BY Katie Vicary

Stray Kids’ music always sets itself apart from mainstream K-Pop and their first full length studio album, GO生 (GO LIVE) is no exception.

A mix of hard-hitting, playful and experimental songs, GO LIVE really showcases Stray Kids’ versatility and growth since their debut 2 years ago. It also contains some familiar tracks, two previously released mixtapes and two tracks which feature on the anime, Tower of God, as the opening and closing songs of the show no less.

The album kicks off with ‘Go Live’, which eases you in for about 10 seconds before hitting you with two powerful rap lines. ‘God’s Menu’ or 神메뉴 is the album’s title track and let me tell you, it hits so hard. Right off the bat it’s intense, starting with two powerful rap sections only 6 seconds in. The song is based heavily in restaurant and food references and details how the group isn’t afraid to do their own thing. Personally, I absolutely love this track but even if it’s not for you I highly recommend you watch the music video - whoever directed and edited it deserves a raise. It’s an absolute chef’s kiss (no pun intended).

‘Easy’ is next, keeping the energy up without being as intense as the last track. A tricky, playful song where the boys freely boast about their skills. ‘Pacemaker’ feels lyrically like an evolution from their older song ‘My Pace’, in which they talked about trying to be happy with choosing their own paths. Whereas now, ‘Pacemaker’ feels like it’s talking to us, saying if we choose to follow Stray Kids, we’ll be okay.

‘Airplane’ signals a change of pace in the album, from the hard-hitting electronic music to a more laidback, playful style. ‘Another Day’ brings our first slow song, based in acoustic guitar and soft vocals. The harmonies are beautiful and the whole track encompasses that soft, early morning aesthetic. Next is ‘Phobia’, which has emotional lyrics sat on a hype instrumental creating a beautiful mix of the two.  

‘Blueprint’ feels like summer. It’s bright, fun and full of gorgeous vocals and playful raps. The upbeat, ‘TA’ feels akin to tracks from Stray Kid’s Miroh era with its energy and use of vocal sounds like yelling and grunting (I don’t know how else to define it). This is going to be a killer at concerts, I can already tell. ‘Haven’ brings another uplifting song with a message core to Stray Kids, staying true to themselves and ultimately trusting themselves.

The next two songs are ‘TOP’ and ‘SLUMP’ from the anime Tower of God’s official soundtrack. ‘TOP’ is powerful, full of strings and it just sounds so anime. Both ‘TOP’ and ‘SLUMP’ come in not one but three different languages, Japanese (part of the official soundtrack), Korean (featuring on this album) and English. They really do the most for their fanbase.

Finally, the album ends with the previously released, ‘Mixtape: Gone Days’ and ‘Mixtape: On Track’. The former of the two tracks is bright, fun and high key a shot at boomers. The title itself being a play on a Korean word which is slang to describe someone who uses their older age to enforce superiority in a condescending way. So, a shot at boomers.

Stray Kids’ GO LIVE is honestly a very solid album, a beautiful mix of hard hitting, playful and slower songs. As always, the lyrics are meaningful to both the boys and their fans and gives insight to how much they’ve grown since debut. This comeback as a whole has been stellar from the outfits, the behind the scenes content, Chan’s face décor or Hyunjin’s now infamous hair. Stray Kids have proven themselves as amazing artists and will only continue to do so.

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