Review

Song Review: Stray Kids – Double Knot

Over the past few months, Stray Kids’ experimentation with electronic influences has transformed their music into a vital, trend-setting part of the K-pop landscape. It’s easy to forget that, at their heart, the group thrives on a more straightforward hip-hop style, anchored by their trio of composers/producers 3RACHA. Personally, I prefer when Stray Kids pull from a more diverse sonic palette, but I suppose a pre-release track is as good an opportunity as any to head back to their roots. Double Knot emerges over a month before the release of the group’s next album — the first of two digital singles to precede it. Its title echoes an old 3RACHA song, but the track is a new composition.

This is an odd one to review. On one hand, its lowered ambition pales in comparison to both Miroh and Side Effects. Yet at the same time, I’m willing to extend it a certain level of grace based on the incredible strength of those two singles. At its core, Double Knot is a typical boy group banger, borrowing the kind of hulking, noisy production favored by acts like Monsta X. It even incorporates heavy doses of stylistic autotune, as if intent on pushing every musical nerve I’ve got.

But here’s where that grace comes in. Double Knot benefits from a familiarity with Stray Kids’ previous work. Its structure carries a lot of their trademark quirks, from the breakneck swirl of combative energy during the pre-choruses to the abrasive distortion in the underlying synth loops. The track is also catchier than most comebacks of this style, continually circling back to a descending vocal hook that mirrors the lumbering instrumental. There’s very little melody to be found, but the rap verses are arranged in a repetitive manner — much closer to pop than hip-hop. In the end, there aren’t enough unique or standout moments to rank Double Knot as anything more than a boisterous aside, but I imagine (and hope) that Stray Kids are saving their biggest and best for the upcoming album.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8

 

7 thoughts on “Song Review: Stray Kids – Double Knot

  1. Miroh and side effect are really unique and interesting songs, but this one isn’t. It’s still good. But kinda weak for comeback track, but also a strong track for a b-side. Wish their next title track with an album will be a lot better

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It isn’t a bad song but it doesn’t so anything new for this kind of subgenre song. (loud, big, important, vigorous hand movements, impressive rap, deep bass notes, dark abandoned parking lot) It hits all the marks, but adds nothing interesting.

    It doesn’t sound very Stray Kids-like, and yes Nick you are being generous. Actually it sounds like a group trying to sound like Stray Kids.

    On a related note, I am getting really tired of the low fat brass synth sound. People really need to get more creative than just hitting single low note “melody” to Sound Impressive. Really they are just being lazy. Maybe an actual tuba and full actual brass section, now that would be impressive. (Or more cowbell.) Add this to the list of kpop trends I could do without.
    (Also, the rat-a-tat snares everyone is doing on pre-choruses to make it obvious that the chorus is coming, because otherwise the chorus would be a non-event. Add that one to the list. (Not in this song, but in most))

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m sick of the brass and snares as well. They’re just so predictable and cumbersome.

      While writing this review, I was fully aware that I was being generous… but I’m not sure that’s true anymore.

      These past few days have actually been kind to this track. I’m digging it more and more and I’m honestly not sure why. I would’ve loved for more variation during Double Knot’s climax (that thundering outro just doesn’t pack the punch it thinks it does), but I already find myself going back to the song more than I thought I would. It’s not a patch on Miroh or Side Effects, of course… but few 2019 K-pop has been.

      Like

      • Hey, more power to you! Wish I could agree.

        I do need to listen to it a bit more even now because I’ve been kind of avoiding it since release, but I know it does have some good parts. Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe they underdelivered, who really knows? My biggest disappointment is for sure the drop. Miroh’s drop works because it’s bouncy and busy. Side Effects’ works because it’s somewhat restrained but still interesting. Double Knot’s drop is… a drop. It’s lifeless, or at least it sounds that way to me right now.

        I will say that Hyunjin (especially his first verse) absolutely saves the song for me. He stands out in this one because, to me, he fits in the most with what I hoped and expected. Changbin’s second verse does that, too, though to a lesser extent. Brings it up from a generous 7 to at least a half point higher.

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