REVIEW: Stray Kids’ MAXIDENT another amazing album

Stray Kids; source:

Moa Berglund, Staff Writer

K-pop group Stray Kids’ new mini-album MAXIDENT is an energetic and catchy album that, for the first time, focuses on the theme of love. It consists of eight tracks, including lead single “CASE 143,” ranging from a soft lo-fi to drill. The album has managed to place third in the amount of pre-orders, just behind BTS’ Map of the Soul: 7 and Map of the Soul: Persona. Although often avoiding the topic of love in previous releases, Stray Kids created a very experimental album, while still maintaining their “noisy” and catchy style of music.


Follow along for my track-by-track review:


CASE 143

The album’s lead single, “CASE 143,” describes the confusion someone feels when falling in love, cleverly using the numbers “1,” “4” and “3” as code for “I love you” (a reference to the number of letters in each word). An energetic pop song, “CASE 143” shows the group’s more fun and playful side with lyrics and a beat that are very catchy. It is characteristically Stray Kids and therefore a favorite of the fans and receives a 10/10.



The second track, “CHILL,” has a smoother, more lo-fi feeling that introduces a new sound, though very faint, to the group’s already diverse soundboard: saxophone riffs. It discusses a couple whose love for each other has cooled, but they do not break up to avoid hurting each other’s feelings. Listening to the song for the first time, it was difficult to form an opinion on it, but as I listened to it more, I started to enjoy it and even had the chorus stuck in my head for the rest of the day. The song gets an 8/10.



“Give Me Your TMI,” the third track, gives a backstory to “CASE 143,” singing about one getting more and more curious about the person they like without realizing it. I personally like this song a lot as it is “louder” and has a catchier beat throughout the song. The guitar riffs, bass and drums in the background are amazing. The song gets a 9/10.



The fourth track, “SUPER BOARD,” conveys the extremely important message of never giving up. The song creates a technological feeling using hip-hop drums and bass synths. Listening to the album for the first time, the sound effects in the background of this song had me cracking up, and quite honestly, still do. The song gets a 7/10.



Tracks five to seven are sung in sub-units, giving all the group members a chance to explore and strengthen their song-writing skills. “3RACHA,” track five, is a diss track describing the pride and determination of the group’s production team 3RACHA, consisting of Bang Chan, Changbin and HAN. What I love about this song is that it captures the three writers’ personalities distinctively with Bang Chan’s strong Australian accent and Changbin and HAN’s fast-paced rapping. This song is definitely one of my favorites on the album and therefore gets a 9/10.



Track six, “TASTE,” is all about the mysterious atmosphere that surrounds two people who are struggling with the ability to love. Lee Know and Hyunjin’s soft vocals and Felix’s deep singing are perfect for the lyrics included in the track. The song is a great example of how the talents of the dance line are not only limited to dance. The build-up to the beat drop on this song is amazing and was exactly what I expected from these three. This song was immediately added to my favorite playlist, and it gets a 9/10.


Can’t Stop

The group’s two youngest members, Seungmin and I.N, created “Can’t Stop,” a cheerful and energetic pop-rock song, to describe how one’s heart starts to beat faster when around the person they adore. The song has a very innocent vibe to it that could make it an opening song in a series or movie. It isn’t something I would very often listen to, but I can clearly hear why someone would. The song gets a 7/10.



“CIRCUS,” the eighth and final track, is the Korean version of an earlier released song sung in Japanese with the same name. It is centered around a colorful circus theme with hip hop-dance style music. As I have listened to the song many times in Japanese, the Korean version sounds odd simply because it is very weird hearing the lyrics in another language. The song gets an 8/10.



The members of Stray Kids were able to use something new to them and mix it with what they already know to create an absolute masterpiece. The album is very energetic and catchy and exactly what you would expect the group to create. The lyrics and meanings of the songs are well presented. Stray Kids’ MAXIDENT receives an overall 8.3/10.