Stray Kids: They Know Who They are and They’re Ready for the Maze Ahead
The Newsboys, New Kids On The Block, and Anthem Lights are just a few of the names that come to mind when thinking about the advancement of Western music. However, when taking a quick glance at the Eastern arena, one cannot avoid the inevitable visual contact with a name that in itself carries a weight not often replicated, whether originating on the Western or Eastern seaboard: Stray Kids.
Stray Kids: Who are They?
Since being formed through the reality show Stray Kids under JYP Entertainment in 2017, the powerful Korean boy-band consists of nine members: Christopher Bang, Kim Woojin, Lee Minho, Seo Changbin, Hwang Hyunjin, Han Jisung, Lee Felix, Kim Seungmin, and Yang Jeongin. A relatively new group under JYP Entertainment, they made their official debut on March 25, 2018 with their showcase album I am NOT. However, even with the brevity of their existence, they have firmly taken their place as one of the most anticipated boy-bands in South Korea, producing four mini-albums since their debut, and receiving three individual awards, two in the same year: the Mnet Asian Music Award for “Best New Artist” (2018), the Golden Disc Award for “Rookie Artist of the Year in Disc Album” (2019), and the Seoul Music Awards for “Best New Artist” (2019). Yes, it appears that Stray Kids are definitely here to stay, especially after their ferocious and highly anticipated anniversary comeback on March 25.
The Comeback: a “MIROH” of Diversity
K-Pop artists are notorious for their habitual mixing of different genres of music in their songs, however, Stray Kids did so on a level that aggressively raised the bar of expectations with their comeback “MIROH.”
The piece retained some of the traditional Stray Kids style, with intense minor keys, impressive rapping, and a small hint of rock influence. However, it was interesting to see that the group infused the EDM genre in the song which, up until this point, has not been a very common style utilized by the group. We can most probably credit this EDM infusion with the co-writer Brian W. Atwood, (more widely known as DJ DANK) who has been one of the major contributors to the EDM genre as a whole.
Clé 1 : MIROH: An Ending, and a Beginning
After hearing “MIROH” and listening to the entirety of the album, the monolinguals in the world who cannot understand a word that the boys are saying are probably perplexed at the meaning of the album Clé 1 : MIROH, including the past I am series. But to our luck, during a V Live broadcast a few of the members explained to us what the previous series meant and what this new one is going to represent. According to Changbin, the purpose of the I am series mainly was to state, “Whatever the end might be, you go in with pride and ambition…” Changbin chimed in to explain what exactly led up to the idea of the new series, Clé 1 : MIROH,
“All of the nine members of Stray Kids get off “District 9”, and challenge ourselves to a new place...we were able to make a debut, divided into a new world such as music shows, [and] stages. We go in there, and how we will survive, those are the kind of stories we are keen on this time. So that is why we started the new series called Clé 1 : MIROH.”
With powerful statements and a gripping story, Stray Kids is hitting us in the feels with this new series, as it gives us a snapshot of their progression as a group, and their determination as a whole. So, while you are desperately reaching for the box of tissues and pounding your phone to see when their next tour is, check out their spectacular M!COUNTDOWN performance, and the full V Live broadcast here: