Stray Kids - District 9
Stray Kids is the latest boy group coming out of JYP Entertainment. The nine-member group was formed through a reality show, though I've not personally watched any of it. This is not my first time hearing or even reviewing them, however, as I did check out "Hellevator" last year. "District 9" is the group's official debut song, and I had high expectations for them to meet.
Strictly speaking on instrumentals, "District 9" is much more similar to "Grrr 총량의 법칙" than the other tracks they've released to this point. This fusion of heavier rock with the group's aggressive rap style seems to be what Stray Kids is going to craft into their trademark sound. I'll start off with my negative thoughts on this song, which mainly stem from the fact that there's a lot of disjointed sections here. It really feels like three different songs jammed together. The differences aren't entirely jarring by any means, but they aren't stitched together very well, either.
Apart from that, there is a lot of praise to be had here. First and foremost, the rapping in this song is fantastic. The quickening pace of the raps alongside the spurring strums of guitar was stunning, and the stuttering instrumental emphasis during Changbin's part added so much flavor. I mentioned the rock-rap fusion earlier, but it seriously works well for Stray Kids. It carves out a solid niche for the group in the immediate, and they've already had previous shows of their ability to expand to other genres as well.
This music video was disappointing in an odd way for me. I'm unsure what the point of the song being called District 9 is, but there are no references or very many similarities to draw upon the 2009 sci-fi movie. That aside, there's a lot of general sci-fi tropes to wade through in this video, but that was a good thing to me. I actually loved thinking of what their inspirations were that they were drawing upon.
I could have used a bit more color in general throughout this video, but it's obviously a stylistic decision that was made to not include much of anything besides shades of black and white. There's symbolism in that, too, of course. Personally I think it's metaphoric for how Stray Kids are attempting to break out of the conventional mold that seems to be forming a majority of other groups' music currently. And that's entirely what I want groups to do, so they're on the right track in my book. As a random note, it really seems that JYP love their buses..
While I was previously hesitant to say that I was going to be looking forward to Stray Kids and their future releases, I think that "District 9" is a very solid debut and has successfully changed my opinion. Since my review is a day late, it's already a fact that this is an insanely popular debut music video, and if JYP Entertainment plays their cards right, this accomplishment can easily flourish into more success. I recommend everybody check out this one, if not just for the fact that Stray Kids is well on their way to being a strong competitor with the biggest groups out there right now.