It’s not unusual for an idol group to perform an OST track, but most of these songs are outsourced to producers who may or may not have a history with the group’s discography. Very few OST songs could be considered highlights within an artist’s catalog. More often, they’re generic pop tracks or melodramatic ballads. In contrast, Stray Kids’ Hello Stranger is composed by the guys themselves – or more specifically, their three-member production team 3RACHA. As such, it feels like a natural extension of their latest album.
If placed within Go Live’s tracklist, Hello Stranger would be a highlight. It draws upon the rock influences that have often been part of their hip-hop sound, injecting jolts of guitar distortion to bolster its beat-heavy arrangement. There are also hints of brassy synth sprinkled throughout, which is a new touch for the group. Hello Stranger is more melodic than much of their recent work, but retains the punky energy that characterizes their style. Its chorus has a freewheeling appeal, driven by the guys’ unrelenting personality. They’ve delivered stronger hooks in the past, but Hello Stranger showcases a nice blend of pop and shouty hype track.
There’s a certain level of cacophony to Stranger’s instrumental, as if the guys are constantly throwing ideas out there to see what sticks. This makes the track’s taut arrangement even more important. A song like this could easily devolve into meaningless noise. But, it’s well-structured and catchy, benefiting from the necessary palatability that OSTs demand. I don’t think it will go down as a Stray Kids classic, but Hello Stranger is certainly a welcome mid-summer treat.
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