories.

Best New Male Group

Nominees – ATEEZ, NOIR, Stray Kids, The Boyz, UNB


WINNER – Stray Kids
Honourable Mention – The Boyz
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – The Boyz

Best New Female Group

Nominees – fromis.9, (G)I-DLE, IZ*ONE, LOONA, NATURE


Honourable Mention – LOONA
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – fromis.9

Best New Soloist

Nominees – Kim Dong Han, Leo (VIXX), LONGGUO, SOHEE (ELRIS), Yuri (SNSD)


Honourable Mention – Leo (VIXX)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Dong Han

Rising Star

Nominees – (G)I-DLE, Lovelyz, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Pentagon


Honourable Mention – Pentagon
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Momoland

Most Underrated Artist of the Year

Nominees – A.C.E, CLC, N.Flying, KARD, Snuper


Honourable Mention – CLC
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – N.Flying

Best Unit Group / Subunit

Nominees – EXO-CBX, NCT 127, NCT Dream, Oh My Girl BANHANA, SNSD-Oh!GG


Honourable Mention – SNSD-Oh!GG

Best Male Solo Artist

Nominees – Eric Nam, Hwang Chi Yeul, Jung Sewoon, Samuel, Seungri (Big Bang)


WINNER – Seungri (Big Bang)
Honourable Mention – Eric Nam
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Eric Nam

Best Female Solo Artist

Nominees – BoA, Hyolyn, Kim Chungha, Sunmi, Taeyeon (SNSD)


WINNER – Taeyeon (SNSD)
Honourable Mention – Sunmi

Best Band

Nominees – DAY6, IZ, N,Flying, The East Light, The Rose


Honourable Mention – The Rose

Best Raps

Nominees – B.I (iKON), Ilhoon (BTOB), Jooheon (Monsta X), Mino (WINNER), RM (BTS)


Honourable Mention – Mino (WINNER)
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Jooheon (Monsta X)

Best Vocals

Nominees – BOL4, BTOB, Hwang Chi Yeul, Mamamoo, Minseo


WINNER – Mamamoo
Honourable Mention – BTOB
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo

Best Male Group

Nominees – BTOB, BTS, EXO, GOT7, iKON, Monsta X, NCT, NU’EST W, Pentagon, Seventeen, SF9, SHINee, VIXX, Wanna One, Winner


Honourable Mention – SHINee

Best Female Group

Nominees – AOA, APRIL, BLACKPINK, CLC, Dream Catcher, EXID, GFriend, Lovelyz, Mamamoo, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, TWICE, Weki Meki, WJSN (Cosmic Girls)


WINNER – Red Velvet
Honourable Mention – BLACKPINK
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Mamamoo

Artists Who Topped The Weekly KPOP Charts The Most in 2018

This is not a fan-voted category


WINNER – Monsta X, Seventeen & Sunmi

And that completes the Artist Categories for the 2018 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. The Song Categories will be unveiled shortly and you can access it by clicking here!

And for the End of Year Charts – they will be out tomorrow. I will update this post with the link once it is out.

Thank you for all voting and checking out who you all selected to be the winners! I hope to do this again for 2019!

[Album Review] I Am You (3rd Mini Album) – Stray Kids

Stray Kids returned last week with I Am You, the title to their latest promotional track and mini-album. And while I have reviewed their title track, I have yet to look at their album. So today, that is why we are all here! I have reviewed their I Am Who mini-album, which was released back in August and plan to review their debut mini-album (I Am Not) soon! But before we give Stray Kids another opportunity to complete another I Am… sentence, let’s begin the album review.

