Review

Song Review: Stray Kids – Back Door

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.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5


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47 thoughts on “Song Review: Stray Kids – Back Door

  1. Honestly? I am not feeling it. Idk why but it feels a little underwhelming compared to what I know they can do. I’ve listened four times now and I think there’s something missing in the instrumental to really give it that boost. Even with all these (for lack of a better term) bleeps and bloops in the chorus it still feels like it’s lacking something. I appreciate Changbin’s shout rap trying to inject something into it. Also I hate the door noises.

    They could do no wrong by me in 2019 but 2020 I just can’t get into anything they’ve done so far.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. you’re scoring this a lot higher than i would’ve! the drop is almost an anti-drop reminiscent of Treasure’s Boy – they both have irritating instrumentals, On that note, Back Door reminds me of current YG in terms of the structure and noises/production choices used (especially the undeserved final part breakdown).

    I do appreciate SKZ going out of their comfort zone and experimenting more with their format though! the funky bass is rare (if not never present?) in their music, and it’s definitely a welcome addition.

    But once again, I’m a fan of stray kids so this song would eventually grow on me, no matter how reluctant i am. (the live performance is playing in the background and it’s already a lot better than my first impression of the song. i think changbin’s repetition helps hammer the chorus into my brain).

    on that note, how do you find the rest of the songs on the album? i think there’s too much trap and autotune, and not enough everything else, but the vocal unit track (My Universe) is rather catchy

    Liked by 3 people

    • Funny, I was actually going to say that if the drop sounded a bit MORE like Boy’s, I’d be way more into it! Obviously for me the best case scenario would be no full drop at all — I almost always feel that drop choruses take over what could’ve been something really anthemic, and Back Door is no exception (though previous Stray Kids songs like Miroh certainly are). I do like the drop in Boy well enough, though, and I’d trade the sort-of-drippy synth in this one for it any day. Big agree on both the bass and the inevitable growing on me it’ll do. The verses are really fun.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Okay, scratch like half of that sentiment. Everything I said is true, but I’ve already reached the phase of my listening when I’m subconsciously bopping about like I’m one of those inflatable tube men. Drop is super fun. I’m having a blast. Listening with good headphones works wonders.

        Liked by 1 person

        • dude i’m pissed that youre right

          the spotify version is a lot better than youtube, and the verses are really headbop-worthy. The drop also lasts for a few bars, which helps stop it from getting annoying.

          …oh damn it. the bars make me anticipate the drop instrumental and it irks

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          • The youtube version is in monotone, that’s why it feels like it’s missing something. Curious if this was done intentionally or by mistake. Listen to it in spotify and you can get a better appreciation of the pads and melody.

            Like

  3. I definitely agree! I enjoyed God Menu’s pre-chorus more than this, but i prefer the rest of this song.

    With the repacked songs, i didnt really LOVE any of them. They were all pretty decent but the only one that stood out to me was the final 30 seconds of “B Me”.

    For the whole album in general, Haven has become my number 1 (strongly influenced by your review 😂), followed by phobia, pacemaker, blueprint, B Me, TA, Any, Ex.

    I wish i knew where the instrumental from their mashup video of their album was from.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I look at the verses and I am screaming for Stray Kids to do something funky!

    Oh Yeah! I can see it all now!

    for a group I am always excited about , and we all know your excited about them Nick , This felt more like an average song , “Oh Solid Song……….. That’s all” I mean……. It’s good but still.

    I just wished the finale’s energy was driven more throughout the track , otherwise this could’ve been a slight downgrade for Miroh , but at least we GOT A MIROH! IN 2020!

    Rating: 8.25

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As with other Stray Kids songs that are good not great, I usually ignore them until the next great one comes along in a few months’ time and then go back and buy it anyway to complete the set. My main issue with this particular song is a lack of distinct identity beyond the awesome bass line when it comes around and the knocking sound what that comes around. Ergo 3:07 and out is great!

    Right now, its perhaps low 8’s for me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Actually, only twice with Gods Menu and this, if you asking how many singles they released this year (Counting December and unpromoted solos):

      On Track
      Gone Days
      Streetlight (Changbin)
      Close (Han)
      Top (Japanese)
      Slump (Japanese)
      Gods Menu
      Blueprint
      Easy
      Hello Stranger
      Back Door

      So 11 in total (Though the consistency varied a lot)

      If that was meant to be figurative, mianhae…..

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        • Almost, I guess it is slightly amplified by the news they are getting from Woojin’s scandal, I really wanna know what happened behind the scenes, anyway, looks like Woojin is guilty of the terrible crimes he was accused of, but I am not gonna fully give my thoughts until he is proven guilty.

          But ya this is a rare year where another group has released more singles than NCT

          But really, I a beginning to lose track of what makes a single, look at half my comment chains with Nick, I am asking why are you not counting ‘X’ as a single and he does not find the MV official enough (Wait wha-, Hala Hala’s MV is less official than New World’s?!). But Nick has the right to his opinion, I have the right to mine, and to me, HALA HALA IS AN MV!!! (yay)

          (If you are wondering what the other half are, they are me making improbable requests for Nick to create some new weird feature which would only appeal to me [Bigflo top 10 list with less than 10 singles? Yes sir, actually Nick, if you have the time, can you rank all Bigflo singles in the comments section? Thanks in advance]) 🙂

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  6. I actually really really liked this. I loved the beat in the chorus and the funky guitar really made me smile. I haven’t really LOVED a song on the first listen in awhile. And after watching the dance after…it makes it all the more impactful. I give it 8.75!

