I always get a little nervous when it’s time for another Stray Kids comeback. I adore so much of their material, but their hard-hitting hip-hop sound can also be pretty hit-or-miss when it comes to my personal taste. I tend to enjoy their songs best when they incorporate an additional instrumental element, from psy-trance to electric guitar. New single God’s Menu (神메뉴) adheres more closely to an expected rap template, and suffers because of this.
Production-wise, God’s Menu seems to borrow liberally from last year’s Double Knot. It’s certainly energetic, but the big, brassy trap-laced beat is something I’ve heard a million times before. In fact, this could have easily backdropped a Monsta X song. On first listen, I kept waiting for the instrumental to swerve in a new, interesting direction. But, apart from some nice synth in the pre-chorus, the track remains oddly faceless.
This is where Stray Kids come in. They always bring a lot of personality to their music, and that helps keep God’s Menu from feeling totally generic. Though melody is scarce in a song like this, the group’s variety of tones helps keep things interesting. I only wish they didn’t feel the need to include so many vocal effects. It’s needlessly trendy and just blends them together with every other “hard” boy group.
I don’t think the God’s Menu’s chorus is anything special, but I do like how their voices essentially become part of its percussion. This is a nice use of Felix’s booming tone, in particular. I also appreciate how the song never lets up. We’re deposited right into the middle of the chaos from the first second, and never given a chance to catch our breath. But when it comes down to it, this feels like a very slight entry in Stray Kids’ singles run. It will grow on me (their songs always do), but last year’s one-two punch of Miroh and Side Effects remains unbeatable.
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