Stray Kids’ second comeback of 2022 was already a highly anticipated one. Yes, the MANIAC era was an absolute success in every single sense of the word. From the music to the content and the concept: everything was perfect. And that alone made us all the more excited for what would come next. If there’s one thing Stray Kids will always do, it is getting bigger and better with every single release.
It’s been now over a week since the release of the MAXIDENT mini-album, and we can confirm that this era has been nothing but an absolute blast. Here’s exactly why.
First things first: the concept.
Even if the mini-album has been out for only over a week, Stray Kids introduced the MAXIDENT universe back in September with one of their best trailers ever. While the trailer for NOEASY was highly inspired by superhero movies – especially Marvel – and the ODDINARY trailer was obscure and intriguing, MAXIDENT was a whole new story. With a trailer shot in the streets of New York, the youthful feel to it was something truly exciting. And well, that switch that introduced us for the first time to the heart monster remains one of the most memorable moments of this era.
The thing about MAXIDENT, and especially the title track ‘Case 143,’ is that Stray Kids really went all in when it came to the concept. While Stray Kids may have a couple of love songs in their discography, none of their title tracks ever touched on the topic. Now, four years into their career, they took the love concept and made it theirs. With the imagery of love being an accident and a disturbing element in someone’s life, Stray Kids truly re-invented the very idea of a love song. The trailer was incredible, and one of the best things they’ve ever put out cinematographically, but the music video for ‘Case 143‘ is not too far from that bar either. It was joyful and bright, and Stray Kids put their own twist on it.
So yes, not only the idea of the concept was cool and amazing, but Stray Kids truly committed to it and made their first title track, love song, one of the most memorable ones yet.
Along with an incredible concept and insane cinematography, this era has been absolutely incredible when it comes to styling. Every single concept photo was flawless, from the car washing theme to the marine look and, of course, the final concept surrounding personalized hearts. Even for the promotions, Stray Kids have just had incredible outfits over and over again. And while the boys changed their hairstyles after the concept photos were taken and the filming of the music video, we are absolutely obsessed with these new looks. We literally got I.N pink hair back. There’s nothing we could be more grateful about.
And plus, the albums and photocards are more gorgeous than ever – and that’s bad news for our wallets, unfortunately.
— Stray Kids (@Stray_Kids) October 12, 2022
The Music Videos
Would it really be a Stray Kids come back if they didn’t release music videos for their b-sides? Because yes, Stray Kids has a flawless discography and their b-sides always deserve the same attention as their title tracks. It isn’t only about one song with them, it’s about an experience, and MAXIDENT is no different.
At the time of the writing, the only music video out is ‘SUPER BOARD.’ But thanks to their unveils, we already have a clue of what the music videos for ‘Give Me Your TMI’ and ‘CHILL‘ will look like. Hopefully, they don’t pull another ‘B Me‘ on us – yes, we’re still hurt about that one.
While they went all in for their love concept in ‘Case 143,’ it didn’t stop Stray Kids from exploring different stylings and concepts in the MAXIDENT b-sides. ‘SUPER BOARD’ shows a punk/pop-rock style that we’ve been waiting to see on them for ages. Next, we’re going to need them to do a full-on band concept.
Meanwhile, ‘CHILL’ shows the boys in an art gallery, and we can already imagine how it’ll translate the feeling of the song perfectly. What makes it even more special is that Hyunjin himself confirmed that some of the paintings in the music video are his. And yes, we love a multi-talented all-rounder k-pop idol in this house. ‘Give Me Your TMI’ is lowkey looking like the continuation to both the ‘VENOM’ and ‘FREEZE’ music videos. It follows that mafia concept but makes it more Kingsman-like. So yes, to say that we’re excited about it would be an understatement.
Stray Kids just keep trying new things and giving us the best content, the best aesthetics, and the best music. The best of everything.
The Promo… So Much Promo
And talking about content. We’ve been seriously spoiled for this era. It’s been insane. Stray Kids took their “Stray Kids everywhere all around the world” slogan a little too seriously this time around. It has come to the point that sometimes we have to be looking at three different shows at the same time. But listen, we’re not complaining a single bit. We’re loving every single part of it.
Stray Kids have been in so many schedules and interviews that we’ve lost count. And it’s been the best time ever. Because yes, these boys are incredibly talented, write and produce their own music, are incredible performers, and, honestly, a list to name every single way they’re amazing is way too long. But the thing is that they’re also so entertaining to watch. So you bet we tune into everything.
From special performances to music shows, to interview shows that were shot back when they were on tour in the US and new interviews shot in South Korea, there is just so much content, and all of it gives us the best boost of serotonin. There is so much going on. We finally got Stray Kids’ puppy interview with Buzzfeed and Bang Chan and Felix in DIVE Studios’ Daebak Show with Eric Nam. This is literally all we’ve been asking for for years.
Making the list of all the shows, they’ve been to this era would lowkey be impossible and last for ages. But yes, Stray Kids have been everywhere: the WillBen show, Glamour, Seventeen, BuzzFeed, REACT, WIRED, Weekly Idol, and the list goes on and on. They even brought back Finding SKZ for its third season after two years. Everything is so worth watching. There’s always something going on, and that makes the whole MAXIDENT experience even more enjoyable. This era is literally everything to us.
But how could we talk about this era without mentioning the huge milestones Stray Kids have achieved with MAXIDENT? ‘Case 143’ has already earned them three music show wins in the first week of its release, and more are probably to come. And MAXIDENT alone has made numbers, needless to say. MAXIDENT recorded over 2.3 M stock pre-orders and hit 1M copies sold on the first day of its release. It is the highest recorded pre-orders and sales for a fourth-gen group. This also makes them the fourth K-Pop group ever to achieve such a milestone. It had the fourth-highest sales in the first week of its release in Hanteo history. But that’s far from all.
MAXIDENT earned Stray Kids their second debut at number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. We cannot emphasize enough how huge this is. Stray Kids quite literally became the first and only artist in the world to have two number-ones on the Billboard 200 chart in the same year. Mind you, the last person that achieved this was Taylor Swift. They’re also the first Korean act to debut their first two charting albums at number one and the second Korean act in history to top the Billboard 200 chart more than once.
Stray Kids(스트레이 키즈) Billboard 200 #1
스키즈의 두 번째 빌보드 200 1위..
스테이와 함께 만들어온 자리이기에 의미가 더욱 깊습니다❤
— Stray Kids (@Stray_Kids) October 18, 2022
This isn’t even about Stray Kids being the first ones in the fourth gen to achieve things. This is about Stray Kids being officially one of the biggest names in K-Pop. So yes, you understand now why MAXIDENT is already one of Stray Kids’ best eras. Not only is the music perfect as always, but they went all in with the concept, the styling, and the music videos, and there’s not even time to get bored. (We literally also got a video game.) And with them being rewarded for their hard work – there’s nothing more satisfying than that. To say that we’re proud of Stray Kids doesn’t feel like saying enough anymore.
Oh, and did we mention Stray Kids achieved all of this and topped the Billboard 200 chart on the anniversary of the release of their first song ever? Whose music video also reached 100M views in the middle of all this madness? They’ve come so far since ‘Hellevator,’ and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Stray Kids.
Stray Kids(스트레이 키즈) "Hellevator" M/V
❤️🔥100 MILLION VIEWS❤️🔥
— Stray Kids (@Stray_Kids) October 17, 2022
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