[Album Review] SKZ-Replay (3rd Compilation Album) – Stray Kids (Part. 3)

What do you mean today isn’t Friday? Apologies for the delay in posting the third and final part of the SKZ-Replay album review. I may or may not have slept when I should have been drafting this post. Anyhow, as started earlier this week, I began reviewing the SKZ-Replay compilation album. The album is split into two sides. The first side, known as the A-Side of the album, features the lead single FAM, a single previously unofficially released through a special YouTube video and 8 solo songs from each Stray Kids member. The second part of the album is known as the B-Side. And it 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 have now posted the album review in three parts – Part 1 focused on the A-Side. Part 2 will focus on the first half of the B-Side, and Part 3 (this post) 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.

SKZ-Replay Album Cover

8. Alien (외계인) (Han Solo)Alien begins the second half of the B-Side. Han really pushes his vocals in the choruses, as if he wants to be heard. The song speaks about being lonely, like an alien who dropped down onto Earth (taken from Soompi). Wanting to be heard definitely makes sense in the context of the song. This stylistic choice, to me, feels impactful. His rapping isn’t as powerful in this song, as opposed to his other solo tracks on this album. I felt it was a nice choice to tone down the delivery, given the chorus. Otherwise, it easily could have been an overwhelming and full-on track. However, Han still manages to infuse emotions into Alien whilst rapping. I also enjoyed the chilled nature of the instrumental. (8/10)

9. Because (좋으니까) (Changbin & Felix) – Released on White Day in 2021, both Changbin and Felix adopt more of singing delivery to their rapping for Because, presumably for a softer and sweeter approach for the romantic day. However, this created more of a neutral atmosphere, and this ended up boring me. It doesn’t help that the instrumentation was pretty much bland, as well. The pair is more well known for their intensity and rapping, and if Because demonstrated anything, that is when they are at their best. (5/10)

10. Piece of a Puzzle (조각) (Changbin & Seungmin) – Unlike the preceding song, Changbin’s rapping is more appreciated. He isn’t as powerful like how he is usually heard, but his fast delivery in the bridge was a neat return to form. Plus, his other parts were likeable. Seungmin himself sounds charming throughout the song and does a great job of delivering the melodies of Piece of a Puzzle to us. Unfortunately, the combination of hooks and the instrumental just made the song feel overly repetitive, and this ultimately ended up being a lukewarm track. (6.5/10)

11. Wish You Back (Han Solo) – Han definitely dominates the B-side with his fourth (out of five) solo tracks. And I do think we are in a bit of a rut with another neutral track, Wish You Back. We do get some strong rapping from Han and the bass does help make the track a bit livelier. But the rest of the song was just plain (i.e. the autotuned vocals) and doesn’t live up to the other solo tracks he present us on this album. (7/10)

12. HaPpY (Han Solo) – Wishing a person, who is no longer by your side, happiness is the message behind the track HaPpY. Again, this is another dry track for me. The mid-tempo nature of the song was probably the biggest driver of this. The instrumental was pretty repetitive, as well. However, I did like the last moment’s push Han gives just prior to the song ending. (6/10)

13. Up All Night (Bangchan, Changbin, Felix & Seungmin)Up All Night features the most members, four in total. Latin influences feature in the instrumentation and there is a playful energy to the song that makes it a fun listen. Felix kicks off the song with a very seductive approach. Bangchan brings personality to his vocals, while Seungmin’s vocals had a nice easygoing vibe. Changbin was the weakest member in the song in my opinion, with the higher pitch feeling quite unnatural. The bridge with the deeper notes/bass was my favourite bit in the entire song. (7.5/10)

14. Drive (Bangchan & Lee Know)Drive is the other song that I mentioned in Thursday’s half of the B-Side review that is more recognisable than most other tracks on the album. The undeniable yet iconic sexy lyrics that I don’t think we know who of the pair wrote, the rhythmic and atmospheric hip-hop instrumentation, and the mature tone that both Bangchan and Lee Know brings just makes this a cool listen. I also like the smidge of upbeatness that Drive had, which is another appreciable energy booster during this part of the album. (8.5/10)

15. ice.cream (Hyunjin Solo) – The honour of closing the 25-track album goes to Hyunjin’s ice.cream. I liked the R&B nature of the song and Hyunjin’s husky vocals make the song charming. Don’t get me wrong, however, when I use the word “charming”. ice.cream is a very much bittersweet love song. Hyunjin also raps in the verses, and there is a nice showing of his rapping skills. The abrupt ending is not something I enjoyed and I think the song could have eased out to make the closing of both song and album more palatable. (7.5/10)

Overall B-Side Rating – 7.6/10 (this also includes song ratings from the first half of the B-Side of the album)

Overall Album Rating – 7.9/10

Teaser Image from Stray Kids’ God’s Menu era

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