When Stray Kids deliver a repackaged album, they’re not joking around. In Life comes armed with eight new tracks – more than some artists’ full albums! As an extension of June’s Go Live and title track God’s Menu, new single Back Door continues to explore the group’s abrasive blend of hip-hop, EDM and pop. But this time, the track infuses a different element: funky bass guitar.
Bass guitar has become a hallmark of K-pop during the second half of this year, so it’s not particularly surprising to hear it pop up here. But, it does offer a refreshing switch-up for Stray Kids. Back Door’s verses pulse with a rhythmic drive, their addictive bass-line underlining the attitude-infused style of hip-hop that characterizes most of the group’s tracks. When we head into the chorus, it’s almost sad to hear this sense of funk disappear.
Rather than opt for a big, melodic chorus, Back Door pulls back for a hook that’s more skeletal than the verses surrounding it. The song’s pre-chorus doesn’t do much for me, but after a few listens I think the beat drop/chant that follows is actually pretty effective. The guitar is replaced with electronic elements, but the energy and pace are complimentary. So, even though this hook feels a little under-cooked, Back Door never loses focus. The track also makes fun use of sound effects, embracing a sense of playful cheesiness that has often been present in Stray Kids’ title tracks. The song stalls a bit for its moody bridge, but a rousing finale helps to bring it out on a high. I don’t think that Back Door is quite up there with the heavyweights in the group’s singles run, but it’s an enjoyable blend of the familiar and the new.