Stray Kids on a roll, releasing a new album just two months after their Maxident comeback

Samia Orva, Staff Writer

Rating: 9.5/10


Less than two months after the release of their mini-album Maixdent, Stray Kids dropped a full 25 track album titled SKZ-Replay in late December of 2022. SKZ-Replay includes tracks from their unofficial SKZ-Record and SKZ-Player series, which were previously unavailable on traditional streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. The album also features eight new solo songs from each of the members. The entire album is extremely versatile as it meshes various genres and sounds.


“FAM” (Korean Ver.)


“FAM,” originally a Japanese track released back in 2020, is a wholesome group introduction song with a fun, upbeat hip-hop beat and electronic melody. The song especially hypes up each of the Strays Kids members one by one, celebrating their family-like dynamic. “FAM” was more of a silly and unserious song and I found it to be very catchy; it definitely makes you want to sing along. “FAM” is a perfect starting piece to acquaint yourself with the eight Stray Kids members.


“Connected” by Bang Chan


Bang Chan, leader of Stray Kids and one of two Australian members in the band, surprised Stays (their fans) with the first fully English song of the album. The song expresses the nature of “fateful connections” no matter the boundaries, some people are just destined to be together and are naturally drawn to each other. “Connected” starts off with an RnB sound, but then features a unique, EDM beat in the chorus. From the first listen, it sounded like a song that would be a hit on the radio. The only complaint I have about “Connected” is how short it is, falling just under three minutes.


“Limbo” by Lee Know


In addition to being a main dancer, Lee Know is also a fantastic vocalist. “Limbo” is an alt-rock song filled with emotion. The song is about holding onto a relationship that’ll inevitably end. I really enjoy the vocals in this song, especially the belting part of the chorus. One of my favorite aspects of “Limbo” is actually how Lee Know chooses to end it it’s definitely fitting for his playful personality, knowing his tendency to leave his fans hanging. The song ends off abruptly after so much tension having been built up. In a way, it makes the song seem unfinished and incomplete, but artistically so. Listeners are left in a state of limbo. 


“Doodle” by Changbin


In this funky, hip-hop song, Changbin talks about how he lives his life freely, not doing everything by society’s book. His life is like a “doodle” something carefreely done, not abiding by any set rules. Changbin challenges the ways that people are expected to live by hiding their true selves and following others, asking if they aren’t “tired of cosplaying as normal.” With its unique sound, however, “Doodle” may not be for everyone. Personally, it didn’t suit my taste, and I found it to be a little repetitive.


“Love Untold” by Hyunjin


Through this rock/hip-hop song, Hyunjin expresses the deep regret and pain that comes with unspoken feelings. The song impactfully starts off with the chorus, with Hyunjin lamenting his past self for being unable to convey his thoughts and emotions clearly. Throughout the verses, he continues reflecting on his past relationship and reminisces fond memories. Hyunjin is recognized for his dancing and rapping, but his singing often goes unnoticed. “Love Untold” is a great song that beautifully displays his emotive vocals and excellent song-writing abilities.


“Run” by Han


Han, in this RnB/pop song, writes about the feelings of wanting to escape the stagnant, suffocating moments of life: “The morning is a fresh start for someone / But the fresh dawn air weighs heavy on me.” He utilizes a fun, jumpy type of melody which contrasts the steadiness of his rapping. “Run” is about escaping from all the problems that weigh down on a person daily, “run[ning] with both feet aimlessly.” Although I can see why people might like this song, I found this to be a less memorable track compared to the rest of the album. I feel that Han’s other solos, such as “Alien” and “Wish You Back” (B-Side tracks), have a much bigger impact than “Run.”


“Deep End” by Felix


The second English track of the album is created by Felix, the second Australian member of Stray Kids. This song is a fan favorite, and I can definitely see why. Contrasting the preceding tracks, “Deep End” is a ballad, detailing the despair that comes with parting from a relationship. In this song, Felix showcases the versatility of his voice. The soft piano melody and the instrumental are simple, but enchanting, and allow his vocals to shine. “Deep End” starts off with the deep voice that Stays are used to hearing, but throughout the course of the song, Felix presents three different tones: a dark, deep voice, a softer, falsetto-like vocal, and finally a middle-range voice. Some may even mistake Felix as three different people on this track! 


“Stars and Raindrops” by Seungmin


“Stars and Raindrops” is definitely one of my favorite songs off of the album. It sounds like something straight out of a K-Drama, which wouldn’t be too far-fetched as Seungmin has already done OSTs for dramas before. Despite the happy sounding chorus, “Stars and Raindrops” can be described as RnB or a ballad. It’s a poetic song about regret, nostalgia, and ultimately, acceptance. Seungmin expresses the doubts he has about how things would be today if he had just done things differently in the past. However, he eventually comes to terms with the past and chooses to appreciate the memories he made: “In the end, I’m left alone at this night / Our memories become stars / […] The beautiful times we had together / The moments sparkle.” 


“Hug Me” by I.N.


“Hug Me” includes a bright, bouncy melody that portrays the warm feelings that one gets around their loved ones. In this wholesome, sweet song, I.N. depicts the excitement that comes with a new relationship. He conveys the feelings of affection one feels towards their partner. “Hug Me,” with its bright sound, never fails to put a smile on my face.




In this mellow, sentimental ballad, Stray Kids expresses their appreciation towards their fans for always being there. “#LoveStay,” with its simple but touching lyrics and delicate vocals, is a song of which I’m very fond. It’s a beautiful song that is sure to pull your heartstrings and evoke nostalgia, even if you aren’t a fan of Stray Kids (yet). It’s essentially a love song dedicated to Stays, hence the title.


These A-Side tracks are just the 10 of the 25 songs that are on SKZ-Replay. Stray Kids is known for their refreshing, experimental sounds, and SKZ-Replay does not disappoint. There are many more solo and sub-unit songs that display the unique dynamics between the members, and their individual sounds as well. It is an extremely versatile album, so new listeners are sure to find at least one song that suits their taste!