I Am You Album Cover

2. I Am YOU (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of I Am YOU. (8/10)

3. My Side (편) My Side takes both light and heavy rock sound, mashing them up to create one good track. I have to admit each section does seem like it came from different songs as transitions between the vocal and rap sections weren’t really there (they just cut to the other). I like the intensity that the rap sections (and the final section of the song) give, while the vocals provide us with some melodic moments and relief from the intensity. I feel like the vocals were superior, but the rapping was also quite good. (9/10)

4. Hangover Soup (해장국)Hangover Soup has this emotional vibe which makes it an exceptional song. The song felt like it began with a much higher tempo and the tempo gradually decreased as the song went on. Not 100% sure whether this was technically true, but it sure felt that way. The vocals and the raps were all tweaked to fit the slower R&B feels that this song features. And it actually resulted in some high-quality delivery of lines and nice falsettos that attracts my attention. Paired with the minimalistic instrumental, I thought this was a very impactful and cool song. (9/10)

5. Get Cool – This song takes a little different turn, with a more light-hearted and fun instrumental. Matching with this is the happier tone in the vocals and raps. I personally don’t mind this song, but no matter how times I listen to it, I can’t seem to get into it. It has a nice rhythm and the fact that is a brighter track makes it stand out. But I think when it comes to Stray Kids, I think I have associated them with a little more intensity and energy, rather than a light-hearted song. (8/10)

6. N/S (극과극) – It seems like N/S stands for ‘North/South’ and N/S goes for a prominent hip-hop tune. What is also interesting is that this song doesn’t really focus on vocals. All the members dabble into rapping of some form, which I think is rather interesting. Usually, these songs make rappers into vocalist, so it is a little unique to have vocals turn into rappers. And if you know me, I don’t tend to enjoy these songs as much. But this one is quite good. It has a nice rhythm and relative simple lyrics that repeat over and over again, allowing it to be engraved into your mind. (8.5/10)

7. 0325 – With the title corresponding with their debut date (25th of March) and the presence of the sirens in their song reminding me of District 9, I expected something along the lines of their debut track. But we get a slightly different track which sounds as good. It doesn’t have that hip-hop or dance feel to it but there is enough in the song to feel like a Stray Kids. I liked how the chorus picked up by using the drum beats and it contrasted nicely with the slightly slower verse. The rapping and vocals aren’t winners on this track, as compared to the other songs but they still showed some talent. Overall, another good track. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10

I Am You Teaser Image

[Review] I Am YOU – Stray Kids

The biggest secret when becoming successful in KPOP nowadays is making multiple comebacks. The very moment a gap between comebacks is a month too long, artists run the risk of being forgotten. This is especially important in the year of your debut. And Stray Kids has definitely taken this on board. With two comebacks already under their belt this year (District 9 and My Pace), the group is not going to be forgotten any time soon. And now their third comeback of the year, I Am YOU was released yesterday, so let’s have a closer look.

While District 9 and My Pace have primarily been about intensity and impact, I Am YOU takes a step back. It has been described as ‘sentimental’ on KPOP news outlets and I think that is a perfect way to describe the song. Despite that, the instrumental does have a particular Stray Kids sound to it, which I can’t really define it. Instead, when you hear it, it kind of makes sense. I thought the song had a nice melody and I liked the way the rappers were presented in the song. Vocally, this has to be their best title track yet, mainly because the step back from intensity definitely caters for their talents. The chorus was catchy (those English line at the start of the chorus are beautiful) but I feel like they could have done something to it to make it even more appealing.

The music video features scenes (and music) from the My Pace music video at the very start, which indicates that this is some sort of continuation. After the events in the previous music video, the members basically hang out with each other, creating a small oasis on the top of a building for themselves. It was nice. I did think they took a somewhat soft route in terms of issues, which does make sense but I personally felt the video was lacking. I did think the choreography scenes on the truck was cool (even though I know it is CGI) but it gave the video that kick that we got from past Stray Kids videos.

