Song Review: The Boyz – The Stealer

Over the course of their first full-length album, The Boyz succumbed to many moody boy group tropes. This came as a disappointment to me, as I much prefer their funkier, SHINee-esque moments. Right Here and Giddy Up remain defining singles for them, and haven’t been bettered by anything they’ve released since. New track The Stealer comes off the heels of the group’s victory on Road To Kingdom, and draws from that series’ performance-oriented influences. It’s a mixed bag, with more highs than lows.

Unlike many K-pop tracks of the last few years, The Stealer thrives most during its verses. They’re lithe and funky, arranged with a spontaneity that makes the track feel brisk and exciting. I love the bass that underlines these segments. It’s incredibly energetic and has a unique pulse that differentiates The Stealer from all the other bass-heavy offerings this month. But, my heart really gets racing when the instrumental brings guitar into the equation. I would have loved to hear this instrument support the chorus as well, as I think it’s an underutilized element in K-pop.

So, let’s talk about that chorus. I don’t hate it, but its halting nature keeps The Stealer from being an instant classic. The towering vocal arrangement is appreciated (and very SMent), but I wish the tempo didn’t plunge off a cliff. It’s not an unforgiveable approach, and I think it works better here than in many boy group tracks. However, I would’ve liked to hear at least one chorus that carried the energy of the verses through. The Stealer’s finale gives us an added layer of percussion, but not to the point that it feels satisfyingly climactic. Still, this is a definite improvement from Reveal and Checkmate, and points toward a more exciting, ambitious musical future for the group.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8



18 thoughts on “Song Review: The Boyz – The Stealer

  1. Oh, I was wrong! On my mental list I thought Nick would call this “propulsive”. The bass line when it kicks in is reminiscent of Michael Jackson “Bad”. It’s a song that knows what it wants to be, and knows what it wants to do, but only for most of the time. It could have been an NCT-style song, if the chorus “I’m a Stealer” was souped up a bit with more extra. As is, it sounds like a refrain that they don’t quite commit to fully. More Rawrs! More motorcycle sounds! Or something.

    The 2nd bridge is a killer, starts at 2:49, and then whoosh they abandon it 15 seconds later. And back to the lukewarm refrain.

    I see different people singing, but they all sound essentially the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As somebody who ults the boyz… I did not like reveal as much as i wanted to. Im not saying its a bad song because i do enjoy it, but i agree with you that the boyz is the best when bright and fun. So i was bracing for the worst with the stealer. But i enjoy it a lot actually! A bunch more times than reveal (thank god) and I just think the instrumental is less lumber-y and moody and more uptempo than I was led to believe by the album preview. Im not the choruses number one fan but i like the following instrumental. All in all im really pleased since this is not as dark as i had suspected.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The chorus could’ve been a tad bit funkier but I really like this song! (I also actually loved Reveal lol) The choreography seems really cool and I think The Boyz are really great performers, Juyeon was incredible here.

    Personally, I’m okay with Giddy Up but I don’t think that sound is necessarily for them anymore which is okay. At least it’s not Checkmate 2.0.


  4. I was actually quite nervous that you won’t like this, but you don’t! That’s nice, I guess?

    I actually have no problem with the song at all. Coach and sendo exceeded all of my expectations, yet not all of them are fulfilled. I like the verses very much, reminding me of those shinee tracks that I love to listen. The only thing that almost distanced me from liking it is the chorus, because that is just… awkward. The chorus feels so awfully slow down, unlike the verses’ more fast approach. It felt like it was being held back, never letting it shown its true potential.

    I really liked that final part, with that bombastic energy soaring through the song. Though not as satisfying as I expected, nevertheless I still enjoyed this track. It’s a really big improvement from checkmate!

    Speaking of checkmate, are you perhaps going to review checkmate’s drum, nick? I want to hear your thoughts about it!


  5. I have mixed thoughts about this one. The instrumentation in the chorus is too noisy for me, but the first verse & pre-chorus are stellar! Best part of the song. I also love the energy in the bridge. I enjoyed both Reveal and Checkmate. Reveal had nice hooks, & I liked Checkmate’s slinkiness a lot. They both feel more consistent than The Stealer. This will probably grow on me as I watch performances because The Boyz have consistently delivered excellent choreography & Q is one of my favorite performers.


  6. If I hadn’t watched Road to Kingdom this release would fall under the “I can acknowledge that it’s a good song but it’s not for me” category. However, given I did watch all of RTK I must admit I find this a bit frustrating. RTK showed me just how good The Boyz are and I don’t think this shows that. To me this isn’t 1/3 as creative or nearly as satisfying as many of the things they did on the show. Nothing really caught my interest, not the song, not the concept, not even the choreo. Their time on the show suggested that they are more than capable of a comeback of epic proportions, one that grabs you by the collar and demands your attention. For me, this is not that comeback. I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by the whole thing. RTK gave me expectations and sadly expectations can be a dangerous thing to have. That’s the most frustrating part, this is a good comeback but not half as good as I now know it could be. Oh well I guess I will have to wait till next time and in the meantime, I shall continue to root for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reveal was a serviceable first album. A couple songs I go back to listen to but nothing I’d suggest to someone to listen to all the way through to introduce them to the group.

    I think this new mini album is superior in everyway to Reveal. The very beginning of Shine Shine is more interesting than the majority of songs on Reveal imo.
    …It also doesn’t necessarily set them apart from any other current boy group. While listening to the songs I realized I don’t necessarily hear any stand out voices…which is a shame from a group with 11 members. I’m glad they’re finding themselves as performers but the sound isn’t anything distinct. At certain points they almost sound like SF9.

    The Stealer is a fun listen though. I’d probably rate it at an 8.


  8. I actually hated the song because it just sounded so drowned out and empty melodically, but everyone has has their own taste :)). I wish they would try to incorporate some of their youthful sound into their current mature concept more.


  9. I’m a huge chorus guy so this song did not do it for me despite really liking the verses and the bridge 😦 really hope we can get some fire choruses in the future as The Boyz have shown they are capable of making some really good ones


  10. I don’t know how this track will age with me because usually The Boyz’s song don’t age well with me. For now, I like this quite a lot. I really want to point out that bridge (i think that’s the right term). I absolutely loved it, especially the pacing.

    The chorus however… it felt like I was listening to another song. I don’t like how it changed the tempo out of nowhere.

    On another note, I really do get a lot of SM vibes from this. Not only from the vocal arrangement but the aesthetics too. And the bucket hat seemed to me reminiscent of Tempo era Kai.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny that you mention Tempo, because I think The Stealer has the same strengths and weaknesses. With both songs, I find the verses far more compelling than the chorus. And, they both have amazing bridges. Ultimately, the highs outweigh the lows, but those lows hold both songs back from being absolute knockouts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree, as much as I love Tempo, rhe chorus could’ve elevated the song so much more if it had been better.

        But that bridge is just a thing of beauty.


      • That comparison is spot on to me. I really like the verses and prechorus but the chorus is such a mood killer for me that I just never listen to the song again.


  11. I am very happy to see The Boyz haven’t completely abandoned songs with tempo and energy- unfortunately that chorus drags down the entire song. Like everyone else has already mentioned, parts of this really feel like an NCT song, but less unique.

    I do love those verses, but without the payoff of a good chorus it ends up being frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This song is pure solid SOTY material. Ugh, I can’t get enough of it! The pre chorus. Amazing. The chorus. Don’t even get me started with the chorus. Absolutely extravagant. The SM vibes (mostly from EXO) in this song make it even better especially from the echo-like “yaaah”. And the 2nd part of the bridge part + the rap that escalates into the final chorus. That was incredible! In all honesty the Mission Impossible seductive bad boy braggadocio can get a bit much at times but all of The Boyz pull it off absolutely perfectly.


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