It feels like I’m writing a new Stray Kids review every other day. JYP Entertainment has gone all out for their newest album, filming several music videos to promote group and sub-unit tracks. I don’t know if I’ll write a detailed review on every one, but Bang Chan and Hyunjin’s Red Lights deserves a few words.
When I imagine great sub-unit releases, I think of songs that add an extra ingredient to a group’s core sound. It’s an opportunity to experiment, drawing upon the individual strengths of participating members. In this case, Red Lights tackles Stray Kids’ more dramatic side. At times, it feels more like a performance piece for Bang Chan and Hyunjin than a proper song, but that approach works.
I appreciate how elements of Red Lights reference older Stray Kids material. The electric guitar in the pre-chorus recalls District 9-era goodness, while the moody, emotive energy is more in keeping with songs from their I Am YOU album.
Red Light’s production is more impressive than its melody, and I long for a chorus that doesn’t feel so throwaway. But, that pre-chorus supplies all sorts of musical drama, offering a peek at how amazing Stray Kids can sound when bolstering their creativity with a diverse soundscape. The guitar and strings combo is very effective, adding a fullness to the track. If I had it my way, every element of Red Light would carry this same weight. The percussion would be faster and more robust, the melody would add meat to its bare bones and that cool rumble of synth would do more than simply tear through the central drop.