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Stray Kids related merch including LeeBit, the 5-Star album, and photocards of the members
Stray Kids related merch including LeeBit, the 5-Star album, and photocards of the members
Original photo by Kaihli Mitts
Culture > Entertainment

Stray Kids left us “speechless, wordless” with their new album

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Mizzou chapter.

Stray Kids is back again with their eighth mini-album, “樂-STAR (Rock-Star).” The extended play comes just five short months after their third studio album, “5-Star,” which debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 200 following its release. The fourth-generation K-Pop group is composed of eight members: Bang Chan, Lee Minho (Lee Know), Seo Changbin, Hwang Hyunjin, Han Jisung, Lee Yongbok (Felix), Kim Seungmin and Yang Jeongin (I.N.). 

“樂-STAR (Rock-Star)” is 25 minutes long, including the Korean translation of their Japanese collaboration with LiSA, titled “Social Path,” and two versions of the title track, “LALALALA.” Composed of Chan, Changbin, and Jisung under the name 3RACHA, the production unit of Stray Kids is responsible for the majority of  writing and composition that makes up all eight tracks. Additionally, credits are given to collaborators like Versachoi and Willie Weeks. Hyunjin, a main dancer in Stray Kids, is also credited with the writing of the track “Cover Me,” a powerful song about feeling alone and needing support.

“Initially, I was taken aback by the grandness of the track because I usually prefer minimal songs,” says Hyunjin in the “Intro” video uploaded to JYP Entertainment on November 8. “Asking something to be hidden means if the sights you’re seeing or the environment you’re in make you feel anxious, someone can hide them for you,” he says, explaining the meaning behind the track’s title.

Stray Kids recently wrapped up their Japan Dome Tour, performing eight shows across four different cities. The members made a stop in Seoul, South Korea on Oct. 21 and 22 for Unveil 13, a concert that took place to showcase “樂-STAR (Rock-Star)” before its highly anticipated release. The eight members premiered an abundance of content, including the songs “Blind Spot,” “Leave” and “MEGAVERSE,” the latter of which can be found on the JYP Official YouTube channel.

“Leave,” written by Changbin and Chan, is a bittersweet track with refreshing production and heartfelt lyrics. All eight members can be heard showcasing their vocal talents throughout the song, even members who typically rap on the majority of the group’s discography. 

“MEGAVERSE” is an electrifying track with an extremely intricate composition. The song opens with deep vocals from the two Australian-Korean members of the group, Chan and Felix. Soon after, we are swept away throughout the song with heavy triplet rhythms being rapped by Changbin and Jisung. As we approach the chorus, the tempo begins to speed up, giving the track a different feel before Seungmin eventually slows it back down, reverting to how we began.

The group’s performance of “Blind Spot” was not officially posted to YouTube by the company, but we received plenty of content from fans on the internet, a majority of which came from TikTok. Following the studio release, the song has been perceived as a feel-good track with an a cappella outro that’s sure to leave you with goosebumps. The third track is almost promised to have a sold-out crowd of STAY singing the lyrics along with all eight members.

“I’ve been a [STAY] for 4 years, so I was there when Stray Kids were facing troubles,” says Taye King, a 19-year-old TikTok influencer from the United Kingdom. “It feels so nostalgic yet weird to see how far [they] have come in such little time.”

King creates content that focuses primarily on Stray Kids and other popular K-Pop groups. She’s gained over 233k followers during her time on TikTok by making fans laugh and being relatable through creativity, music and her eye for fashion.

“[Stray Kids’] success has been evident [in] each comeback,” King continues. “As they’re reaching out to more artists [and] artists are reaching out to them, becoming ambassadors for global established brands, [and] charting in many music charts across the world. It feels nice as a STAY supporting them and sharing their success as a group.”

When the tracklist was announced by the Billboard-nominated group, “COMFLEX” was sure to throw listeners for a loop. People went as far as predicting what two words 3RACHA were going to smash together to produce the title. 

“Everybody has their flaws, it’s what makes them special, and we have nothing to hide,” says Changbin in a November 8 YouTube upload. “We can turn our weaknesses into strengths, we flex what others consider a complex.”

It’s a confidence-boosting track, and we can only imagine how many people will hype themselves up to it while they get ready for their next night out. 

“LALALALA” has two versions featured on the record: the standard title track, which is featured in the music video, as well as a rock version of the same song. 

“I love phonk music,” says King. “Stray Kids creating a song that’s got a similar vibe made me so hyped listening to it.”

The official music video, uploaded on November 10 to JYP Entertainment’s YouTube page, spotlights each of the eight members with different styles, while also featuring many different sets and effects, leaving the viewers speechless and wanting more. Luckily for fans, the first live performance of the title track took place on Music Bank, a Korean television program, at 5 p.m. KST (2 a.m. CST) on Nov. 10, just three hours after the release of the extended play. Featuring the boys in their black and beige outfits with (many) gold accents, the fandom was left far from disappointed, leaving international fans sleeping well,and Korean fans ready for the rest of the day’s content.

The physical release of “樂-STAR (Rock-Star)” has 5 versions, all including photocards, the CD and additional content specific to the version. There are two standard versions (ROCK ver. and ROLL ver.), one limited version (STAR ver.), one “HEADLINER” version, and eight variations of the “POSTCARD” version, one for each of the members of Stray Kids.

Barnes and Noble, Walmart and Target have also stepped in to put their own spin on the standard versions of the album. When you buy the ROCK or ROLL version at these retailers, you’ll find additional content inside. Barnes and Noble includes a bookmark, Walmart includes a postcard, and Target throws in an extra exclusive photocard of a random member. 

Stray Kids picked up popularity in America after attending the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards, where they performed the track “S-class,” the title track on their previous album, “5-Star” before taking home an award for the category of Best K-pop for the same song. After the performance, social media was flooded with positive comments and curiosity from viewers across the nation. Furthermore, a video of Taylor Swift reacting to the group’s performance went viral, taking the internet by storm (if mother likes their music, everyone should give them a chance, right?). On Nov. 19, the Billboard Music Awards takes place in Las Vegas, NV, where Stray Kids are nominated for Best K-Pop Album and Global K-Pop Artist.

Kaihli Mitts is a sophomore at Mizzou studying Journalism and Strategic Communications. She is the TikTok manager for HerCampus at Mizzou, and loves to write articles about music and entertainment. When she's not studying, you can catch her listening to music, scrolling through social media, or making your drink at the campus Starbucks <3