At the start of 2020, Stray Kids were one of my favourite artists. Off the heels of two of 2019’s strongest and most daring singles in the form of Miroh and Side Effects, the group seemed to be moving towards even bigger and better work. And though their commercial success has definitely sky rocketed since then, my interest in the group has gone in the opposite direction. Apart from the excellent Back Door and the surprisingly great pop-rock of Time Out from a few months ago, I’ve felt more and more disconnected with the groups work. And though home to some standout moments, Case 143 doesn’t do much to get me back on the hype train.
Now let me get this out of the way. There are some moments where Case 143 points towards something really special. The pulsing bass-line underlining the refrain that opens the chorus is excellent, recalling March’s Maniac whilst still putting a new spin on the execution. The melodic pre-chorus is also nice, giving the already chaotic production some time to breathe and hence giving the aforementioned refrain the extra punch it needed to really make an impact. The climax is similarly exciting, adding an additional hook that feels as though it’s been ripped from a completely different song. It’s a great vocal driven send off and one that points to something much more dynamic than what we have here. Had the rest of the track had a similar approach, we could have really had a real standout.
But as great as those moments are, Case 143 never really comes together in a cohesive way. The post chorus instrumentation is incredibly noisy to the point of grating, coming across more like the sound of pots and pans clanging together than an invigorating production. The group have experimented with unique and abrasive soundscapes before but the particular approach they’ve taken for Case 143 results in a song that lends to a less than enjoyable listening experience. In fact, the entire production feels overstuffed in a way that I can see being enjoyed by many but just comes across as grating and at points borderline unlistenable at times for me. The track remains a fun, quirky aside in the groups burgeoning discography but one that I feel I will rarely revisit.
Final Rating: 6.25/10