Last year, K-pop powerhouse Stray Kids made a thunderous comeback with their sophomore album NOEASY. This year, the octet are back with yet another anthemic release, attesting to the group’s commitment towards re-defining their style and artistic growth. Titled “Maniac,” the latest release leads the group’s EP ODDINARY and marks the first release under Republic Records after the group entered an exclusive contract with the label in February.
Written and composed by the group’s production unit 3RACHA (Bang Chan, Changbin and Han) alongside VERSACHOI, “Maniac” acts as an extension to the group’s ongoing thematic of breaking free from societal norms and expectations. Characterized by powerful trap beats and bass-synth sounds, the single kicks off with a groovy melody with leader Bang Chan; “Relax everyone, stop pretending to be normal/ All of your smiles look weird/ When the lock is released, we’re all the same/Your eyes can’t fool me, ho.”
As the chorus approaches, Felix plays to his strengths, employing his deep-toned vocals, singing; “Maniac/ Going crazy, like I have a loose screw maniac. Spinning, going crazy/ Maniac walk like Frankenstein. Anchored by sonorous bass-synths echoing in the background, the rapper-vocalists’ resonant vocalization instantly dials up the intensity, enhancing the track’s aural appeal.
Lyrically, “Maniac” supports the EP’s overarching thematic. A blend between the words ‘odd’ and ‘ordinary,’ ODDINARY encourages listeners to embrace the odd sides in themselves; After all these ‘quirks’ are what truly sets us apart from the ordinary. On the other hand, “Maniac” delves into this subject deeper, highlighting what this journey (of embracing your odd sides) may lead to. From backbiting; “You can backbite me as much as you want, I’ll ignorе them anyway” to the explosion of pent-up emotions; at the end, one cannot suppress the real version of themselves no matter how hard social norms and pressure try to cover it up; “As time goes by, it’ll eventually be revealed/The inner self that was hidden yeah.”
Existing in two worlds, “Maniac’s” plotline oscillates between two worlds (think multiverse meets the upside-down). The first is your ‘ordinary’ world, where the boys hold regular part-time jobs and hang out in a diner and the is the cinematic ‘oddinary’ world where each member has unleashed (and accepted) their quirks, becoming a more confident and ambitious version of themselves.
Primarily written and produced by 3RACHA, ODDINARY is a powerful seven-track EP that comprises five group tracks (“Venon,” “Maniac,” “Charmer,” “Freeze” and “Lonely St”) and two-unit tracks (Bang Chan, Lee Know, Seungmin, IN’ s “Waiting For Us” and “Muddy Water” by Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix).
On March 17th, JYP Entertainment announced that ODDINARY ha total of 1.3 million stock pre-orders, making them the first artist under the label to cross the one million pre-order sales. Previously, NOEASY crunched in 930,000 pre-orders, giving their latest comeback a 400,000 album sale rise and making it their personal best release (in terms of sales numbers) to date.