Upstart K-pop nonet Stray Kids are asking big questions with the release of their latest EP I Am Who. Fronted by the single “My Pace,” the album is the act’s third of 2018 and continues to show the rookie boy band’s growth.
With gritty strings and taunting “na-na-na”s opening up the song, “My Pace” is a hip-pop track overflowing with rock instrumentals, exuberant vocals and tinny beats. It keeps Stray Kids’ swaggering style, seen on past singles “Hellevator” and “District 9,” but introduces melodious, bright synths that tone down the intensity a bit as the nonet rap and sing about staying in their lane and going at their own speed. While it’s less aggressive than their prior songs, “My Pace” doesn’t do away with the boisterous nature of Stray Kids and instead offers up an alternate, grungier look at the crew.
In a gritty music video that is partially filmed as if through security-camera footage, the nine members of Stray Kids are seen as ringleaders of wild antics going on by what appear to ostensibly be the “stray” people their music is aimed at. Screen splices are utilized frequently, drawing attention to a specific member as the rest are simultaneously on screen, often serving up their powerful, stomp-filled choreography while wearing cozy looking athleisure looks and jerseys.
“My Pace” was co-written by members Bang Chan, Changbin and Han, aka 3racha, with J.Y. Park, earattack and Larmook. 3racha has written much of Stray Kids’ music, and at least one of the three are credited on each of the album’s tracks.
I Am Who (stylized I am WHO) is the successor to March’s I Am Not, the act’s first formal album; they released Mixtape in January consisting of songs that they created through the survival competition show the group appeared on prior to their K-pop debut. While Not focused on Stray Kids’ rebellious nature in a world that demands conformity, the new album comes across as the act’s exploration of self, with Shakespeare’s famous “to be or not to be” line even making an appearance on “Question.”
Stray Kids is the latest act from “Big 3” K-pop label JYP Entertainment. They’ve seen both of their past albums break into the top five of the World Albums chart, and their first single “Hellevator” peaked at No. 6 on the World Digital Song Sales chart last year.
Watch the music video for “My Pace” here: