Stray Kids Reminds Us It’s for the Fans With New EP, “I AM YOU”
For a group that hasn’t even been around for a year, Stray Kids has been busy. First, they released their pre-debut EP “Mixtape” in January 2018. They officially debuted on March 25, 2018 and released their first EP called “I AM NOT” the next day followed by “I AM WHO” on August 6, 2018. Now the group has released a new project with “I AM YOU,” an EP consisting of seven tracks on the digital release and eight tracks on the physical release. And let me tell you, my heart was not ready.
This intro track features I.N., Changbin, and Hyunjin rounding out the pattern of the three member groups introducing the albums from previous releases. The last line of the song echoes the title of the EP “I AM YOU,” and the rhythmic pattern of the end of the track is reminiscent of something found in video game soundtracks.
2. I AM YOU (Title Track)
“I AM YOU” is the title track of this album. It’s a song with an easy-to-follow chorus that includes the English lyrics “I am you, I found me in you,” with Felix’s deep voice bringing us the line “I need you right by my side now.” The hook has a similar feel with the simple line, “You and I, You and I.” This is definitely a track to keep on repeat for days.
The “I AM YOU” Music Video
The music video starts off with the first riffs of “MY PACE” before changing to a different smoother track, that Bang Chan starts out with the first verse. The setting is similar to a location that groups like SEVENTEEN have shot music videos; it has a familiar rooftop scene scape and grungy aesthetic. The first verse leads into a build to a drop that brings us to the catchy chorus. In the video itself, the chorus is where we see the first bits of choreography, where it looks like it might have been shot in a moving truck. A cool grungy effect for the song, the second verse features different scenes with members being surrounded by lit lamp shades and even a lot of speakers stacked together in cool towers. The second chorus features a group dance shot on what looks like a rooftop overlooking a city. The final scenes of the music video are spliced from the group dance shot and a rotating shot featuring all the members.
This song plays tricks on your ears. The song starts out like something that might of come out of a DAY6 album then sneaks up on you with a rap beat. This duality of the song interplays with the main instrumentals being the guitar and the drum. The song splices the two styles to create a song that could blend into any playlist you throw it into.
This song is a lot softer than the others, almost a ballad. I was most surprised by the treat of Hyunjin the vocal. He got quite of bit of singing lines instead of only rapping. From what others have said about this track, it is is that clear that it has a deep meaning within Korean Culture, so take the dive deeper with the guys on this track.
5. Get Cool
This song sounded so sweet at the beginning it made my teeth hurt. With the first lines being “Ya, Ya, Ya” and then the maknae I.N. treating us to sugary sweet vocals. Since the melody is played on a piano with a bouncy beat, makes this song a worthy addition to your morning playlist. My favorite part on this track is the English rap between the Aussie line, Bang Chan and Felix.
I have lovingly named this track the Stray Kids cypher. All of the members throw their hat in the ring with 3RACHA as they all are rapping on this track. I thought I was hearing wrong when I first listened. Hyunjin and Felix had me shook.
This song is actually a mix of “NOT,” “WHO,” and “YOU.” It is a unique idea that I haven’t seen before. The beat can be easily pinpointed from the other three tracks. The title is actually the date of their debut. It's a wonderful way to be nostalgic about what seems like so long ago. When, just to remind you, it was only eight months ago.
8. Mixtape #3
This song is only found on the CD. I had to wait for my CD to come in to finally finish this review. For those who aren’t familiar with this track,. iIt is actually an OT9 version of “For You” by 3RACHA. This version has a happier tone than its original form. What a lot of Stay’s have been talking about is how Felix went from the “Heys” to a whole verse in English and Korean. I think my favorite part of the track was Woojin’s “blessings wait for you” that bridges the verses.
Stray Kids has not disappointed me yet. If they follow through on previous patterns, we can expect a few more music videos off this album like the previous two albums. For a group that has only been around for eight months, releasing 4 EP’s and 15 music videos, I think they truly have solidified themselves as the next generation’s monster rookies.