JYP Entertainment has done a fantastic job handling Stray Kids’ rollout so far, giving them an effective pre-debut reality series with an accompanying mixtape album composed of all of that show’s featured songs. And now we’re on our second “performance” video, which is basically just a less-complex version of typical k-pop music videos. By the time Stray Kids actually debut, they’ll already have a bigger discography than many established rookie groups!
To compliment the aggressive nature of last week’s Grrr, Young Wings (어린 날개) portrays a more evocative side of Stray Kids’ sound. You can’t really call it a ballad, even though that’s where its sentiment lies, as its fluid structure incorporates elements from many different genres. Opening with a moody piano riff, Wings‘ first verse combines vocal and hip-hop in the now-familiar BTS template before briefly transforming into a high-tempo build that threatens to flip the track into full-on dance mode. Instead, the chorus pulls back to present an emotive, mid-tempo refrain. The fact that the instrumental keeps you constantly off balance is both intriguing and frustrating. Part of me wants it to explode into something that feels more climactic, but its push and pull nature creates an effective sense of tension.
Similarly, Young Wings‘ melody has an elusive quality that defies expectations. Its chorus doesn’t crest with the kind of anthemic surge that songs of this nature usually employ. It somehow feels more casual, like the flow of a conversation rather than a pop song. I chalk this up to almost every line curving down to hit the same note, which gives the hook an oddly redundant structure. No matter how many times I hear it, I can’t quite decide whether it’s brilliant or a missed opportunity. Either way, it’s certainly unique.