[Updated] Like the song, they have toned down the energy to make it fitting for the song. And it was quite fitting for the song. Despite it being slower, the performance felt very strong and felt equally as impactful as their more powerful dances tracks. I think the best word to describe it is ‘smooth’. The chorus was my personal favourite section as this was when the smoothness kicked in the most.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10 [Updated]
Overall Review – 8/10

[Album Review] I Am WHO? (2nd Mini Album) – Stray Kids

This is the final “catch up” album review as I plan to get started on some album review for new releases this weekend. This is also the first time I will be reviewing Stray Kids’ album, who made their debut earlier this year with District 9. However, I am WHO? is the title for their more recent album, which features My Pace (link below) as the main title track. The group has also been releasing performance videos (or mv-like videos for all their tracks, so I linked down below so you can view them (simply click on the link at the title of the song).

I Am WHO? Album Cover

1..WHO? – I do not commonly review the introductory track. But this one was much longer than most intro tracks and featured lyrics, which isn’t something too common. It is performed by Woojin, Felix and Han. A few of the titles of the songs on the album pop up in this track but I think it was a coincidence rather than intentional. I like the vocal and rapping elements in this introduction, my favourite being Woojin’s whispering. (8/10)

2. My Pace (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review of My Pace. (9/10)

3. VoicesVoices is the hip-hop song that fulfils my craving for hip-hop, a genre that I don’t often delve into. It reminds me of the hip-hop songs that you commonly get in the Western industries back in the ‘00s. The song has a very impactful sound that is very rough around the edges but is quite heavy in terms of emotion. I thought the song showcases both their rapping and vocal potential, something I haven’t heard from them yet. I really like the roughness and intensity that the rappers bring to the song and the chorus was superb and melodic. (9.5/10)

4. QuestionQuestion gets the album on a more upbeat and energetic note. In this song, we see different rap and vocal styles that we haven’t heard on the album yet. Whoever did the whispering rap section that opened the second verse sounds so good (I have replayed the song multiple times for that one section). I like entire chorus as it is however thought Felix’s English hook post-chorus extremely catchy and the main selling point of the song. The song does feel like it is missing something though, but I cannot pinpoint what that is. (8/10)

5. Insomnia (불면증) – While I did like other songs on the album more than Insomnia, I think it was the first song to jump out at me to confirm its album review. I thought the song was extremely dynamic, with its soft start and very unexpecting chaotic chorus drop. The fluctuations in the energy from the different sections is very interesting, which I think makes sense given the title of the song. Once again, the vocals and raps were quite good. But since I tend to listen to albums prior to going to sleep, this one isn’t too ideal for that period. (8/10)

6. M.I.A – I personally do not like to label songs as the ‘weakest song’ but it gives you an idea of what type of songs I like from an artist and what I don’t like. This one was a miss for me. I am not a fan of heavy autotune, so with majority of the song being filtered with the autotuned didn’t do much for me. On the plus side, however, the song was quite smooth. Vocals were good but I think some of the rapping in this song was more enjoyable (as it gave the song some roughness to offset the smoothness). Besides that, I don’t have much to say about the song. (6.5/10)

7. Awkward Silence (갑자기 분위기 싸해질 필요 없잖아요) – Ending the album is Awkward Silence, which is extremely fun and playful. A different route once again when compared to the rest of the album. I actually really like the song. The crow squawking during the ‘awkward silence’ just before the chorus was a very nice touch and gave the song that ‘not-so-serious’ element. I thought the bridge of the song was quite nice and Felix’s random inserts were quite enjoyable (also love the Australian accent that trickles in – Australia Represent!). It ends the album on a happier note, which I quite like. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10 [FIXED]

I Am WHO? Teaser Image


[Review] My Pace – Stray Kids

Stray Kids are back with their very first comeback since their debut, District 9, in April this year. My Pace is the name of the title track for their second mini-album, I Am Who, which follows in the footsteps of their rap-heavy and hip-hop dominated debut track. In between the promotions for District 9 and My Pace, the group also followed up their debut promotions with Mirror (a single from their first mini-album).

