It’s already the time of year when idol groups start delivering holiday tracks. A few will be festive. Many will be ballads. And then, there’s Stray Kids. Prior to release, I couldn’t quite imagine how a Stray Kids Christmas single would sound. But immediately upon hearing Christmas EveL, I couldn’t believe how obvious the answer was. Of course they’d tackle the holiday with the same irreverent hip-hop that’s characterized many of their title tracks so far.
When it comes to holiday music, I’m pretty traditional. Give me sleigh bells and choirs and jazzy instrumentals. Christmas EveL is none of those things (despite a few riffs on familiar holiday standards). Yet, its strong ties to the season make spring or summer listening a strange prospect. When it comes to my personal playlist, I don’t quite know what to do with it!
But as a song, Christmas EveL is fun. Its familiar hip-hop beat is augmented with chimes and bell-like synths, giving it an oddly festive appeal. The pre-chorus is strong, presenting one of the group’s best builds in some time. I never thought we’d hear sirens in a Christmas song, but they blend well with the song’s strange horror undertones. EveL’s “jingle all the way” hook should be absolutely mind-numbing, but the whole presentation is so silly that it works in its own clumsy way. It helps that the beat here is quite addictive, melding trap with rugged synth percussion. I’m less enamored with the predictable, chant-along finale. But, if you have to sell a bizarre “Feliz Navidad” climax, Felix’s deep tone is the weapon to do it.