Review

Song Review: Stray Kids – Cheese

Stray Kids - CheeseI wish every release received the promotional blitz JYP Entertainment affords Stray Kids. Though it’s only been out for a few weeks, we’re already on the third official music video from their NOEASY album. Neither Thunderous nor The View did much for me, so to call Cheese my favorite single yet isn’t exactly high praise. But, it’s still the most exciting and fresh of the three, hinting at the creative potential that underlines the group’s strongest work.

I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t like cheese. I eat cheeseless pizzas and cheeseless sandwiches, and bristle at the thought of snacking on anything covered in fluorescent orange powder. I know. It’s strange. And, the fact that this aversion colors my experience of this song is even stranger. But despite the grating (ha!) “cheese” exclamations sprinkled throughout the track, I can get down with this driving, industrial beat. I’m ready to clap and stomp with that squealing guitar. Despite myself, I’m even shouting along with a few of the obvious rhymes.

(But, I still won’t eat the cheese.)

This isn’t a soft, ingratiating pop song. It stakes its claim on brashness. It’s intentionally prickly. And, I think that may also describe Stray Kids’ overall appeal. There are times when Cheese is messy, but those moments feed on the group’s personality. Deep-voiced Felix steals the show, yet every member throws his hat into the ring, game for the song’s silly vibe. It’s almost too clever for its own good (a criticism I have with a lot of Stray Kids’ music), but the galvanizing production brings everything together to make this an off-kilter standout.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

24 thoughts on “Song Review: Stray Kids – Cheese

  1. This song really aged well for me. At first, I curdled at its abrasive tang, but its distinctive taste and texture really stand out from the market. It took some time, but it found its whey into my heart.

    (In Kpop, there are certainly much, MUCH worse things to be than too clever for their own good.)

    Liked by 8 people

  2. I was hoping for a full vid after the short clip from the teasers, and now that it’s released the M/V definitely makes me enjoy the song a lot more, love how silly it is.

    I don’t know if it really counts as another M/V given how minimal the video is, but did you miss their “Sorry, I Love You” video? Or was it just too boring to review (which yeah, I get haha). Just wondering as you mentioned that this was their M/V from the album.

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  3. I liked the song because of how unapologetically silly and crazy it was! 😂 The MV really added to the already fun vibe!!! SKZ’s rap line is one my fave so a song like this is right up my alley! 🙂

    Also I wanted to ask you something. I remember you saying T1419 wasn’t really your taste and was wondering if you checked out their bside ‘Get the Bomb’? Not sure if that is your taste of course 😂 and I’m not saying it is some masterpiece but I would say I love it far more than Flex or Exit! 🙂 I liked the bgm better there and yeah it’s still typical 4th gen 😅 but I felt their vocals and rap meshed together much better in this song!

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    • yeah, I prefer Get The Bomb, but I still haven’t found anything about this group that makes me want to listen to more. it may be that they’re just not for me.

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  4. Loved the preview, loved the album track, love the MV. Love love love. It’s silly and weird and fun and I want to see a full choreo, dang it! CHEESE!

    I’m the kind of person with a separate shelf in my refrigerator just for cheese, which does not in fact have room to fit all of my cheese. I think I spent $50 or so on cheese the last time I went grocery shopping. When I was in high school and college, I used to do odd jobs for my step-mother’s company, which made goat cheese. I’ve had string cheese for breakfast almost every day for 4 or 5 years at least. I really love cheese. CHEESE!

    Not so hot about blue cheese, but cheddar and parmesan can stay. CHEESE!

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  5. Nick, by any chance can you give me some K-pop Songs which have..like industrial elements? I’ve seen alot of examples in 2021 so I need to know if there is more outside this year!

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    • I’m not quite sure what you consider ‘industrial’. For me, it comes from the kind of tinny sound of the snare and rumbly basses. SM probably pulls off the sound the best, particularly moonshine producers imo].

      You probably know all of these but maybe songs like K/DA [Popstars, The Baddest, Drum Go Dum, More] NCT Dream [Ridin, 119, Hello Future], WayV [Turn Back Time, Bad Alive], SuperM [One] Itzy [Kidding Me, In the morning], Ateez [Hala Hala, Wonderland], Loona [So What], MCND [Ice Age], Aespa [Next Level?], Everglow [First], Seventeen [Getting Closer], Alexa [Do or Die, Kitty Run], Dreamcatcher [Sleepwalking], Pentagon [Dr. Bebe], Jackson Wang [100 Ways?] Got7 [Hard Carry]

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    • In addition to those named above, I’d add:
      SKZ “District 9” “STOP” “Double Knot” and “God’s Menu”
      VIXX “Voodoo Doll” “Secret Night”
      HYO “Badster”
      THE BOYZ “Drink It”
      MIRAE “We Are Future”
      f(x) “Pinocchio (Danger)” “Jet”
      GHOST9 “Think of Dawn” “Reborn” “Red Sign”
      Lee Jin Hyuk “Coup d’Etat”
      MONSTA X “Zone”
      VANNER “Upper” “Purge Day”

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  6. I really like how you phrased “almost too clever for their own good.” I really agree with that. A lot of their lyrics or style sometimes gets lost with me because I do not know the craft as well or the language of the song.

    I feel like if I understood it more, perhaps I would appreciate all the nuances more. Especially with their b-sides. So even as an avid fan, I do agree with your criticism.

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    • Yeah, my issue is when the desire for a clever concept, wordplay or punchline outweighs the attention given to more musical elements like melody, hooks and production. I feel like this is happening more and more in K-pop.

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  7. I also happen to dislike cheese, and even though I am heavily stray kids biased, I can’t take pleasure in the song because of that. I don’t know what to make out of this, but thought you would be happy to know that you are not the only one getting this weird second-hand disgust!

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