From the very start, the one word that can describe the song very accurately is ‘energetic’. There is no moments in the song that felt it lacked energy or intensity, for that matter. And that makes it a perfect fit for the most active season of the year. Even the start of the song, the rough and deep ‘NaNaNaNa‘ by Changbin really grabs your attention and kicks the song off with a punch. The rapping in this song continues this momentum with the vocals giving a moment of relief from the punches we keep on getting. The chorus was very simple but works extremely well with the rap heavy side of the song. I really like the very heavy-handed approach on the instrumental which basically goes back to that energetic aspect of the song. My most favourite part was the suspense filled launch into the final chorus which just nudged the song along that bit further. Overall, the song was awesome and impactful.

The various scenes that make up the video are stringed together so well that it made the music video feel that much edgier when paired with the song. I liked how the camera shots got up close and personal with the members, giving us different angles that we don’t see so much of today. The uNDerground street racing concept was really good as well, fitting both the song and their image. Not too keen on the random break we got just before the bridge, because that cuts the energy. But other than that, a really good video.

The choreography reminds me of Block B. Maybe because it has that wild side that I do recognise from the senior boy group. And like the song, the performance does pack a punch, leaving us energy depleted (because listening to an energetic track and watching a very active performance is really energy draining!) and wanting more.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10

[Review] Mirror – Stray Kids

Stray Kids have had a pretty successful debut so far with District 9. While there doesn’t seem to be too much competition with other new male groups so far this year, Stray Kids have already made a name for themselves in the overseas market. To keep people talking about them, Stray Kids will be following up with Mirror, which is a track off their debut mini-album, I Am Not.

Mirror seems to follow their previous title tracks with its dance-based songs. Interestingly, this song is less intense than their previous songs and it leans toward a pop sound during the chorus. It is an interesting mix, going back and forth to the EDM. Even more interesting is the fact there was a complete slowdown during the bridge, which my opinion worked nicely. This particular sound does allow for the vocals to be heard and they did flourish. We got a taster in District 9 but it would have been interesting to hear more of the vocals (since their songs are already rap dominating), particularly  on a different canvas. While I understand that this may be a little plain for some people, it proved one thing for me. Despite their deep voices and dance-centred title tracks, versatility might be another aspect to keep an eye out. But going back to Mirror, it was a pretty good song overall.

We don’t really have a music video. Rather, earlier this week, they dropped their ‘performance version’, which serves as the promotional video. I feel that while the video looks like it is in line with their debut and pre-release, they could have added something more to make it interesting. For example, a set change for when we launch into the chorus would have made this video pop more and become more memorable. Despite that though, they did do a great job channelling the tough vibes.

What makes the video interesting is the performance rather than the visuals of the video. I really like the mirroring at the start and how they ended the performance in a similar manner to the start. Their formations looked really cool and it was extremely captivating to watch.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 6.5/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Review] District 9 – Stray Kids

This week, JYP Entertainment has welcomed a brand new male group to their line-up, joining 2PM, GOT7 and DAY6. Stray Kids is a 9-member male group was formed from the reality show, Stray Kids. They released Hellevator in October last year a promotional track for the show. In January, the group released a pre-debut album titled Mixtape. Now, the boy group is back with their official debut mini-album, titled as I Am Not and the title track, District 9.

There are no surprises with the way the song turned out for me. If Hellevator and their Mixtape mini-album indicated anything, the group would be putting out a hip-hop/EDM styled song for their debut. District 9 is exactly that and it is quite intense from the very first second. The song seems to refocus on the rappers, with the majority of the song being quite rap-dominate (given how the verses, bridge and some parts of the chorus were raps). The chorus does provide some variety with the vocalists given their chance to shine in the rap-dominated song. What I noticed with this song is that there didn’t seem to be a buildup to the chorus. Instead, we were thrown into the chorus straight after the raps finished up for that part. I am not disappointed with this, however, because it felt flawless and amazing. I am personally not a big fan of the hip-hop side of KPOP but this song, combined with its dance elements, gives this group a huge advantage in the industry at the moment. It is an amazing debut song.

