Song Review: Stray Kids – Hello Stranger

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.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!


4 thoughts on “Song Review: Stray Kids – Hello Stranger

  1. In a perferct world this was released instead of Gone Days. Then I wouldn’t have to press skip every time I near the end of the album.


  2. So this song works because it is a tough guy song that doesn’t take itself seriously. It also has the casual throwaway fun effect that comes from years of practice. You can’t do this song as a rookie.

    I think it is great.

    Will it become an important part of the ouevre? They already have only a few years in a decent size back catalog of quality. But it could become a sentimental song they always sing anyway. For us OSK (outside south korean) fans, we tend to dismiss OST’s faster than we should but OST form fully a third of the Gaon charts. There is a tendency to think, ah, blah, OST, whatev, but look at Gaho for example. (GAHO!) His biggest hit is now “Start” from Itaewon Class OST earlier this year. Even my few US Korean friends now know him by name where as before I was the one always going on about Gaho and they were yeah yeah. Like I am now. Gaho Gaho Gaho.

    For the west, New Order “Shellshock” comes to mind as a soundtrack song that was small(ish) at the time but is now part of their greatest songs.


  3. I really never knew I needed a song like this until I heard it. It always makes me laugh like wow a day or two ago this didn’t exist and now I can’t live without it. Amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is more melodic but still sounding SKZ. I like it a lot when it pops up while listening to SKZ’s more hard hitting or experimental songs. It breaks up the flow for a bit before resuming classical SKZ songs.


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