Review

Song Review: Stray Kids – My Pace

Rookie group Stray Kids released my favorite debut of the year with March’s District 9. That track positioned them as an exciting new force in K-pop, blending trendy hip-hop with a bombastic rock edge that felt unique and disruptive. It was always going to be a difficult song to follow up, so it makes sense that new single My Pace feels a bit underwhelming in comparison. Even so, the track retains the group’s core elements with a few new twists.

I was concerned to see My Pace pairing Stray Kids with producers Earattack. This may be controversial to say, but I partially blame Earattack for destroying GOT7’s post-2015 sound. I find much of their work for boy groups to be lacking in melody with an over-emphasis on acting “hard” and tough. Stray Kids are too promising to get caught up in that cliché. Luckily, the guys compose all their own material, and excel at bringing a welcome sense of hookiness to even the most swag-filled hype tracks.

Right off the bat, My Pace returns Stray Kids to rock territory. A gritty guitar riff and rollicking vocal hook kick off the track. The delivery here feels a little cheesy, but promises better things down the road. Before that, we shift to a hip-hop verse. The rap here is more structurally diverse than District 9, but never quite matches the sustained, aggressive energy that made that song such a showstopper. My Pace’s chorus enlists distorted guitar and pairs it with surprisingly bright synths and chanted vocals that lead back to the track‘s opening hook. It’s a dynamic blend of elements, even if it lacks some of the punch I was hoping for. Overall, Pace feels less focused than expected, and I’d chalk that up to the kind of natural growing pains any rookie group experiences.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8

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4 thoughts on “Song Review: Stray Kids – My Pace

  1. Although I haven’t heard the song enough to have a fully-formed opinion on it yet, I can safely say that it’s one of the most “Stray Kids” sounding things I’ve heard. My only real issue with it is that, my first time listening to it, the beginning hook made me laugh harder than it should’ve because all I could think about was the Mahna Mahna Muppet Show song. I’ll never be lucky enough to unhear it.

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  2. This is a bit late, but sue me, I’m curious. Have you heard the full album? How do you consider the other songs? I thought awkward silence was nice, but voices and MIA seem like songs you’ll dislike – the electronic squiggles, auto tune and halting edm drops (for voices) are elements in recent K-pop production that you’ve railed against recently (justifiably, of course) haha!

    For me, I prefer my pace to district 9. I’ll take the raucous “nanana”s of my pace over the formulaic edm drop of district 9 any day. But honestly, one of Stray Kids’ greatest strengths is in their lyrics. Even though I can’t understand Korean, reading the translation makes me appreciate how thoughtful these kids are, and the sincerity of their message they try to to convey.

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    • Honesty, I’ve only listened to the album one time through so far. But, nothing on it grabbed me in the same way that their first album did. Maybe it just needs more time, but for now I’m quite disappointed. I could see why other listeners would enjoy it, and this feels very much like what will become the Stray Kids sound, but to me nothing is as good as District Nine, Grow Up, 3rd Eye, Mirror, or really any of the others.

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