And this huge advantage might already be paying off. Stray Kids have become the group with the highest amount of views within 24 hours of debut. On top of that, they have accumulated more than 11 and a half million views within a span of 3 days. That is amazing, considering they just debuted 3 days ago. The music video shows the members being trapped inside a futuristic prison (that seems to be hidden from the public, like Area 51). The members seem to realize this and find a way out of the prison by crashing through the unseeable barrier and the real world (or what they dub as District 9). Kind of like how it alludes to their debut. It is a great video to watch, pairing well with the intensity of the song. The cinematography is amazing and you can tell the budget is well used with this music video.

The post-chorus sequence was really well done. The performance also went well with the song. They managed to be in sync all throughout the performance, particularly amazing me for the chorus. Their stage presence is quite large and if anything can come out of this performance is that these guys aren’t afraid to give some of the other groups a little competition when it comes to dancing.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10


[Review] Grrr (Law of Total Madness) – Stray Kids

Have you seen the winners of the 2017 KPOPREVIEWED Awards yet? If you haven’t, feel free to click here to be transferred to see who won!

Last year, as an introduction to a potential upcoming boy group by JYP Entertainment, Stray Kids unleashed Hellivator. The group then went on to compete to see who would be able to debut later this year, with all nine members confirmed to debut at the end of the show’s run. Now, they are back with a pre-debut mixtape (in the form of a mini-album) titled as Mixtape and features the main track, Grr (Law of Total Madness).

If we want to talk intensity, Stray Kids is probably the group to talk about. From the very start, there is no holding back. Instead, the group just launches right into there. The song seems to be a mixture of rock and EDM, with elements poking out at you during certain moments throughout the song. You could say that the combination turns it into a mess but given their past track, it is clear that it was intentional and definitely adds to their portfolio. It does lack something that could have made the track more catchy, in my point of view. Maybe a chorus because I felt this song’s chorus didn’t have much of a presence due to the song’s style and rap-dominance. But it is still decent to listen to. Once again, the vocals are overshadowed by the raps. So while this is just a pre-debut, I am hoping to hear a few tracks that highlight the vocal capabilities of the group in the future.

The music video is essentially the performance of this song, throwing in some closeup shots of the member. Everything felt fitting for this music video, from the shaky camera work to the industrial background. So there isn’t much else to talk about.

But the key part of the video is definitely the dance performance. That level of intensity that you could hear from the song is seen throughout the performance. In my previous review for the group, I commented on their potential and this performance just cements that. I like the ‘running towards the camera’ during the chorus and the second verse rap where some of the members are lying on the ground (at 1:30) is pretty unique.

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10


[Review] Hellevator – Stray Kids

Another song that I missed. JYP Entertainment jumped back onto the reality TV show bandwagon for their next boy group. STRAY KIDS is currently a show broadcasting in South Korea with the sole purpose of selecting members of a future boy group to debut next year. To promote the participants and show, the trainees released Hellevator, the focus of today’s review.

The first part of the track reminded me of Rhianna and Eminem’s Love The Way You Lie, which was one of the songs that got stuck in my head through my early teenage years. The way the vocals were set up reminded me eerily of the way Rhianna sang her song and the way the raps began reminded me of how Eminem rapped in the said song. Hellevator’s main attraction was the raps. There is no doubting that. And I thought the raps were really well done. They were rough and tough, much like the EDM drop that the song featured. The vocals, on the other hand, didn’t seem to connect well with that side of the song. What also yelled out to me was the intensity of the track, which basically grew larger as the song went on. It was there from the start but I think the chorus kicked it up a notch. Overall, it is a great pre-release, in my opinion.

I like the video. Ther post-apocalyptic vibes were very cool and the sets portrayed that very well. There was a small plotline in the video but for the amount of time it received, it felt unnecessary in the end. I am not going to make a summary of what I thought was going on in the video because I had no idea what was going on. But after some searching, I thought this site pretty much explained in a more cohesive manner than what I would have done. To read the synopsis, click here (3rd paragraph).

The choreography performed was really cool, as well. It seems to make their future releases look promising with such epic choreography.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10