Song Review: Stray Kids – Astronaut

Stray Kids’ Astronaut arrives nearly a week after it was originally scheduled, and several weeks after the departure of the group’s main vocal Woojin. I’m honestly surprised that they were able to release it as early as they did, given the inevitable re-recordings and edits needed to accommodate Stray Kids’ new eight-member configuration. Ironically, the song is their most vocal-driven single in some time, and you can clearly hear where Woojin’s voice might have slipped in.

After the excellent one-two punch of Miroh and Side Effects earlier in the year, both Astronaut and its predecessor Double Knot seem to tackle one aspect of what made those title tracks so thrilling. For Double Knot, that meant a hard-hitting hip-hop track. For Astronaut, it means fairly straightforward EDM. Stray Kids have explored this sound before on last year’s Mixtape #1, but I’m not sure how many listeners actually heard that track. Astronaut has more meat on its bones thanks to a generous injection of rap. Its standout pre-choruses transfer some of Miroh’s appeal, layering more than one melodic line on top of the other to create a busy, ascending energy.

Elsewhere, Astronaut is more generic. Its instrumental drop – which makes up much of the track – could have been copied from any number of festival-ready EDM bangers. It’s surprisingly reserved, aiming for euphoria but never going big enough to nail that sentiment. I much prefer the moments that are driven by the members themselves, drawing on the guys’ character-filled vocals to imbue the track with that trademark Stray Kids grit. From Changbin’s mile-a-minute flow to the captivating deepness of Felix’s tone, the group does what it can to elevate the song’s generic leanings. If only Astronaut’s production echoed their intensity. It’s a solid, satisfying EDM track, but could have hit much harder.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.25

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5 thoughts on “Song Review: Stray Kids – Astronaut

  1. I had to check to see if this song was actually a Pepsi endorsement or the like, because it really sounds like one. But no products seem to be in anyone’s hand.

    Otherwise to me it sounds like basic kpop, slightly better produced.

    But it doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is what the small child who sits behind me in the car, who goes by the appellation “sonny boy”, and who has declared “Side Effects” to be the best song of 2019 in any language. Even better than “Old Town Road”, mom! He was not allowed to listen to this new song last night as he was sent to search for his lost library book.


  2. Oddly, this song feels to me like it was originally written to be a Jisung solo track which just happened to be recorded by all of Stray Kids. I know that that was not the original intention, but it is a song which really fits his vocal timbre in my opinion. While I am in now way a line distribution stickler, he does have the most lines; and somehow the song as a whole just really feels like part of his style. Maybe I just found the vocals in this one a little a little too replaceable (besides Felix and the raps, of course.)

    Anyways, it’s alright. I’m a bit of a Stray Kids stan, but this is road-trip pop at a time when the summer road-trip season has ended. Maybe it will eventually worm its way onto my playlist, but that will be mostly based off pure bias.


  3. It was a little underwhelming for me but as it’s only a b-side, I’m okay with it. It’s a fun little song and it makes me happy, even if it is pretty generic.


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