Stray Kids “Oddinary” is anything but ordinary

Lindsay Steinberg, Copy Chief

Popular, self-produced K-pop boy group, Stray Kids, returned with their most powerful comeback album yet, “Oddinary,” on March 18. The buildup towards this album was anything but ordinary, with dates for a world tour dropping in the midst of the teaser release schedule as well as Stray Kids finally being able to partner with a U.S. label. 

The anticipation for this album was great, knowing that Stray Kids is known for only getting better and better all while smashing records. And they did just that—amassing 1.3 million pre-orders for “Oddinary.”

“VENOM” kicks off the album with a beat-heavy song that highlights rap and vocals from each member. The song is about the feeling of being enamored with someone and always wanting more, which is mentioned throughout the lyrics. While listening to each verse of the song, it is almost like you are poisoned by the person, always craving more of them, which feeds into the title of “VENOM” and the consistent references to such things as spiderwebs. 

There is a strong distinction within the production from each chorus to verse, which keeps any listener on their toes, adding to the idea of the chaotic feeling of being poisoned. 

“MANIAC,” the title track of “Oddinary,” is a perfect introduction to the album, although it is not the first song on the album it is the only song with a promoted music video at the time of release. The song starts off with a high level of energy that is maintained throughout the entire song, that also matches the choreography seen in the music video and live performances. 

Stray Kids is known for making connections throughout everything they create, and that is seen in “MANIAC.” The group makes several references to screws throughout the lyrics, and not only does the choreography match that, but so does the production. At certain parts of the song, there is a sound that is reminiscent of a drill, adding to the idea of a screw. 

Each member has almost nearly an even line distribution, which is amazing to see from a title track, and they are all given a chance to display their strengths.

“Charmer,” hints at what the song is about, Stray Kids is the charmer capturing everyone’s attention and has the persona to keep it. Their charisma shines throughout the track, not only in the lyrics, but even in the production. Felix’s deep vocals pairs with the production to feed into a stunning chorus that features a whistle like ad-lib, feeding into the idea of Stray Kids being the Charmer. 

A part of the track that sticks out the most is not within the lyrics, but the production, a flute being heard within the chorus, as one of the most important instruments in the song. The notes from the flute feed into the energy of the song and match the vibe perfectly. This is even more of an impressive feat, as Stray Kids is a self-produced group, writing and producing all their songs with their own creative freedom. 

One of the most anticipated tracks since the release of its “UNVEIL”, which is a form of teaser for the album Stray Kids is known to release which features some form of a visual, similar to what is expected from a music video, with a lyric or two paired with the production, is “FREEZE.” The electronic dance music sound is something Stray Kids has mentioned many times, especially from leader Bang Chan, who is also a fan of the genre and that is what can be heard from “FREEZE.” 

Hyunjin’s, “땡,” cues for the production to grow and provided an extremely heavy drop, which is mixed far past any expectation and is executed beyond standards. The verses are also produced perfectly, drawing back the beat just enough to let the rap of members such as Changbin and HAN come through clearly.

The song also offers an ending leaving you wanting more with an abrupt closure of “FREEZE” and Hyunjin’s “땡,” while the listener expects a drop that never comes. 

The rock element of the album comes through with the song, “Lonely St.,” all eight members given the chance to display their talents while conveying a beautiful message. 

For fans of Stray Kids, it may be easy to draw connections to their song “Slump” or Changbin’s SKZ-PLAYER “Streetlight,” with nods to each song lyrically. The song explains the feeling of being astray and continuing on your way, even when it is painful, which is a theme seen in both of the early mentioned tracks. 

“Waiting For Us,” a unit song featuring Bang Chan, Lee Know, Seungmin, and I.N, is easily one of the most emotional tracks on the mini album. Sharing the message of how Stray Kids may be separated from STAY (how their fanbase is known colloquially), but as the song suggests they are “here always” and “right here.” The timing for this song to be released to the public is nearly perfect, given they are touring in the summer—furthering the message of being with STAY soon. 

The vocals provided from each and every member are stunning, perfectly highlighting the guitar instrumental and can even outshine the production as it grows stronger. 

The song even includes a nod to an OST Seungmin sang for Netflix’s show, “Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha,” that was titled “Here Always,” as Seungmin sings those exact words in “Waiting For Us.” 

“Muddy Water,” the unit song including Changbin, Hyunjin, HAN, and Felix, is exactly what you would expect from such a unit, a rap heavy song with their own style and flare. 

The song starts off with something that would remind you of jazz, and it carries that theme throughout the track. For any STAY, it could seem reminiscent of what 3RACHA (Bang Chan, Changbin, and HAN) produced on SoundCloud prior to the debut of Stray Kids. 

Felix’s strong vocal fills the song adding the perfect element throughout the track, his deeper tone providing what the song needs. Partner this with the subtle rap from Hyunjin, and the stylish rap from Changbin and HAN—everything is executed perfectly. 

As an entire body of work, “Oddinary,” showcases what Stray Kids does best, doing the unthinkable and it highlights their growth as artists and displays their sound in the best way possible.