Stray Kids’ last comeback was back in September 2020 with their repackage album, IN LIFE, and its iconic title track: ‘Back Door.’ And yes, if you think about it that way, it’s been a long time but Stray Kids have never stopped releasing content after content, making 2021 one of their biggest years yet – all of that without a comeback.
Now that we know Stray Kids is coming back on August 23rd, it is time to recap how they’ve blessed us in the past few months.
SKZ-Records & SKZ-Players
Now, yes, Stray Kids hasn’t officially had a comeback in almost a year but they never stopped releasing music. And that’s one of the greatest things about stanning them – you never get bored because there’s always something.
They especially released a lot of content through their series on YouTube: SKZ-Record and SKZ-Player. They use this platform to release covers, original music, music videos, and even choreography videos and showcase more sides of them and their talent. The list of releases this year is quite long but their first SKZ-Player of the year remains one of the most iconic ones: ‘Maknae On Top.’ The collaboration between I.N, Bang Chan and Changbin has now more than 17M views. Changbin also collaborated with Felix in ‘Cause I Like You,’ a cute and wholesome love song released for White Day.
Seungmin opened the year with a cover of Baekhyun’s ‘Love Again’ and also covered Ha Hyunsang’s ‘3108.’ Han released three original songs: ‘Alien,’ ‘Wish You Back’ and ‘HaPpY’ – the latter two creating a storyline following his 2020 SKZ-Player ‘Close.’ And I.N released a cover of HuhGak’s ‘Memory Of Your Scent.’ All of these releases just showed further, how unique and strong their vocals are.
The month of June was the one we were the most blessed with because they were releasing something every Friday. Among those releases, they took on the vampire concept with ‘Up All Night,’ a song that included Bang Chan, Changbin, Felix, and Seungmin, that even inspired a variety show of the same name they released on YouTube. We also had Bang Chan and Lee Know taking on a more mature concept with ‘Drive.’ And the latest release was Hyunjin‘s hypnotizing and impactful choreography to Sam Tinnesz’s ‘Play With Fire.’
This series just shows how Stray Kids always go above and beyond to show what they have to offer – and they clearly have so much to offer. They keep showing different and varied sides of them, and we can’t get enough of it.
Kingdom: Legendary War
We couldn’t possibly talk about Stray Kids‘ year without talking about Kingdom.
They brought it in every single performance. They made such an impact with the remix of ‘MIROH’ they did for the introduction stage. And then they did something that no one but them could’ve thought of: a mashup of ‘Side Effects’ and ‘God’s Menu,’ their criticized song and their famous song together. No one would’ve predicted those two songs would work together because of how different they are from each other – a true statement of how varied and diverse Stray Kids’ discography is. And yet, it worked. Of course, how could we forget about the raw emotions and impactful vocals in their cover of BTOB’s ‘I’ll Be Your Man.’
They also collaborated with BTOB and ATEEZ for the unit stages: rap, dance, and vocal. While the dance unit did a cover of EXO’s ‘Wolf,’ the rap unit did an original song called ‘Playing With Paint.’ But the highlight of the first part of the third round is by far the vocal unit’s cover of ‘Love Poem’ by IU. The vocals were out of this world and this performance was lowkey too good for this show.
But as incredible as those performances are, the most iconic one is by far Stray Kids‘ clever take on BLACKPINK’s ‘DU-DDU-DU-DDU.’ They gave a certain edge to the iconic song with the more rock arrangement and totally made it theirs – all while doing justice and respecting the original version. The Deadpool concept fits their energy so well. And this performance not only earned them 15M views in the first weekend after its release but it also made everyone notice Stray Kids.
And when we say everyone, we mostly mean Ryan Reynolds – which led to many funny interactions and unbelievable stuff (such as Ryan Reynolds sending a bottle of gin to Bang Chan). But even without Ryan Reynolds in the mix, this performance really made everyone take notice of Stray Kids. And truly feels like something shifted after this.
This leads us to the last Kingdom performance: ‘WOLFGANG.’ All the previous performances hinted at this original song released for the final. The powerful song and impactful concept allowed them to win first place in Kingdom and end with this era. This show was far from perfect but, the work and effort Stray Kids put in it gave us incredible performances that we’ll never forget.
‘Going Dumb’ & ‘Mixtape: OH’
But Stray Kids didn’t release just songs on YouTube or for Kingdom. In 2021, they also served us with their first-ever collaboration. ‘Going Dumb’ was a fun EDM song they did with none other than Alesso and Corsak.
More importantly, at the end of June, Stray Kids released ‘Mixtape: OH,’ following up the project they started with ‘Mixtape: Gone Days’ in 2019. The soft and emotional song is not only absolutely incredible, but its music video also continues the storyline they started with ‘On Track’ and ‘B Me.’ This song was in more ways we could tell a true blessing and the start of a new era for Stray Kids.
Not only HAVE Stray Kids been serving when it comes to performances and music, but they also always manage to put a smile on everyone’s face with the content they keep bringing to the table.
In the past six months, Stray Kids released three different series on YouTube: SKZ-Code, Mysterious Kitchen and Up All Night. They always manage to make shows similar to variety shows, much more special. Because yes, they’re incredible musicians and artists, but they’re also very funny, and the chemistry they have is undeniable. All while being heartwarming and comforting, their content always feels special and brings us so much joy. They truly never disappoint.
And to kick off the second half of the year, Stray Kids started to release their fourth YouTube series of the year: SKZ SONG CAMP: Howl In Harmony. But this one is different from all the others.
Remember Two Kids Song from last year? When they teamed up as two and created a song based on the same beat? Well, they took that to a whole other level. They split into three teams (Han, Seungmin, and I.N; Lee Know, Changbin, and Felix; Bang Chan and Hyunjin) and showed the behind-the-scenes of their talk about the songs they will create as units. And they even talked about filming music videos for it. Them being so involved in their music makes this type of series possible and it’s truly something so special and unique to see.
So yes, Stray Kids hasn’t had a comeback in almost a year, but were they ever gone?
And now… NOEASY
Stray Kids just dropped the trailer for their first comeback of the year. And it’s not only a comeback but it’s also the release of their second full-length album: NOEASY.
If Stray Kids‘ comeback was already one of the most anticipated comebacks of the year, this trailer made it even better. This isn’t just a comeback announcement or your typical comeback trailer: this is an entire movie trailer – no joke. They take on roles of superheroes, with a similar tone to Deadpool (with jokes and breaking the fourth wall), as they fight against the “sound monster” who steals voices. Seungmin’s habit of pocking plushies’ eyes, and so much more. So yeah, it’s all fun and games until you realize they’re basically fighting to give people back their voices.
They took the criticism about their music being “noisy” and made it their concept, and there’s no bigger flex than making your biggest comeback yet all while taking a dig at your haters. One thing’s for sure: this is a comeback for Stays.
This trailer not only makes their comeback all the more exciting, but it’s something that no one was expecting – though they dropped so many hints right in front of us. Yet, it feels like this is going to be the comeback that is the truest to them to date. And they’re really not holding back.
This has been a long six months but things are looking brighter than ever for Stray Kids. And even with no comebacks, Stray Kids made our whole year and they’ve always been there. Whether it’s YouTube releases, Vlives, or various schedules, Stray Kids are never really gone and that’s the best part of stanning them (apart from the incredible music of course). But for the sake of it, we’ll say: Stray Kids is back.
What was your favorite thing Stray Kids has done in 2021? What are your thoughts on the comeback trailer? Be sure to let us know by tweeting us at @thehoneypop or visiting us on Facebook and Instagram.
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Featured Image Source: JYP Entertainment