Stray Kid’s MAXIDENT album review

Five stars


Atlas Mangune, Staff Writer

Stray Kids’ album Maxident sold over 3 million copies in just two weeks after its release, breaking their previous records and becoming one of the few idol groups to sell this quickly. The album features various new types of music for the group, particularly love songs. 

The opening track, “CASE 143,” sets the stage for the rest of the songs. While love songs are usually more softly approached, this song is anything but that. The hard-hitting melodies, intense rap verses (courtesy of Changbin and Han), key changes, and descending chromatic scales make the song sound electrifying and keeps on-brand for the unorthodox Stray Kids style. With lyrics like “why do I keep getting attracted?/ I cannot explain this emotion” make it almost impossible not to sing along. 

Similarly to their last EP, in their opening track “Maniac,” the first chorus is highlighted by Felix’s shockingly deep voice. Pairing this feature with Seungmin and I.N.’s strong vocals, it creates a distinct and extraordinary contrast between the chorus and the verses. 

“Chill” and “Give Me Your TMI” are both love songs, but polar opposites. “Chill,” as the name suggests, is much calmer in contrast to the opener. The song begins with a soft jazz-like piano, then keeps the same feeling throughout. It illustrates the story of two people who were in a relationship, whether that was romantic or platonic, but they struggled to maintain a healthy relationship. “Give Me Your TMI” is more upbeat, featuring more rap and electro-type beats, but still makes use of their members’ singing.

The album also has three feature songs, exclusive to the subunits within Stray Kids: 3RACHA (Bang Chan, Changbin, Han), Danceracha (Lee Know, Hyunjin, Felix), and Vocalracha (Seungmin and I.N.). 

3RACHA’s featured song is titled “3RACHA,” written about 3RACHA. Surprisingly, this is the unit’s first attempt at writing drill. Each member gets their own verse, opening with their iconic introduction “1, 2, 3RACHA get spotlight,” delivered by Changbin. Bang Chan, the leader of the group, The song focuses on the trio’s achievements throughout their careers, and how they’ll continue to make amazing music. 

Though they are the dance unit, Danceracha’s music is nothing less than spectacular. Their song “Taste” is second to their opening track. Playing around with the contrast of Lee Know’s angelic falsettos, Hyunjin’s alluring vocals, and even experimenting with Felix’s range adds so much depth and complexity to the song. Hyunjin’s opens and closes the song; the opening line being “Fake eyes open” sung in his deepest voice, and at the end “I knew you had to be mine,” sung in a falsetto. The song is written in a minor key, with prominent lyrics and chord progressions that contribute to the dark and sultry feeling. 

In contrast, Vocalracha’s “Can’t Stop” is bright and upbeat. As expected of the group’s two vocalists, the melodies are full of pleasant harmonies that compliment the chromatic chords perfectly. Seungmin’s wonderful tone and I.N.’s beautiful timbre only add to it. The drums and guitar give a pop-punk feel; one that’s exhilarating and makes you feel like you’re falling in love. 

Finally, the album closes with a Korean version of their song “Circus,” which was originally released in Japanese in June 2022. This isn’t the first time they have released a version of their more popular songs in different languages; “DOMINO” has an English version, “MANIAC” has a Japanese version, and “ALL IN” has a Korean version. Translating and rerecording songs just shows their dedication and love for their fans, making sure that they all are able to enjoy their favorite songs in their own language.