[Review] VENOM – Stray Kids

Next up on the catch up is the string of Stray Kids’ releases from earlier this year. Alongside the promotions of the group’s most recent title track MANIAC from back in March of this year, they also released music videos for some of the other side tracks from their 6th mini-album Oddinary (an album review is also coming soon, as well!). One of these videos accompanies the opening track of the album, VENOM. Per usual, a music video makes the song eligible for its own song review on my blog.

As an opener for the mini-album, VENOM is definitely an intriguing track, thanks to the bold choice of the song’s ear-catching centric synth. The synth in question is that slow and deliberate strumming of guitar strings (or elastic bands that are stretched out over a box), which brought chills to me when I first heard the song. Multiple listens since March has helped me become more acclimatised with the synth, but there is a haunting factor that remains with it. Its use just really pops out and gives so much profile to the song. Aside from the main synth, the pre-chorus in VENOM also caught my attention. It gave us a brief reprieve from the intensity of the song before ramping back up to the chorus in such a short space of time. Hyunjin’s laidback soft rapping in the second verse was also cool, and contrasted really well with Jisung’s rapping that followed right after. Finally, the closer hook was catchy. The rest of VENOM felt somewhat plain and standard. With the intriguing and promising elements already discussed, I wished this was not the case. I felt the chorus could have been tweaked (but also maintaining that main intriguing synth) in a way to feel punchier. I just feel the song is quite heavy as it is, and could have been even more appealing if the chorus was more dynamic. The bridge, the heaviest point of VENOM, felt very abrupt and this presented a flow issue as a result. Overall, VENOM fits in with Stray Kids edgy profile and style. And while the song has same very promising and bold aspects, it could have gone the extra mile.

Working with the heavy and dark nature of the song, VENOM‘s music video concept goes down that route. Decked out in black outfits for the entirety of the video, controlling robot spiders, having guns directed at your head and being surrounded by darkness in some scenes pretty much feels heavy and dark. But also edgy. And that is something I felt was quite the aesthetic in the video. The spiky ball and boxing gloves really consolidated that thought for me. However, I have no clue what the plot to the video is. Everything felt very disjointed unfortunately for me to really piece anything together and the visuals/aesthetic is quite distracting. Though it seems connected to some of their past videos with that exit door at the end. But aside from that, it is a cool video nonetheless.

VENOM was not promoted alongside MANIAC on stage. But they have performed the track on their recent world tour concerts. The slowness behind that intriguing synth allowed for the performance to go down a sensual path, which I thought was an unexpected route to take with this song. But the moves were still cool and edgy.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 7.2/10

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