Yesterday, I posted the first part of a three part album review for Stray Kids’ 3rd compilation album, SKZ-Replay. That first part focused on the A-Side of the album, which featured the lead single FAM, a single previously unofficially released through a special YouTube video and 8 solo songs from each Stray Kids member. Today, I post the second part of the album review, focusing on the first half of the compilation album’s B-Side. As mentioned yesterday, B-Side consists of 15 songs from the SKZ-RECORD or SKZ-PLAYER web-series from a few years back. These songs have never been released digitally until the release of this album.
For the purposes of this album review, I will be posting the album review in three parts – Part 1 focused on the A-Side. Part 2 (this post) will focus on the first half of the B-Side, and Part 3 will focus on the second half of the B-Side. Also, there was no teaser images for this compilation album. So I have gone through and selected images from past promotions to serve as the featured and teaser images for the album review.
1. Zone (Bangchan, Changbin & Han) – Starting off the B-side of the album is Zone, which was previously revealed four years ago by 3RACHA. Personally, Zone isn’t my cup of tea. But it is decent hip-hop track that shows us who 3RACHA are and what they are about. The powerful energy they channel through this track is quite bold. Changbin, who has been nominated for Best Rapper in a few KPOPREVIEWED Awards, proves to me why he is constantly stands out and worthy of the award. (7/10)
2. Close (Han Solo) – Most of the appealing elements of Close comes from Han himself. The instrumental itself was pretty chill and lowkey. This allows Han to show off a deeper tone than what I hear from him usually, and his rapping was well done. I liked how he varied his delivery in the song, which keeps listeners interested in Close, rather than going from start to end in a flat or consistent manner. The song is about meeting stranger by chance, being drawn to them, and the desire to get closer to them. (8/10)
3. Streetlight (Changbin ft. Bangchan) – You don’t need to know the language to hear the heartfelt message and emotions that Changbin pour into Streetlight. But in case you are interested, you can read more about the song from Changbin himself in the linked SOOMPI article. I have opted to not summarise the meaning of the song into a few words, especially since it touches on the topic of seeking help and is already beautifully explained by the songwriter himself. As for the music, I liked how consistent the drumming is, and how beautiful the piano and orchestral influences are in the song. I also like how the instrumental doesn’t get into the way of the Changbin and the message he is trying to deliver. Plus, his flow and tone are quite impeccable. (9/10)
4. I Hate To Admit (인정하기 싫어) (BangChan Solo) – For this particular half of the B-Side of SKZ-Replay, I Hate To Admit is my favourite track. The way Bangchan delivered this ballad was so captivating and gripping. It is one of the songs where you need to stop whatever you are doing to take it all in. You can feel the heartbreak and heavy emotions that Bangchan relays to us. It practically pours from the song when it reaches its peak. The piano and strings were beautiful yet minimalistic, allowing Bangchan’s vocals to front and centre, which was an excellent choice. (10/10)
5. I GOT IT (Han Solo) – Again, Han focuses on raps in I GOT IT. In terms of instrumentation, it is a repetitive hip-hop background. Nothing really special. But that is not the reason why I like I GOT IT. It is more so the rapping that floors me. He really showcases his talents in this song. He shows off how expressive he can be and the fast tempo he throws at us is literally fire. The autotuned high-pitched rapping at the end of the song was very interesting, but charming in its own way. (9/10)
6. Miss You (꼬마별) (Hyunjin Solo) – This half of the B-Side has been pretty 3RACHA dominant thus far. It is not until the sixth track (this one, in particular) do we hear from someone else. And that someone is Hyunjin. Miss You is a song dedicated to Hyunjin’s first pet, who has since passed away. Miss You is a touching and delicately instrumented song. Not exactly ballad territory, but you can feel the reflective emotion behind Hyunjin’s raspy tone in the song. It is a comforting listen. Personally, Miss You is not a track I have gone back to since its initial release two years ago, but revisiting it was a pleasant experience. (7/10)
7. Maknae On Top (막내온탑) (I.N ft. Bangchan & Changbin) – Maknae On Top is one of the two songs from the SKZ-RECORD series that is more recognisable then the rest. I.N is the main character in this one, with the entire song about him. I liked the colour and energy that the Latin influences bring. The combination of the influences with I.N’s playfulness makes this one fun and humourous track. And this effect is pretty much hard to avoid. Bangchan and Changbin also features in this track to help fuel the fun and humour, and the fact they feature in this track also helps reiterate the idea of the song that I.N is in fact the boss of the group. (8/10)