Apologies once again for drip feeding reviews this week. I am hoping this will be temporary (as I have in the process of moving into a new place) and that I will be able to do a bigger capacity of reviews in a couple of weeks. For now, I have reduced my load to a review a day, and will refocus my review efforts starting from next week to clear the backlog of reviews I want to write.
Monday of this week was one of the days where multiple artists scheduled their comeback. Amongst the returns is Stray Kids, with their second studio album, NOEASY, and the title track, Thunderous. This is the group’s first formal comeback of the year, following the double title track bonanza of God’s Menu and Back Door last year. Since the double comeback, Stray Kids has released a new album and single in Japan (All In), the Korean single Mixtape: OH, and participated in the Kingdom: Legendary War survival show, where they released the single WOLFGANG and won. Now, all the attention is on their latest release and title track, Thunderous.
To me, Thunderous in the same realm as Stray Kids’ most popular tracks (God’s Menu and Back Door). This is a positive association between the songs, as the mentioned releases are my favourite Stray Kids title tracks to date. It is definitely clear the new song aligns with the group’s usual powerful energy and intensity, fitting right into the group’s discography. What also makes Thunderous so good in my opinion is its bold and bombastic instrumentation, which is a blend of hip-hop and trap. Thunderous is also somewhat unique thanks to the infusion of traditional Korean instruments in the background. It isn’t the first time we have seen such a combination in the instrumental department in the KPOP, but like Stray Kids usual outputs, it is top notch. My only wish with Thunderous is that it receives a touch more bass to just really heighten the elements and beat to take it to the next level. This could easily be achieved in a live concert setting, but we are a long way away from that reality. As for the members, the rapping was darn powerful and there is a lot of passion behind their delivery, making it a really great listen once again. But I liked the vocals more as they gave Thunderous a sense of stability and pulled together the various rap segments together to bring us a more cohesive track. What also gives Thunderous more of an edge compared to other releases are the hooks. The ‘Ptui‘ hook that kicks off the entrance (i.e. sound effect when you spit into your hands) paired with the drop helped bring that bombastic feel to life. The repetition of the song title made good use of one of Stray Kids’ assets, Felix deep voice. And the post-chorus hook following the first and final choruses, the ‘Baramam‘ hook, concentrated the song’s energy in a very satisfying manner. Lee Know’s section in the bridge also had a similar effect. Overall, Thunderous definitely excels and showcases Stray Kids with an even bolder spotlight.
The music video features a blend of traditional and modern elements, which is clearly inspired by the song’s blend of traditional and modern sounds. We saw the members perform in front of traditional royal buildings, complete with the traditional Korean instruments being played and various other elements that we would associate with the traditional side of Korean culture. On the flip side, we saw modern elements blended in, such as cars, graffiti and the members’ outfits. What makes the music video even cooler is the post-production. The blue flames, the switch between animation and real-life members, the appearance of members between frames. We saw similar effects in their previous videos, but it is still mind-blowing in this video.
The choreography is definitely powerful and edgy. I really liked Jisung’s part in the second verse, the laughing arms just before the second chorus, and Changbin and Hyunjin on the members’ back. The actual spitting action might be the performance’s iconic move. No doubts that Stray Kids have outdone themselves with this routine.
Song – 9.5/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9.6/10