Stray Kids are back with a brand new album, “IN LIFE” (IN生), a repackage of their first studio album “GO LIVE” (released in June 2020).
With “GO LIVE”, Stray Kids set their own bar very high; the release was highly praised by both critics and fans. “IN LIFE” shows a newfound raw side of the group. The repackage contains 8 additional tracks, including the lead single “Back Door”.
The album opens with a rendition of the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare, which is also the title of the track. The rap in the song flows perfectly and delivers the concept of the song with lyrics crafted to perfection. The style of the beat and the song’s rhythm is experimental and clearly a teaser of where Stray Kids’ creativity and self-expression is led to.
‘Back Door’ – the lead single – is what have been considered so far the best songs from the album. The track is Stray Kids in a nutshell: lyrics expressing the group attitude, perfect hook and of course an incredible drop. The song, and the video, are both full of energy.
The mood changes with ‘B Me’. The track goes a little bit softer but has the classic Stray Kids sound with electronic instrumentals and melody complementing each other. The lyrics talk about a pull and push situation between something and someone, in a certain way representing life and individuals going through those moments in order to gain strength and be able to be themselves. This topic is touched also in ‘Any’, where Felix and Hyunjin discuss what they want in life to make them happy, and what matters in life. This is perhaps one of the catchiest songs and its upbeat rhythm is perfect for its rap.
‘Ex’ is something you would expect from Stray Kids doing the ballad genre. The song is laced to their vibe and this is why this “ballad” is unique. The harmonisations are beautiful as the adlibs. In the songs, the group express emotions of someone reminiscing a long-gone love. Even if the separation was inevitable the pain is still there. How Stray Kids express those emotions is the emotional cherry on top in this song.
For the first time since their debut, we have Stray Kids Sub Units. On the fiery “We Go” we have Bang Chan, Changbin and Han rapping about tirelessly chasing success. “Wow” features Lee Know, Hyunjin, and Felix – they’ve also taken part in the songwriting process with Kass. The song talks about love, in the specific Millennial love. The instrumentation and the vocals are beautifully expressing the feeling of newfound love. The last subunit is formed by Changbin, Seungmin, and I.N for “My Universe”, once again a song about love, vocals are in the front of this track and Changbin’s rap is a nice addition to its soft vibe.
The rest of the tracks are from their “GO LIVE” EP. It’s safe to say that just when you think Stray Kids outdid themselves with their previous release, they go above and beyond their ability and creativity.