Music Review: Stray Kids’ “No Easy”


Boom. Rumble. Crack. In a bolt of thunder, K-pop league Stray Kids are back and better than ever with their latest album, “NOEASY.”

“NOEASY” is their second studio album released on August 23, 2021, through JYP Entertainment. Eleven months after their Japanese EP “ALL IN,” and a year after their Korean reissue “IN LIFE.” 

It’s a mixture of hip-hop, R&B, trap, EDM, pop, and rock. So, if you listen to either Olivia Rodrigo or Harry Styles, and if you mix these artists together, then you’ll get what Stray Kids is. “NOEASY” consists of fourteen tracks, including the lead single “Thunderous” and the one-time singles “WOLFGANG” and “Mixtape: OH.”

Throughout the tracks, the group blazes from dynamic (“CHEESE,” “DOMINO,” “SSICK”), to wind down bops (“The View,” “Surfin’ (Lee Know, Changbin, Felix),” “Mixtape: OH”), to come-hither gloss (“Red Lights (Bang Chan, Hyunjin),” (“Silent Cry”). However, unlike uneven line distribution among members on previous albums, the vocals of each Stray Kids member shine through in unique, never-heard-before, and occasionally dramatic ways on the album.

Stray Kids’ new album is their attempt to address the issues of being loud enough, meaning rival fans or trolls on the internet are saying they’re too noisy. Yes, they do have very loud, aggressive songs like “MIROH,” “Side Effects,” and “Double Knot,” but I think they’re able to pull it off. Take “My Pace” for an example. This song is aggressive, but if any other group sang it, you wouldn’t hear complaints about it being noise. Literally, the majority of the current boy groups all release aggressive loud songs, but Stray Kids get the most hate for it. When in reality, they’re trying to get across meaningful messages.

To some, it’s just noise. To others, it’s something more: an anthem, a declaration, a song. Stray Kids’ leader Bang Chan stated “We actually thought the term ‘noise music’ was something that we could use as our own weapon.” This is how the album came to be. They’ve been working on various new songs since their debut in 2018, and these are led by 3RACHA (formed by members Bang Chan, Changbin, and Han), their internal production team. 

As of August 17, the album has accumulated over 830,000 stock pre-orders. This is approximately 530,000 more than the previous pre-orders that Stray Kids achieved with their previous album “IN LIFE” in September 2020. Since its release, it has received tremendous love worldwide. “Thunderous,” has risen to the top of the iTunes Top Song Charts in 52 different countries.

This comeback with all their singing has improved total versatility and pure awesomeness in this album. It shows the big strengths of their genre diversity, and their willingness to try any sound. My personal favorites were: “DOMINO,” “The View,” “Red Lights,” and obviously “Thunderous.” Though saying these are my favorites isn’t saying much since every song is a masterpiece in its way. 

If you want a good K-pop record or want to get into Stray Kids, listen to this album. Overall, I give this a solid 10/10 for me. I can’t wait for the rest of the world to realize how great Stray Kids’ music is, and I will stand by them until that happens.