Review

Song Review: STAYC – Stereotype

STAYC - StereotypeWhen STAYC debuted with So Bad, I was thrilled by the arrival of a girl group who seemed to deliver a new, exciting sound. Then, they returned with ASAP – a more sparsely-produced, sing-song affair that conformed to many of this era’s girl group trends. Of course, that’s the song that became a huge hit. Judging from new single Stereotype (색안경), this is the sound STAYC will continue to pursue. And although ASAP grew on me a lot, the approach is already starting to wear thin.

Despite not being my preferred style of production, Stereotype’s instrumental is undeniably interesting. The percussion has the light, skeletal form favored by too many current pop songs, awash in hi-hats when I’d rather hear some hearty bass. But, producers Black Eyed Pilseung throw a carnival of musical flourishes over the top. I love the flute-like synths that sweep in and out, seemingly unmoored from the rest of the track. The song is a little flat overall, but there’s always something going on in that beat. Unfortunately, I find the production easier to appreciate than truly get lost in.

Melodically, Stereotype unfolds like one long verse. We’ve become so used to K-pop’s obvious pre-choruses and hooks, often signaled by massive shifts in energy. Stereotype forgoes these expectations with a gentle, unassuming bounce. There’s some force in the vocals during the chorus, but other than that the song doesn’t bend over backwards to deliver peaks and valleys. This could be seen as a strength or a weakness depending on your taste. It doesn’t make for a very instant track, but might pay off in the long run. For now, I’m just wishing the girls would meld this new direction with the pop gloss that made So Bad such a treat.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.75

28 thoughts on “Song Review: STAYC – Stereotype

  1. I get the long unfolding verse comment – when I saw the teasers I thought there was a chance the melody they were teasing was the verse … especially with the whooooop build up vocal sample that ends the chorus…

    that said I think the production style and its charms are my style and I reallllyyy enjoyed ASAP. I also think StayC as a group is super talented and charming and I really really dig their performances. The live performance that’s been posted already, shows they are really no joke.

    So I’ll be listening and enjoying this a lot. Along with Talk n Talk, I finally feel like 2021 is getting on the right foot with gg songs!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. While I agree it still is not So Bad, I still think this is an 8.5+ for me. I really appreciated the improved use of the girls’ vocals with this comeback, Isa being the most obvious case. This may be taste like you mentioned, but that final chorus where it slows down and Isa just sings smooth butter is stuck hardcore in my head. If anything, that anti-bridge seemed to eschew the common trend of the bombastic final chorus where [insert main vocalist] belts a few wordless riffs in the background

    While So Bad is their best song, that Isa moment, to me, is the best moment in any of their music (and she isn’t even my bias)

    Liked by 2 people

    • This debut song dropped into my youtube feed this morning.
      Ferry Blue “Call My Name”

      Its a classic bonkers kpop song that some of us love around here. Its like IGAB for the 4th gen. Did I hear three key changes? Verse – chorus – postchorus each in a different key.

      Liked by 1 person

        • The thing is, it doesn’t actually transition. No transit happens. It just goes there with a melty scratchy contemporary version of a record scratch sound. (Transposition does happen though.)

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved So Bad too and honestly thought that was the style they were going for with ASAP being an odd song to break the pattern… But with Stereotype I can see that maybe it’s not so.

    ASAP grew on me because of the catchiness and I’m thinking this might grow on me too. But the truth is as much as I love StayC as a group and their voices …. I found this song kinda boring 😭 I feel sad because I can listen to almost anything but ASAP and Stereotype both lulled me into spacing out and feeling sleepy on the first listen… Maybe I always listen to them at the end of a tired day and so can’t focus completely.

    I definitely know that I’ll be enjoying the song later after the live stages etc.😄 It’s maybe the MV that does this to me – I had the same thing with Gfriend where I ended up loving their song a few weeks later but on my first listen I would feel sleepy.

    I’m hoping they go back to that surprise debut sound too- still I’ll keep looking forward to their songs!

