Review

Song Review: STAYC – RUN2U

STAYC - RUN2USTAYC’s meteoric rise in popularity has quickly given Black Eyed Pilseung’s High Up Entertainment the clout needed to become a major player in the industry. Unfortunately (for me), this notoriety spawned from songs like ASAP and Stereotype rather than the group’s debut track So Bad. For those of us who adored So Bad’s unique energy and synth-kissed production, STAYC’s follow-up material felt almost like a broken promise.

New single RUN2U manages to blend the old with the new. It’s far more indebted to a retro synth sound than either ASAP or Stereotype, yet also draws from their sing-song catchiness. The result won’t be for everyone, but RUN2U has enough winning moments to work. In fact, until we hit the first chorus the song feels unstoppable. The style and delivery is heavily indebted to Sunmi’s work – almost to the point of cosplay. But if you’re going to pull from anyone’s career, Sunmi is an incredible choice.

RUN2U’s chorus is a little patchier, as the song opts for a simple, repeated hook rather than develop the sound present in the verses. On first listen, I wasn’t thrilled with this decision. However, I expect these earworm hooks will stand the test of time — similar to ASAP. I love the bounding electro beat and spiraling synth that underline the chorus. The production gives the track satisfying drive. This continues into verse two, which offers a rap break without upending the song’s momentum. RUN2U speeds toward a fun dance break before finishing with one last shot of chirpy melody. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but this is easily my favorite STAYC single since their 2020 debut.

Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

49 thoughts on “Song Review: STAYC – RUN2U

  1. I really loved this on first listen. I am a BEP fan boy but I am so taken and impressed with “run2u” and the whole mini album.

    It’s got the retro edges, but really fits into Stacy’s ouvre and the BEP sound.

    While the chorus is a reallly chirpy I think it’s interesting how they distribute the parts of the chorus amongst the members. It’s smart incredibly smart songwriting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Would love to hear your thoughts on “Young Luv” and “Butterfly”. Honestly, “Young Luv” came within a hair of being my favorite track from this EP, but I can’t get “RUN2U” to stop playing in my head.

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      • “Young Luv” sounds like a song like it could’ve been written as a potential title track and I wonder if STAYC may do some follow-up promotions with the track. I think it’s so so strong. I love the blending of retro, classic BEP sound with emo/indie rock instrumentals. The vocal performances are maybe the best on the release. Love Sieun’s reverb’d belted ahs on the last chorus. I think “Run2u” is the one, but it’s definitely my second favorite.

        I like “Butterfly”! It gives me Red Velvet vibes, even though the instrumental feels fresh and very STAYC. Along with “247”, I feel like STAYC is demonstrating their R&B vocal prowess. I dig it. My personal taste draws me to “I WANT YOU BABY” and “SAME SAME” a little more. I think STAYC bodies trap beats XD

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, the EP is named “Young Luv.com” so you’re more than likely correct about this being the intended title track. Perhaps “RUN2U” came along after the EP was in production. Regardless, “Young Luv” deserves its place on the stage separate and apart from RUN2U. It is also because of both songs, along with “Butterfly” that I ordered the physical copy of this release; rather than just the digital version.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. As long as I don’t overthink it, it’s a fine pop song.

    The girls put on a great performance. The instrumental lets them down – it sounds like the filler instrumental at the end of ad when you can’t find the tab to click skip.

    Also the vocals on the “live” showcase are much better – whether it’s a second recording or the same but less produced, the vocals sound more authentic and less tinny.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I had that same impression listening to the studio recording… the vocals are so tinny and uniform in dynamics as well as their place in the mix that it almost sounds like someone took a recording from a karaoke room rather than an actual studio. It’s such an odd production choice that I can’t wrap my head around who would think it was a good idea.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. What is it with the teased segments of STAYC’s recent songs not ending up where I thought they’d be? 😂 This time I thought the “so I run to YOU!” part would be the end of the chorus. Anyways, my favourite part is the beginning verses, totally agree about the song starting off super strong. The chorus melody stuck with me after a relisten or two, but I still crave for another So Bad which clicked instantly. But overall, I like it, and I can imagine it growing on me even more.

