Song of the Week delves into the new songs we just can’t get out of our heads. Find these tracks and more in our Spotify Top Songs playlist, and for our favorite new songs from emerging artists, check out our Spotify New Sounds playlist. This week, the Stray Kids are back for their latest comeback with the single “S-Class.”
The members of Stray Kids – Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, HAN, Felix, Seungmin, and IN – have the knack of transforming when they step on stage. In conversation or interviews, the band members are polite and pleasant; However, their performance personalities are another story.
The Stray Kids are known for producing unapologetically loud music (they recorded it in 2021 not easy They derided the criticism, with the album’s artwork emphasizing that they had very much in on the joke). Their in-house production team, 3RACHA, consists of members Bang Chan, Changbin, and HAN, who also shape the band’s lyrical direction, with Bang Chan in particular.
Stray Kids’ music gives them room to be more ostentatious and provocative than they might be off stage. Take 2022’s “3RACHA” for example, where Han shrugs off the line “Yeah, I’m famous,” or later when Bang Chan delivers, “Our copyrighted numbers will never stop” / “Because we’re still building, keep coming/ Why are you angry?” (With nearly 100 songwriting credits to his name already, it’s a suppleness he’s able to back up.)
With their latest release, a full project titled 5 stars, Stray Kids broke a huge record: 4.93 million pre-orders were taken, and it now holds the title of the most pre-ordered album in K-pop history. Anticipation was clearly high, and the lead single, “S-CLASS,” delivers all the energy the group is known for. “They wonder how the spotlight is so bright,” Felix sings before the crew dives into a sparkling chorus, then drops into one of her best dance breaks.
As seriously as they take their work, there is a flip side to the coin with Stray Kids that leaves room for an abundance of silliness. Parts of the music video for “S-Class” are ridiculous – alien attack? security! The cute choreographer in the stairwell got raided? Why not! It’s fun, it’s an infectious dynamic, and it verges on camp. Stray Kids’ star keeps rising, and they bring us all with them, sitting in the S-class—which, according to Seungmin, is the most luxurious place.
— Mary Sirocci