Review

Buried Treasure: Stray Kids – Star Lost

Stray Kids - Star LostA K-pop group’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.


Stray Kids’ new album is perfectly solid, but I can’t help but be underwhelmed. This reaction comes on the heels of last year’s Go Live, which runs circles around NOEASY. This time around, there are no songs on the level of Haven or Ta or Phobia or Blueprint. Instead, the guys offer a handful of tracks that come across as less ambitious siblings to those standouts. They’re still enjoyable because Stray Kids are enjoyable, but overall NOEASY struggles to uncover killer choruses.

For me, Star Lost comes closest to recapturing the Stray Kids sound I love most. It’s one of the album’s EDM-flavored offerings, pulsing forward on a chugging beat that brings a welcome sense of drive. Guitar joins the mix and creates a sound that feels more organic than expected. In a different world, this could have been their Crooked. Star Lost never dives that far into pop brilliance, but the fact I can even make the comparison is appreciated.

With that said, there are moments of Star Lost that feel like a demo rather than a fully polished track. The climactic chant comes across as a placeholder, waiting to develop into something more complex and rousing. I could also do without the pre-chorus slowdown. I much prefer a streamlined energy to a stop/start structure. But, beggars can’t be choosers, and there’s enough here to make for a satisfying b-side. I love the filtered guitar textures that run throughout the verses. This alt-rock sound has tons of potential. Star Lost’s chorus casts a few sparks as well, moving from punchy chants to delicate falsetto. If I’m making an EDM-influenced Stray Kids playlist, this will definitely be on it.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5


~

5 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Stray Kids – Star Lost

  1. Slightly Unrelated but this August has been kind of underwhelming in terms of singles, In another alternate universe I can imagine much better, better choice of singles which would have thrown it over-the-top..especially for acts such as CIX and Mirae.
    On The Topic of Mirae, will there be an eventual buried treasure for the guys?
    And coming back to Stray Kids…yeah I am also kind of disappointed by the album too…Especially with the choice of title track. I agree with Star Lost being the best, it harnesses that club-era EDM sound which I love and a sweet, sweet melody.

    Damnit, I am thinking how this and “Haven” could’ve been an exceptional one-two punch of singles. Instead of them chasing this attitude-filled, lumbering beat drop sound, they could’ve chased this sensational Club-Era EDM..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve taken the words out of my mouth. ‘Star Lost’ is also my favourite song on the album, but barely. ‘Domino’ is incredibly catchy but my bias refuses to let it take the top spot lol.

    ‘Star Lost’ totally feels like the younger brother to ‘Haven’. It’s not quite as polished or impactful but showcases glimpses of brilliance.

    When they revealed the tracklist a while back, the words ‘Star Lost’ immediately caught my attention. I was a bit worried since ‘Davidior’ was a co-producer, and I’ve generally associated him with hip-hop music. Otherwise, I kind of knew this would be the EDM track I was hoping for, and I’m more than happy that they’ve released this track.

    My album ratings for ‘NOEASY’ are:

    1. Star Lost [9,9,9,10] = 9.25/10
    2. Domino [9,9,9,9] = 9/10
    3. The View [8,9,8,9] = 8.5/10
    4. Silent Cry [9,9,8,8] = 8.5/10
    5. Red Lights [8,8,8,9] = 8.25/10
    6. Gone Away [9,8,8,8] = 8.25/10
    7. Surfin [9,8,7,8] = 8/10
    8. Ssick [7,9,8,8] = 8/10
    9. Secret Secret [8,8,8,8] = 8/10
    10. Cheese [8,8,8,8] = 8/10
    11. Mixtape: OH [8,8,8,8] = 8/10
    12. Sorry, I Love You [9,8,7,7] = 7.75/10
    13. Thunderous [7,8,8,8] = 7.75/10
    14. Wolfgang [8,8,7,7] = 7.5/10

    Average: 8.18/10

    Granted that overtime my ratings will increase but just for comparison, my album ratings for ‘GO LIVE’ are:

    1. Haven [10,10,10,10] = 10/10
    2. Phobia [10,10,10,10] = 10/10
    3. Top [9,10,9,10] = 9.5/10
    4. Pacemaker [9,10,9,9] = 9.25/10
    5. Blueprint [9,9,9,9] = 9/10
    6. Ta [8,9,9,9] = 8.75/10
    7. God’s Menu [8,8,9,9] = 8.5/10
    8. Slump [9,9,8,8] = 8.5/10
    9. Gone Days [8,8,9,8] = 8.25/10
    10. On Track [9,8,7,8] = 8/10
    11. Easy [7,8,8,8] = 7.75/10
    12. Airplane [8,8,8,7] = 7.75/10
    13. Go Live [7,8,8,8] = 7.75/10
    14. Another Day [9,7,8,7] = 7.75/10

    Average: 8.63/10

    LOL, I really like Stray Kids.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. this review was very apt in the haven comparison! i’ve also heard star lost compared to a lost one direction song, or a night version of haven, which blog readers might find interesting haha

    good point on the filtered guitar and alt rock textures, i’ve not picked them up on my previous listens, but noticing them def improved the song experience now 😀

    but nick, does this mean that there’ll not be a silent cry review! that was my favourite song off this album and im curious about your thoughts on it too?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I like almost everything on this album (excepting the two previously released songs, of which no more will be spoken), but right now “Cheese” is my personal favorite, followed by “Star Lost”, “Domino”, and “Red Lights” in some order I haven’t decided on yet. I don’t think I.N has ever sounded so good as he does in those opening lines of “Star Lost” – maybe he should be singing in a lower register more.

    That said, I find Han’s (I think) “ya ya ya ya” ad-lib throughout incredibly distracting as the vocal processing sounds much too similar to the second set of “ya ya ya”s in ATEEZ’ “Fireworks” and then I have to go watch a Seonghwa fancam or I can’t think about anything else all day. And if you give a mouse a Seonghwa fancam, she’s going to ask for a San fancam, and that way lies madness.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. As an album, I also like God’s menu era better. There are a few songs on this album that I LOVE, but I can’t say I vibe with every single one. I do love the concept they are going for overall, but not every song hits the mark.

    My favorites are star lost, domino, red lights, and the title track thunderous. This era is pretty solid, but I will agree with you that the last era was more of a stand out.

    However, I would not say that this era is BAD or anything. God’s menu was just a viral hit. You can’t bring that level with every comeback and I’m okay with that. They still make my type of music for the most part and THATS all I need. ❤️

    Like

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