Stray Kids - I am YOU

 
 

 

It hasn’t even been three months since we last saw Stray Kids, but JYP seems to be intent on striking while the iron is hot. And damn is it hot right now, so of course that means it’s time for another comeback. I sadly didn’t have enough time to catch up on everything I’ve been missing for the teasers leading up to this release, but from my limited knowledge of Stray Kids, I expected a continuation of their great title tracks to this point. Something energetic and almost overloaded with intensity - and of course those disgustingly delightful guitars.

The Song

Boy was I mistaken. Gone are the heavier sounds of electric guitar and in are the soft pulses of synths as the main instrumental. “I am YOU” pulls Stray Kids into an incredibly different territory than their past few titles have been, and it shows a new side to the group that many haven’t heard or seen yet. Aside from the bulkier horns during the chorus and percussion throughout the song, the instrumentals of this track are much more in the background of it all. This muffled styling of the instrumentals is an interesting choice, but one that ultimately lends the song to allowing the vocal performances to carry everything forward.

And those vocal performances definitely don’t disappoint. From the softer singing to the passionate raps, the vocals in this song are incredibly pleasing on the ears, and the way that they’re filled with emotion and fervor adds a great amount of depth that would have otherwise been missing from the track. The message of the song is great, too. The progression of the song is somewhat slow, but it’s also logical and easy to follow without being too standard or boring to lose your attention.

Overall, the song is well-crafted and well-executed. I do think that the lack of familiar heavy sounds leads this to be my personal least favorite from Stray Kids, but it’s also a necessary step for the group to show that they’re not a one-trick pony. They’re talented in a multitude of ways and are more than capable of breaking away from their previous works and exploring new concepts and this song proves that.

The Video

I’m unsure of the exact details for this video, but it does seem to pick up right where “My Pace” left off. This time around, however, it’s about the boys coming together and learning how to be there for one another. There’s a good amount of interesting scenes and settings to stare at here, and while the video isn’t as involving as their past ones, it’s still entertaining enough to keep you watching for its full duration. My favorite shot had to be where they plastered two faces together to emphasize the idea of “I am YOU” in a simple, effective manner.

I wish there were more shots of the group dancing inside of that moving shipping container. If JYP doesn’t release a dance practice version that’s fully just that, I’m going to be thoroughly disappointed, because it looked absolutely awesome. Styling-wise I don’t know that I can really call anything memorable, but I didn’t dislike anything either. I guess the same could be said for the choreography that we got in the video, but there was so little shown that it’s hard to say much about it.

Overall the video was fine, and I’m sure that fans will be drooling over some of the scenes for weeks to come. Personally I could have done with a bit more story or imagery to decipher, but I’m not too miffed about the video as a whole. There’s enough shots that came off as memorable to keep it fresh in my mind and easily recognizable.

(I can’t not mention the almost comically ridiculous shot involving chicken noodle soup. Like damn Campbell’s must be out there paying some premium for this kind of action, I swear.)

Conclusion

“I am YOU” represents a new direction for Stray Kids - one that proves they’re capable of several genres and concepts and aren’t afraid to explore those avenues. While the fairly signature electric guitars are missing, the poignant lyrics and impactful vocal deliveries take their place and provide a a great message for the song. If you like songs with a nice progression and passionate vocals without a noisy instrumental backdrop, this is an easy recommendation.