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  4. This just sounded like one continuous monotonous song with some flourishes here and there. Safe to say I had doubts finding what the chorus was. Anyway, I enjoyed it though. It really grows on after a few listens though

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  5. I never really liked ASAP as anything more than a dance song. I never really listen to it anymore. Stereotype has more interesting production with the flute and the synths in the chorus. The melodies were pretty catchy after the first listen. I’m ok with the fact that they continued with ASAP’s sound since the end result was better

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I really like the chorus melody and it stuck with me weirdly. It’s on the level of Queendom honestly. I have a feeling it’ll grow on me and it does it’s job, but it’s a sound that’s inferior to what they’d already been able to make.

    It does feel painful that their debut sound has totally disappeared. I really loved the drum and bass with their strong chorus and hooks.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. As someone without bias “So Bad” is their worst song. Just another song like we see most see 4th gen groups doing, ASAP and now Stereotype are the one bringing something good and different. I know it may sound “too” soft for some but sometimes we should want to listen to good music without hurting our ears.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. ASAP really grew on me shockingly, cause I was truly disappointed by it at first. So it’s no surprise that I like this. It’s nothing groundbreaking and of course it’s no “So Bad,” but if you stop expecting that from them then I think their other stuff is quite enjoyable. It’d be cool to see another song like their incredible debut, or maybe even cooler to see these two approaches blended somehow, but in the meantime, they are make nice, catchy and bright pop music.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. i like their “soft melodic midtempo” approach… i don’t see it as trying to be “trendy” when other girlgroups are delivering more girlcrush/uptempo songs.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. God I loved ASAP at first listen, but then it fell off my radar when everybody else was saying it was growing on them…
    Anyways, Stereotypes is okay. It’s just gonna be there, and be a song.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I mean, it’s certainly not as good as So Bad, but that song was probably the best girl group debut since… Dreamcatcher’s Chase Me?

    I already like it more than ASAP and I think it’s a step in the right direction for them.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I agree with every point being made except the bias score. I would bump it up to an 8. What can I say? I love the girls and I love BEP. Their choice of synthesizers is ever so impeccable. This is the third release that BEP took the helm in producing the album and I must say I am surprised at how streamlined and definitive STAYC’s music has been. I can confidently say that BEP definitely has a vision set for these girls that can garner public interest. The mini-album is solid with “I’ll Be There” and “Slow Down” encouraging frequent returns from me.

    I agree with the comments that this is certainly not “So Bad”. Hopefully, STAYC X BEP will return with this sound in a future release.

    I do hope that BEP will resume outsourcing their songs to other groups at some point. Still waiting on that Apink X BEP collaboration. It’s been over a year since their last comeback ㅠㅠ

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  13. I want to like this and honestly there’s not too many things in here that I can pick out as like “oh, I don’t like this in songs”, but that chorus melody…it just doesn’t stick with me? The description of it feeling like one verse is pretty accurate, I had almost thought when it was revealed in the preview that it would be a verse. Other than that though, it’s alright, though I will be looking forward to another So Bad one day. STAYC has a lot of potential and I’m glad to see that they’re one of the rookie girl groups getting attention!

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  14. This song is just like “TT” without the killing part. These two songs have very similar melody and the same way to emphasize the first beat, I suppose it’s a Black Eyed Pilsung’s producing characteristics.

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  15. So someone said Stereotype is a meh because the chorus is a “copy” of ASAP. They said “If you know music you should know that the melody, rhythm, bass even the positioning of the riffs are almost the same. You can literally switch songs and mv’s and it still won’t be off tempo” How do you guys think about that😆

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  16. Drums are literally so important in every genre that uses them. Bad drums will ruin a track no matter how good the rest is. When I’m listening to pop music a boring drum track literally outweighs any good production for me unless the melodic top line is really good and I can ignore the drum. So the drums and the chorus in this one put it on the playlist. Maybe Slow down should’ve been the title track but kpop tittle tracks of today are all about concept so Stereotype is the natural choice.

    Liked by 1 person

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