    On a side note, the Queendom 2 lineup!! I’ve been speculating for what feels like forever so I was so excited to see the confirmed lineup, and I really like it! Predicted/hoped for Brave Girls, WJSN, Loona, and Viviz, and while I hoped they weren’t going to include a soloist this time around since it just doesn’t feel fair against groups (and I thought Kingdom had stopped that), Hyolyn was a pleasant surprise. But Kep1er…can’t say I’m surprised with Mnet but it just feels like a waste of time for both them and us, having just debuted and being a temporary survival show group, now being thrown into another show. I was hoping for Dreamcatcher (perhaps the music show win rule or availability was the issue), Everglow, or STAYC as well, but I’m still really excited about this lineup! I’ve seen that some people found Viviz’s inclusion confusing for the same reason as Kep1er, but I mean, they’re former GFriend members? Yeah, they just debuted, but the GFriend comeback/2nd chance story is right there. Anyways, can’t wait for the show – Nick, are you planning on writing episode recaps?

    Liked by 1 person

    • oh i’ve complained at length about kepler’s inclusion on the related reddit subs and (back when they were theorised, my friends) before and I fully agree 😔

      that said, what’s done is done and I’m just going to look forward to their performances on the show (all the while enjoying stayc’s and dreamcatcher’s comebacks instead!)

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not sure if Dreamcatcher wasn’t asked, which seems odd considering how many people were clamoring for them to be on the show both domestic and internationally, or if it’s due to their schedule. Right after the Queendom 2 contestant announcement dropped, they released a comeback notification for their second full length album for early April which would have created a scheduling conflict. If they were asked though, you’d think being on Queendom would take priority and they’d just release their album after Queendom ends. Who knows though. Everything about Dreamcatcher and their treatment within the industry seems…. off.

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      • It’s a little weird, no doubt. The thing about the scheduling conflict with the album is that it seems like there’s no real hassle with overlapping filming Queendom and having a comeback, given that Brave Girls are having a March comeback and will indubitably be promoting that at the same time as filming for the show – and I recall for Kingdom, Ateez and Ikon were doing promotions for Fireworks and Why Why Why respectively while filming the show as well. Of course, it would be pretty exhausting, and this fact was acknowledged explicitly even in one of the behind-the-scenes parts of one of the Kingdom episodes where they show Ateez and Ikon heading from filming for a music show and then heading straight to Kingdom filming, showing how hard-working they are, etc. If the music show win was the real issue, that seems kinda petty and also a dumb decision on Mnet’s part because I think they should have realized that many people wanted them on the show.

        On the other hand, perhaps we should always consider the possibility that the group/company themselves didn’t want to participate, instead of jumping to the conclusion that it was on Mnet’s part, however much it seems like an obviously good idea that Dreamcatcher would go if they were invited.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Or… it could be that they were asked and decided against it for one simple reason.. ..doing the show would’ve been disastrous for them. Think about it. Dreamcatcher on a show where they would have to do versions of other groups material. DC has worked hard to separate themselves from their MINX roots. They want to be seen as a K/J-Rock group. As such, DC will only have two options. A: perform a rock version, which will only be well received by a smaller demographic. or B: perform a version in the same style as the original, which will work against their efforts to be seen as a rock group. In short, Queendom is not a vehicle that would necessarily help Dreamcatcher.

          …or they were just completely ignored.. ..just sayin’.

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          • I don’t necessarily agree that the show would be “disastrous” for them, but I guess we’ll agree to disagree there. I did say that there was a possibility that they were asked and just said no, as many k-pop fans seem to forget sometimes their faves don’t go on to certain shows not because they weren’t invited and the whole industry is against them, but because they or their company didn’t want to for whatever reason.

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        • That’s true. Another logical explanation might be finances. Having a comeback, especially one with a full album, isn’t cheap. There are so many upfront costs from studio time, production, MVs, styling, choreography, music show stages, all the way down to little things like transportation and gym costs. Dreamcatcher has been picking up far more endorsement deals than they did in the past, but I doubt it’s enough to offset the costs of 4 comebacks with 3 minis and 1 full album. They used to do more touring and live show, but Covid has nixed that as a possibility to earn more from their releases as well. Now that restrictions are loosening up, they kind of need new music before summer hits to really take advantage of all the college festivals. If they did go on Queendom, it would be before their comeback, so when they are going to be the most strapped for cash… and it’s not like appearing on Queendom is exactly cheap either if you want to have memorable stages, songs, and choreography. We will never know for sure, but it could also just be a case of really bad timing. It would be interesting to know if they were approached though.

          Liked by 1 person

    • SIDE NOTE: The original Queendom had groups performing songs from the others groups back catalogue. Going to love to see what happens if a group has to choose from previously released material from Kep1er or VIVIZ.

