A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

Stray Kids’ 5-Star: Does the album live up to its name?


Edited by Valencia Li


Critic Rating: 8.5/10


The eight member band, Stray Kids, returned with their second comeback of the year this June. Many fans have been pointing out the continual release of content from the group, noticing how often they put out music. As of October 5th, the release of their next album has already been announced. This begs the question: do these minimal breaks between their releases impact the quality of their music? 


“Hall of Fame”

This rock inspired track starts the album off with a bang. The song sets the tone for the album — Stray Kids has made a name for themselves. The group hones in on their signature sound with their strong rap line, captivating instrumentals, and witty lyrics. I found the incorporation of Neil Armstrong’s famous quote — “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” — to be an especially clever addition. Their fresh sound and fearlessness with experimenting has always “shak[en] the industry.” The unique yet cohesive nature of all the different components of “Hall of Fame” truly hits the mark.



I actually found myself enjoying this track more than I initially expected. The hip-hop track with hints of pop and boom bap, boasts Stray Kids’ top tier music and how they are in a class of their own. The anti drop nature of the chorus is done in an addictive way that doesn’t let its repetitiveness spoil the rest of the track. The more prominent aspect of vocals in “S-Class” is also worth noting. 



“ITEM” is a unique track that also surprised me. The combination of melodic verses, hard hitting raps, staggered choruses, fun instrumentals, and “belty” vocals create a very interesting listen. This song gives off the vibe of a game soundtrack, which is fitting as it references Pac-Man quite a few times. “ITEM” is definitely a favorite that I had on repeat.


“Super Bowl”

The rumored predecessor to their iconic breakthrough hit “God’s Menu” finally made its debut after years of collecting dust. “Super Bowl” is a track full of cooking metaphors that describe Stray Kids’ fierce flavor. Although I found the sassy lyrics to be clever and fun, I do have mixed feelings about the delivery. The whispering and overall “sultry” vibe of the chorus was just not for me. However, the overall playfulness in the rest of the track almost offsets this tone. 


“TOPLINE” (Feat. Tiger JK)

As a person who has watched all the teasers leading up to the release of this track, “TOPLINE” did not disappoint the high expectations I had built up. It’s a compelling listen from start to finish. The grand instrumentals complemented by the relatively laid back flow of the raps display the casual confidence of Stray Kids. The lyrics hype them up without sounding cocky or arrogant. The group also got to collaborate with one of their role models — the legendary Tiger JK, who is often regarded as the “godfather of Korean rap.”



Unfortunately, “DLC” was the first disappointing song on this album. The flow and overall vibe of the song just didn’t do it for me. For a song about dancing your problems away, it isn’t a particularly catchy song and the instrumentals are simply boring. 



As another rock addition to 5-Star, “GET LIT” regrettably blends into the background. This song is upbeat and fun, but it didn’t have anything special that brought me back to track after the first listen. 



This song provides a stark contrast from its preceding tracks. Seeming to have jazzy influences, “Collision” is more on the chill, vibey side. I really enjoyed this switch up in tone. There’s nothing negative about this track that I can think of.



The ninth track of the album is a homage to the wildlife lost in the Australian bushfires, depicting the overwhelming sense of guilt and sadness that comes with the unfortunate incident. The upbeat yet tender vocals seem to diverge from the regretful message, but interestingly enough, it has that nostalgic, sentimental feel to it. Despite the heartfelt message, I will admit that this track felt forgettable at first. However, “FNF” came to grow on me after a second listen and I finally realized the track’s charm.



“Youtiful,” though a little cheesy with its lyrics, is a heartwarming and uplifting ballad. I would imagine this song to be wonderful for a wedding as it’s sweet and wholesome. It does have a bit of a dated sound, however, and ends up being outshined by the strong and bolder nature of the rest of the tracklist.

The first five tracks are consistent in their dark, hard hitting sound with their own individual quirks but the tracklist then continues to diverge into less intense songs. Though not quite yet on par with its title, 5-Star is definitely a solid album. As a whole, I actually enjoyed 5-Star more than their previous album Maxident.

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About the Contributor
Samia Orva, Managing Editor
Samia is a junior at Townsend Harris High School. Along with her work at The Critic, she is a part of YMA and enjoys the sciences. When she’s not listening to music, you can find her cozying up with a mystery or historical fiction novel or watching the latest of episode of her favorite true crime podcast, Rotten Mango.
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