Even as the year comes to a close, Stray Kids keep churning out new material. Less than a month after their most recent comeback, the group has unveiled a mixtape project. Since debut, they’ve included a special mixtape track on the physical version of each of their albums, with some even being paired with music videos. Gone Days likely won’t be promoted beyond its own video, but it’s a fun little capper to Stray Kids’ busy 2019.
Though I consider them to be one of the new leading voices in K-pop, my opinion of Stray Kids’ b-sides varies pretty wildly. For every Stop or Boxer, there’s a trendy hip-hop track that I’d easily dismiss if performed by another group. Gone Days fits within this category. It gets by on Stray Kids’ immense charm, but this kind of mellow, uneventful hip-hop just isn’t for me. In fact, as soon as the song started I felt a bit of PTSD from this past summer, when this specific sound seemed omnipresent in K-pop.
However, Gone Days is the exact reason I often stress the importance of a group having a large and diverse discography. If this had been a single release after a long hiatus, I’d likely be fuming right now. But, within the context of an already robust catalog of hits, I can appreciate Gone Days for the pleasant filler it is. I will never be a fan of this song’s excessive use of autotune or unimaginative trap beat, but its hook is decently catchy. I especially like when the instrumental gains steam during the pre-chorus and climax, bringing a touch of dynamism to the track.
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