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      • Yeah this is the main issue with Kep1er I feel, but I think this won’t be a problem for Viviz given (G)i-dle covered a 2NE1 song for Park Bom, so I’m fairly certain GFriend songs would be available for choosing.

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        • Bleh, I replied to a different post you made, on the DC topic, that was meant for this topic, the whole “hey, where’d our back catalogue go?” topic.

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  4. the song started out amazing, that first part gave me very 2nd gen k-pop… then the chorus hit. I ended up liking it on the 4th listen. Young Luv on the album is much better, reminiscent of the excellent Love Fool

    Liked by 3 people

  5. ASAP took like a month to grow for me, this took me two listens so it’s definitely the more instantaneous one of the three post So Bad title tracks.

    I think it kind of feels like a combination of all their previous title tracks actually. The retro sounds of So Bad, mixed with the empty chorus of ASAP and the Stereotype instrument sounds. I really like it to be honest, that chorus melody is definitely sticking in my head.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That chorus does manage to bounce around in the brainpan, doesn’t it? It’s deliciously kooky and it shouldn’t work, but it does!

      …and you’re so right. It has a smattering of this, a dollop of that, a smidgen of this, a pinch of that. The cooks have been working overtime on this and some of the other tracks on this release.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I do love the beginning of the verses! However, the chorus hook is a tad pitchy for me. It might grow on me over time, but right now I’m listening to the beginning of the song on repeat heh heh.

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  7. RUN2U might as well be named RUNUOVER because this song completely floored me. Prior to listening to it, I had seen one other site offer up an opinion that was less than high praise, so I was worried what I was going to find, but that concern quickly dissipated. Before the first chorus I was already loving it and the rest of the song just cemented that.

    Could I nitpick over the tiniest elements? I guess, but nothing really bugs me. Even the quirky bits that appear to be bothering others (chorus) actually work to make this splendidly unique for me. When The Rolling Stones first started out, it was Brian Jones that added all the “where did that come from?” sounds to their songs. Hindi sitar, African percussion, Banjo, etc.. Brian loved adding elements that were usually unusual and The Stones early songs were all the better for it. After Brian died, The Stones stayed magnificent, but the magic that Mr. Jones fused into their music was noticeably missing. This type of experimentation doesn’t always work, but when it does, it can truly elevate a piece to the next level. RUN2U has just enough quirk to take it to the next level for me. This song will be one of my “end of year” top fives; I just know it.

    P.S. All of the songs on the “Young Luv.com” EP are worth a listen. While RUN2U is my fave, I have to give a very respectable nod to track 4, “Young Luv”. There is so many triggers in this song that take me back 35 years to the late 80s/early 90s. The instrumentation is reminiscent of some of the finest indie pop from that era and the singing evokes memories of singers like Suzanna Vega, Ivy, et al. The following track 5, “Butterfly” is drenched in smooth. The kind of real smooth that you just don’t get any more.

    Ref #1: “Young Luv”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvWClTu7S7w
    Ref #2: “Butterfly”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zIX_GrFVBc

    P.P.S. Man, STAYC just upped their brownie points a boatload with this release.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I find the arrangement of this song very weird and I don’t think I like it (I quit paying attention during both the MV and performance version somewhere in the second chorus vicinity).

    I *think* it’s that I find the instrumental shifts from verse to prechorus to chorus very jarring, and I agree with what someone else said that they sound unfinished. I loved the first verse and the energy shift was so abrupt into the prechorus and then the chorus and the rest of the song never recovered that.

    I also notoriously take a long time to make up my mind on songs, so it’s possible it will grow on me especially if it becomes a hit, but I thought this was a miss.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Whelp.. ..I made a post on my thoughts, but it either got eaten by the goblins of the internets inner workings, or it’s fighting it’s way through Nick’s intricate network of anti-spam bots that trigger the alarms the second they see HTTPS in the belly of the beast.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. loved this song on 2nd listen – it sounds a lot like a miss a track in the beginning which is great but i admire how bouncy? and in love it sounds throughout despite not immediately attaching myself to it (ala asap). i’ve been on a bep binge recently and realized what i appreciate is that their way of innovating sincerity in their girl group productions is what i gravitate towards. young luv is my favorite on the album for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • also OT but thank you nick for reviewing snow man because now i’m obsessed with them (music, personality / variety, etc) in a way i haven’t been with a gorup in years and i hope you’re as excited as me for their upcoming releases for 2022 (like refresh)!

