Stray Kids had an incredible 2019, releasing two of the years strongest and most unique singles in Miroh and Side Effects. But inbetween these blockbuster singles, the group have also been releasing multiple album tracks and mixtapes to keep their ever growing fanbase well fed. Most of these songs have been pleasent, but have lacked the immediate impact that elevates some of the groups best work. This extends to new single On Track (바보라도 알아), which harnesses the more sentimental side of the group to create a soothing piece of spring pop.
Though a JYP entertainment act, Stray Kids have made excellent use of the hip-hop ballad template popularised by YG Entertainment. On Track is a good example of this template, relying predominatly on a nice beat and equally restrained vocals. The tinny hi-hats aren’t the tracks strongest production element, but are effectively utilised to give the track a more modern feel. This level of restraint is usally not my thing, but the groups strong vocal blend help transform an otherwise rather mundane arrangement into somthing rather compelling. And while it’s not really the exact kind of song i would want from Stray Kids, i can tell that it’s directed for those who adore the group. It’s not trying to be the next Miroh, or even the next Levanter but it gets the job done.
On Track‘s strongest moment is the hook. The track goes bigger here, imbuing the track with a more anthemic atmosphere. It works incredibly well, fusing the groups more hip hop driven sound with a strong burst of melody. It was the part of the track that really hooked me in, growing much more potent over the course of the tracks runtime. This also extends to songs surprsingly intense bridge, which revs up to the climactic hook in typical stray kids fashion. Combine that with an unexpectadly engaging music video and you’ve got one of the months best surprises
Final Rating: 8 / 10