    Liked by 5 people

    • I LOVE this song. At first listen, I didn’t like it as much as God’s Menu. However, after a few more listen, it really grew on me. It has a bit of musical theatre feel and catchy beat. I found myself smiling and bopping without even realising it.

      Like

  7. While in the first half of this year it’d have easily made my top 3 of the month just by using my favorite funky/slap guitar, this month it won’t make it anywhere near the top ( and we haven’t even hit the halfway mark!!!). That doesn’t mean that it’s not a great song, cause it is.
    It’s great.
    But it’s lacking something that other songs delivered this September, so… I’ll wait until next time/miroh.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I found the song in general a bit underwhelming. It doesn’t help that all the comments I saw about the song were calling it “Song of The Year“, I honestly think that term is used very loosely in the kpop fandom that it’s lost it’s meaning.

    I liked the verses but they lost me with the chorus. Other than that, nothing else stood out to me enough to remember. It’s not a bad song, just not one of their best.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. cant believe that in 2020 mvs are still being distributed with mono audio on accident. how is it possible that no one caught that when exporting or uploading.. at least the song is stereo on streaming platforms, but it really makes me wonder

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  10. I like God’s Menu better but I think this is alright too. Not their best but mostly I just can’t believe they made that beat drop work, I really like that part. The b-sides are great, though.

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  11. when propped up against God’s Menu it leaves me very whelmed. Not everything needs to be GM but this doesn’t feel as dynamic or interesting and even you say it doesn’t stand up to singles. I expect greatness like Miroh from them and…eh. But also, this is a repackage title so it’s fine I guess

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  12. Weird rating. I mean its not that great and its far from good. I dont know maybe you rate it like this?

    Hook – 4
    Production – 7
    Longevity – 4
    Bias – 20
    Simp – 20
    Asian Boys Fetish – 20
    RATING – 8.5

    Like

  13. I never expected it to be good actually. I thought it would be another god’s menu 2.0, but I was really wrong! I actually like how they began the song with a nice amount of energy, and it only elevated as it goes on. The chorus can be better, but somehow it works nicely.

    I would also like to mention how consistent the song is. I mean, we always get these “up and down” style this year, so this one actually feels fresh and decent at the same time.

    I would probably rate it more of a solid 8 or a 8.25

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  14. I am a big sucker for a funky bass line, so I immediately loved the verses.
    The drop in the chorus works surprisingly well, but it is not as impactful as some of the awesome chorus drops Skz have done before (Miroh, Side Effects).

    That choreography is amazing, by the way. It’s one of those rare ones that I actively enjoy watching- especially that outro. Awesome!

    Like

  15. Stray Kids is the group that never goes wrong musically and draws the listener in with their consistently experimentalist approach to K-pop that deviates from the norm. Back Door is theatrical, charismatic and propulsive. With every listen the song gets better. The incorporation of a funky bass line didn’t withhold the boys from making it quintessentially SKZ. Highlight of the decade, here we go.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I prefer the irresistible energy of God’s Menu, but this is a fun little bop. I actually feel it’s a little… overly short for me? It’s just over 3 minutes which I suppose is standard, but I feel that the song ends a little prematurely for me. After that last “You wanna come in?”, part of me was expecting one last rousing chorus. I like the song a lot but it feels like it’s missing a little spice that would put it over the top, so it’s like 7.5-8 for me.

    Overall SKZ are really growing on me when I look at their recent work as well as their discography as a whole, and I’m sure this has nothing to do with my steadily growing Hyunjin thirst.

    Like

  17. Any buried treasures for this album nick? So far only Wow has caught my attention (something in it just evokes nostalgia?) and the rest didn’t really suit my tastes

    Like

  18. This whole repackage has been a real grow-er for me.

    Personally I have less hangups with the production because I am getting to witness the growth of 3racha. I still think those 3 as a production team have so much to show us. It really seems like they looove making music and building tracks that showcase the team’s undeniable chemistry and individual charismas.

    I was listening to American trap when K-pop 2nd wave was happening so since 3rd and 4th have embraced it so strongly – I’ve never batted an eye cuz I knew the genre was gonna go intensely global and didn’t realize for a while it’s a shift for k-pop…

    The Treasure comparisons with the drop at the chorus are fair – but I didn’t have the same sinking bummer feeling even with the instrumental switch up. The yelled hook is very evocative, moving and punk for me. I’ve been watching their stage performances where they are tearing up the stage after stage and it may be heightening the experience of the chorus for me.

    Stray Kids discography has some soaring melodic moments but I do think this abrasive even more esoteric approach is probably going to be the direction they continue to go in. ‘Any’ is a great example of this – though I’m sure it doesn’t appeal to everyone’s taste, I love the almost Bollywood-esque inflections.

    I agree with the rating though because I think scoring an 8.75 or above should really be entering transcendent music/ true banger territory. This mostly song just maintains my excited and interested in Stray Kids.

    Like

  19. This song was outstanding. Everyday my family and I listen to it. It’s our routine. Stray Kids are more than over qualified when it comes to Talent. They are amazing talented artist. We love everything about this video, sound, technique, clothes style and WOW is what we said after. Truly proud of this amazing group of men. Thank You

    Like

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