After arguably their biggest year yet, Stray Kids are back with ‘MANIAC’ and their sixth mini-album ODDINARY. This is their first mini-album since the release of Clé : LEVANTER in 2019 and they did it wonderfully. ODDINARY not only feels like Stray Kids perfecting what they do best, but in this release they’re also trying on different things – and they do it so well. Stray Kids’ discography not only remains flawless but it just became even more varied than it was before – and if you know anything about Stray Kids, you know that it was extremely varied to begin with.
The title track, ‘MANIAC,’ is unlike anything Stray Kids have released before – which goes well with the theme of embracing their own weirdness and accepting that it is normal not to be normal. It feels original, fresh, and even brighter and smoother than other title tracks, and in many ways creates a safe place to be yourself. The switch from the verse to the chorus is just perfection – it is strong, bold, and groovy. Once again, Stray Kids excels at giving us the best of the best when it comes to rap, the production is simply insane and the vocals shine better than ever. All the members get their moment and it is incredible to see. This is Stray Kids at their best in every way possible. And yes, ‘MANIAC’ will get stuck in your head for hours but you will never want to get rid of it.
There’s this big superhero movie feel to the music video. It’s all about multiverses and two opposite worlds crashing into one. It sounds cool, but it’s even cooler when you watch the whole music video. It also shows killer choreography. And yes, Stray Kids just get better at everything they do with every comeback so you can imagine how good this choreography is after the masterpiece that was ‘Thunderous.’ ‘MANIAC’ definitely stands out in Stray Kids’ discography in so many ways. Its unique concept and production already make it a gem in their already perfect discography.
ODDINARY could be considered one of their most cohesive releases ever, if not the most cohesive. All the tracks fit each other and blend together perfectly to almost create a narrative all while exploring different genres and perfecting their producing style. Because yes, it’s Stray Kids we’re talking about, of course they were involved in the creation and production of all seven tracks.
The intro track ‘VENOM’ lures you wonderfully into the universe they create with ODDINARY. The electronic beat feels mysterious and addicting at the same time. The pre-chorus is pop perfection and the switch in the bridge is absolutely insane. There’s no better way to put it. This is a song only Stray Kids could do for sure.
‘Charmer’ follows ‘MANIAC,’ and 3RACHA actually did this song with title track intentions in mind, and that explains how explosive and addicting it is. Because yes, ‘Charmer’ could perfectly be a title track – and a SOTY if you ask us. ‘Charmer’ uses a flute sample to perfection and it literally feels hypnotizing all while being intriguing and mysterious. It is, no pun intended, full of charm and character, and it’s incredibly bold.
‘FREEZE’ is a heavy EDM song clearly influenced by dubstep. It is bold and loud, and that drop is everything. It feels harsh but that’s what makes it such an incredible and addictive drop. Stray Kids took their “noisy” label even further with this one and we love it.
‘Lonely St.’ really sets itself apart from all the other songs in the album. They take a step away from the electronic and bolder music and go into this perfect pop-rock anthem about loneliness and feeling lost. In many ways, it follows the narrative set in Changbin‘s 2020 solo track ‘Streetlight.’ Not only do the vocals portray the feeling perfectly and make you feel the emotions with every single line, but this song also showcases Stray Kids‘ more emotional songwriting.
In ODDINARY, Stray Kids also surprised us with two new unit songs: ‘Waiting For Us’ and ‘Muddy Water’ – two very different songs. On one side, the vocal line (if you can call them that because at the end of the day everyone in Stray Kids is an all-rounder) went for a powerful and heartfelt pop-rock song that showcases their vocals beautifully. The lyrics are simply beautiful and the build-up from a more ballad song to a more pop-rock song makes this song simply perfection. And we were talking about writing emotional songs: yeah, this one will make you cry for sure. And on the other side, we have ‘Muddy Water’ (aka everything that’s good in music and rap) by the rap line. It’s no secret Stray Kids have one of the strongest rap lines out there, and ‘Muddy Water’ is the perfect example of what we mean by that. The verses and the imageries given through this old-school boom-bap track are just incredible. The 90s Hip-Hop feeling is simply immaculate. One simple way to put it is that it sits at the same table as 3RACHA‘s ‘Scene Stealers.’
Stray Kids keep proving their talent as singers, rappers, dancers, producers, and well all the positions you could think of. Their production and making of songs just keep getting better and we could never get bored of their vision and the way they give us these incredible songs that no one but themselves could do. 2021 may have been their biggest year yet, but 2022 is already catching up to it. And quickly.
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