Song Review: Stray Kids – Mixtape: Oh

Stray Kids - Mixtape OhIt’s been an unusually long break since Stray Kids’ last Korean comeback. They spent their first three years blitzing the market with music — no less than nine albums’ worth of material depending on how you classify their minis and repackages. Their 2021 has been devoted to Mnet’s Kingdom, which paid off in victory during the series finale. Before their inevitable post-show comeback, the guys tide us over with one of their “mixtape” releases – un-promoted singles supported by indie-minded music videos.

For me, this release strategy is a double-edged sword. It’s always nice to hear new music from a favorite group, and mixtapes often allow for more exploration than a typical title track. But, they tend to be less ambitious in sound, diluting the overall impact of a group’s singles run. Like so many of Stray Kids’ mixtape releases, Oh (애) is pleasant but unassuming. Its biggest legacy will likely be the return of member Hyunjin after his lengthy hiatus.

The song delivers the kind of emotive mid-tempo pop usually heard in idol group b-sides. It’s got a nice generic groove, utilizing elements of EDM to craft the sort of build/drop structure that forges so much of today’s pop music. Oh’s chorus casts a few sparks, supported by brassy synth and a percolating tropical loop. However, the melody isn’t anything to write home about. It’s pretty indistinguishable from any other song of this nature. Oh’s strongest hooks emerge during its verses, which offer a sly series of cyclical melodies that push the track forward. All in all, this is a fine appetizer. But, I think we’re all ready for the main course.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

11 thoughts on “Song Review: Stray Kids – Mixtape: Oh

  1. Even though their mixtape releases are less exciting, I’ve found that I quite enjoy this kind of sound from them, like in Ex and On Track. To me it’s very comforting to listen to, especially when paired with the MV…though I’m sure part of my enjoyment is simply because I really like Stray Kids. Like you said, I’m sure that Hyunjin’s return will be by far the biggest reason people return to this song.


  2. Hah, and here we were just talking about the diluting effect of SKZ’s huge number of releases on their average rankings. This was fine – the mixtape releases aren’t usually my favorites. I didn’t playlist it, maybe I will later. I’ve already forgotten everything about the MV except I always appreciate when Felix gets to show off those freckles. I didn’t have strong feelings about the outcome of the Hyunjin situation, but I’m glad to see folks are happy about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t been as hooked on their mixtape releases as their actual title tracks (or even b-sides). Songs like this are more easy listening or at least background music for mundane activities. Still decent fare if not “something to write home about” as you said.

    By the way, I’m not sure if you’ve addressed this yet, but are you going to write a review on Sam Kim’s Juice?


    • I was planning to, but once I listened to it I just didn’t have much to say. It’s not a bad song, but my ambivalence (coupled with the fact that he’s not a huge idol artist) ultimately made it a skip.


  4. yes the overall vibe of the song was as expected, that nice indie touch by skz
    but the fact i enjoyed it quite much pretty surprised me too and I’m glad hahahah
    tho maybe it’s bcs skz made it and I’ve always tried to appreciate their creation to the max

    and peeps are happy with hyunjin back, so yay ^^


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