On March 18, JYP Entertainment’s self-produced, eight-member boy group, Stray Kids, released their highly anticipated mini-album, ODDINARY. Their first album released since joining Republic Records, ODDINARY has seven tracks, including the title track “MANIAC” and its music video. The album perfectly captures the sound Stray Kids has developed for themselves. From powerful rap tracks to smooth ballads, ODDINARY further proves why they are a force to be reckoned with.
Don’t Be Normal, Be a “MANIAC”
The title track “MANIAC” is a high-energy hip-hop track featuring a warped trumpet-like beat and punctuated by the sound of a drill in the chorus. Stray Kids show off their unique sound as they sing of the importance of embracing the things that make us odd.
The music video is characteristic of Stray Kids’ busy and vibrant concept. There are bright graphics decorating the screen as the boys dance in neon green and pink outfits. The styling mimicking the lyrics perfectly as they proudly declare, “[…] stop pretending to be normal […] cosplaying as what society defines normal to be.” The song seamlessly references the Frankenstein concept without being too on the nose. From choreography mimicking Frankenstein’s monster’s walk, the gritty sound of a drill, down to the imagery of loose screws on their necks and heads, the idea of being a “MANIAC” or odd is masterfully conveyed in the music video.
Be ODDINARY with Stray Kids
The rest of the album truly shows off the range of the group. The first song, “VENOM,” sets the tone of the album with its ominous beat that sounds hauntingly like strings being plucked. The beat is synonymous with a complex spider web as the boys sing about being trapped in a poisonous spider web with addictive venom.
Following the title track, “Charmer,” easily captures the attention of the listener. Deceptively luring in the listener with a typical hip-hop-like beat, the true charm of the track lies in the chorus. A mystical flute highly reminiscent of a snake charmer’s tune is heard as the group confidently claims, “You can’t stand it, I’m the charmer.”
Keeping up with the high energy, “FREEZE” is a tell-tale Stray Kids song with its loud beat and powerful rap topped with the group’s strong vocals. “FREEZE” is a booming dubstep-inspired track that fits in with the group’s more rowdy discography.
The album’s mood takes a turn with “Lonely St.” The lyrics talk about feeling beat down and going through hardship but persevering despite anyone who brought them down before. The pop-alternative track sets the somber mood with the subtle whines of an electric guitar in the background.
The remaining tracks are unit songs consisting of four members each. The first song is “Waiting For Us” and is sung by Bang Chan, Lee Know, Seungmin, and I.N. A rock-ballad building up to the guitar in the chorus, the members sing about their lover who they would wait forever for. It truly showcases the vocal prowess of the group.
The final track, “Muddy Water,” conversely shows off the rappers of the group. Sung by Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, and Felix, “Muddy Water” is a hip-hop rap track that opens with a 1920s-inspired piano before breaking out in a more old-timey hip-hop beat synonymous to the style of rapper Joey Bada$$. The boys rap about their accomplishments and how they’ve risen above the hate they’ve received throughout their careers. The song wraps up the album on a prideful note, main rapper, Changbin stating, “This is our flow, just step off the show.”
In a press conference, Bang Chan stated that “With the title of ODDINARY, we want to bring out the message that everyone in the world has their own special odd inside of them.” “MANIAC” easily conveys this message and the mini-album as a whole is a signature Stray Kids album that shows their maturity as artists. Like the rest of their discography, ODDINARY was self-produced by the group with heavy participation by 3RACHA, the group’s producing unit. The unit tracks also feature all eight members participating in the lyric writing, proving how the group as a whole has grown since their debut in 2018.
Interested in more Stray Kids? Check out our coverage of their 2022 tour announcement!