      Like

    • Yeah, the entire BEP musical sphere usually involves a prismatic effect. There’s a charming deviation from what you expect in the mix and it either works for you, personally, or it doesn’t. As a fan of tamping down fresh grass and going where others haven’t, their stuff tends to land with me more.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I really like the structure and concept of this track. Some commenters already mentioned second-gen, along with Sunmi influence I can definitely hear it. The arrangement unfortunately feels flat and empty in an unpleasant way, like someone dialed the reverb all the way down.
    It may grow on me, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I was pretty disappointed with the chorus at first, but I was singing along to it at the end of the song. My true gripe with the song is that those noises at the beginning didn’t get incorporated more. If sing song choruses become their thing, I just hope it’s with awesome production

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I honestly loved it from the first listen, and it’s definitely better than ASAP and Stereotype imo. I heard the leaked chorus the night before it was actually released (🤫) and I was excited to hear the whole thing. The album is great too, listening to it kind of takes me back to mid 2010s 😆.

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  14. I really find this one so charming – The way this song, the entire mini really, uses J’s deeper vocals to contrast the others is particularly a favorite – and the mini is so good too. I hope they save Young Luv for a special video in summer (truly, if this comeback was mid july to august that track would’ve been the title for sure IMO) and do something with my favorite track Butterfly too.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is such an interesting song. Like others pointed out, a mix of their previous releases. I find the percussion really nice and though I kept getting worried about the chorus, when it came around, I was impressed.

    Unrelated: Nick, a group Jwiiver debuted with the song ‘Jtrap’ and it’s not about Japanese trap. But anyway, I would say the melodies are really good and it’s very wayv esque. What are your thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • According to Ajna, “I am the witness”, and what a joy it is to witness another evolutionary step for this group. I love that they take risks like Red Velvet and even their sister tier group, Weeekly. While everyone is justifiably upset over the copycat releases that have been filling the comeback stages, you’d think many would be happier to see a little coloring outside of the lines.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello amazing person!! I have been looking through all the recent posts to find this comment again because I wanted to say thanks for bringing Jwiiver to my attention!! 😀😂

      I went in expecting nothing and honestly I must say JTrap ticks every single box I have!! Raps, Vocals, Melodies, Chorus, Bridge – everything!! And they are pretty charming on stage as well!! This is a very good song for a debut really! I loved the song and looking at everything so far it is ranking very high in my list of February releases! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. im surprised that only greyemk mentioned the sudden mood shift of the (half time?) prechorus! that took me out of the building energy and was a disappointment.

    Otherwise, as other commenters have said, though there are many things to nitpick about this song, it’s overall an excellent incorporation of their debut sound and I look forward to seeing them perform this in future stages!

    (i miss the stayc girls, its going down)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. StayC are one of the only groups where it feels like most of their songs, b-sides included, fall into an overall “cinematic universe.” Like you know listening to songs exclusively from that group will put you in a certain mood, or that put together they could form the soundtrack of a movie.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes! I may not fall in love with their title tracks, though I did with “RUN2U” and “So Bad”, but I know I’m going to find something on their release that will wow me. Even if the title tracks don’t completely take me over, they are still on the same level with some of the best coming from their sister groups. I can’t wait to see where they’ll take me in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Watching them on M Countdown tonight, their B-side track was fabulous, but this one is a bit underwhelming for their obvious talent. Good luck to the girls.

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  19. I agree that this is the first StayC song that I’ve kinda liked ever since So Bad. If I have to put it plainly… I found both the other two StayC songs boring. Infact this is the biggest problem I have with their songs… they are not annoying or anything, it’s just that they put me to sleep.

    Run2 has an amazing intro!! That starting instrumental is 🔥 and the first two verses by those girls are so killer too! And the pre-chorus though different was ok – I expected a hard hitting chorus and so… I wasn’t too happy by the one that I got. And I think from the moment the chorus hit, the song went back into old StayC territory for me… I felt sleepy. 😅

    I actually feel really frustrated & disappointed with this song though. That intro music and first two verses were sooo good and they never came back that it felt like a terrible waste of those! 😭 What’s with these groups not reusing their good parts?! 😭

    I’m taken back to Blitzers’ Breathe Again of last year where the grand intro was also the Bridge and how that had made my day so much ❤️

    Overall I think this song is again a disappointment… but I’m the kind who if I love a single part would consider the song alright – and because of the first half of the song that I mentioned, Run2U is pretty nice 🙂

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