After two No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 in the last 10 months, Stray Kids have delivered another new project focused on the Japanese market.
Released the morning of Feb. 21 (Feb. 22 local time in Japan), The Sound marks Stray Kids’ first original Japanese full-length album. The 10-track record follows up two previous EPs that the boy band packaged for Japan with Circus from 2022 and All In from 2020. While those earlier EPs consisted of half or more remakes of their K-pop material, The Sound is a majority of original music.
Ahead of the full album today, several singles previewed the LP including “Scars” and “Thunderous (Japanese Version),” which were both originally released in 2021, “Case 143 (Japanese Version)” from 2022, and the rip-roaring title track “The Sound” from January, and rhythmic ballad “There” from Feb. 15, ahead of the full album today.
Demonstrating fan anticipation for the LP, the Kids took over the top 5 of Billboard’s Hot Trending Songs chart, powered by Twitter, dated Jan. 28, with the title track at No. 1, and the cuts “DLMLU,” “Novel,” “Battle Ground” and “Lost Me” at Nos. 2-5, respectively.
Two tracks from The Sound are on the Japan Hot 100 chart dated Feb. 18, 2023. After peaking at No. 14 last year, “Case 143” is at No. 78 for its 19th week on the chart. Meanwhile, “The Sound” is at No. 96 after debuting at No. 34 last week. So far, SKZ peaked at No. 2 on the Japan Hot 100 with “Scars” in 2021.
While Stray Kids’ most recent Korean albums have been able to top the Billboard 200 thanks to their wide availability in retail stores after signing with Republic Records, there’s no current indication that The Sound or any of the band’s other J-pop material will be made available in retail stores or via physical albums like other Korean bands (such as BTS and TOMORROW X TOGETHER) have previously done.
Looking ahead, Stray Kids will return stateside next month to make up the previously-postponed dates in Atlanta and Fort Worth as part of their Maniac World Tour, and hold their first-ever arena concerts in the U.S. for a pair of shows at Los Angeles’ BMO Stadium on March 31 and April 2.