Song Review: Stray Kids – All In

True to JYP form, Stray Kids have proven to be real workhorses this year. Just over a month after their last Korean comeback (which they’re still promoting), they’ve dropped the music video for their new Japanese single. All In follows this spring’s standout TOP, and heralds the release of their first Japanese mini album. Like so many tracks this year, All In is a combination of the “great” and the “okay,” all filtered through the group’s undeniable energy.

One thing you don’t hear from K-pop groups much any more is rap verses underlined by high-tempo beats. It’s almost as if idol rap has become its own distinct moment within K-pop tracks. The bulk of a song cruises along its designated groove, but as soon as the rapper comes in the entire energy and tempo of the song changes. This discontinuity often blunts a track’s momentum, rather than building on it. In some ways, All In feels like a macro view of this K-pop trend. Its verses and chorus are distinct in tempo and delivery, making the song feel a bit lopsided.

All In’s chorus is a blast. I love its go-for-broke energy. The percussion pounds with a propulsive drive, supporting a brief but effective hook. In contrast, the song’s verses are hard-hitting but move far more leisurely in their pace. Neither approach is objectively better than the other, but having both in the same song makes All In difficult to fully embrace. Personally, I long to hear Stray Kids’ fantastic rap-line tackle the high-octane beat that frames All In’s chorus. I think it would result in a more dynamic flow, both for the verses themselves and the song overall. We get a bit of this as the song’s diverging approaches come together during its final moments, but too much of All In feels oddly disconnected.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

9 thoughts on “Song Review: Stray Kids – All In

  1. Agreed on Block B Nillili Mambo vibes for the intro! Anyone have the weirdest connection of their brain immediately thinking the part ‘Allllllll’ in sounds weirdly similar to Psy’s New Face specifcally ‘Heyyyyyyyyy’ we want some neww face around after the bridge?


  2. I actually really enjoyed this one. I loved the pre-chorus, the instrumental was simple but mesmerising and it felt almost dreamlike. The drop/chorus was also great, it had some good energy to it. The synth bass hits were also a nice addition however I don’t particularly enjoy the central horn/brass sounds.

    I would give this:
    Hooks 9 [Idk how you judge these but I found the vocals very playful]
    Production 8
    Longevity 9
    Bias 9
    RATING. 8.75

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m liking this a lot more on first listen compared to Back Door haha (less the momentum killing half-time second verse ofc), and im always a fan of SKZ adding more diverse samples into their songs

    there’s a lot of comments about this sounding like a Block B sound and i entirely agree. That’s a good thing in my books though! the Nillili Mambo vibes fit Stray Kids very well and it’ll be remiss if they don’t explore this sound further – they pull off rambunctious playful chaotic young adults

    (side note: it’s wild to call them young adults? but IN turns 19 this year and Chan 23???)

    Liked by 1 person

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