Stray Kids Number 1 Album: K-Pop Group Makes Historic Debut
The K-pop group Stray Kids caught some eyeballs around these parts with the recent release of the teaser trailer for Oddinary, their new EP. Specifically, it was the teaser’s Harley and Joker vibes that did the trick. (Predictable.) It was all in a day’s work for the group, though, who have built a reputation as inventive pop artists. And that work is paying off as Stray Kids hit number 1 this week. The debut at the top spot on Billboard puts Stray Kids in rarefied company.
A (Very) Brief Guide to K-Pop, Particularly Stray Kids (스트레이 키즈)
As I’ve mentioned here before, in the past year, I somehow became a BTS fan. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I’ve learned to live with it. If you’re a Spotify user, then you know that the app uses your data to create content for you, like genre-specific mixes. As such, because I listen to BTS, it often generates K-pop playlists for me.
And it’s…fine. I say that because while I’ve made a tiny, baby-fisted effort, I haven’t really clicked with any other K-pop groups. Any other, that is, but Stray Kids. The group, if you didn’t know, is an offering from the conglomerate JYP Entertainment. They formed the band through a 2017 reality show of the same name.
image via JYP
This kind of thing, by the way, is very common in Korean pop music. Entertainment companies recruit trainees, whom they try to fashion into pop stars, or, as they call them there, idols. Many times, it just doesn’t work out. The list of trainees who became successful idols is, obviously, a pretty small list. Sometimes, though, it does work. Sometimes, for example, you create the biggest group in the world. And while Stray Kids isn’t there (yet), they’re putting in the work.
Stray Kids, or SKZ as they’re also known, comprises 8 members. Bang Chan is the leader, a position that is de rigueur in K-pop groups. The other members are Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N. While they’ve released only two full albums–or as olds call them, LPs–since their debut, they’ve released nine EPs. And while their formation may have been manufactured, their music is not. The members themselves (especially Bang Chan, Changbin, and Han) have been responsible for the majority of their lyrics and music.
Stray Kids Score Number 1 with New Release Oddinary
Those past LPs and EPs have done pretty well, critically and commercially. However, their newest release, EP Oddinary, has hit a high-water mark for the group. Stray Kids Billboard stats have seen them hit the World Albums chart before, but with this one, they debuted on the Billboard 200 at number 1. They also claimed the title on the Top Album Sales chart.
image via JYP and Republic Records
That’s not only history-making for the group, but also for K-pop in general. With this achievement, Stray Kids becomes only the third K-pop group in history to pull off the feat. (The others are SuperM and who else? Of course, BTS.) Buoyed by first single “Maniac,” the album also saw over a million preorders. This is the first release in the US for the group, incidentally, since their signing to Republic Records.
As for the group themselves, they remain humble in the face of this historic achievement. Referring to their fanbase (known as Stays), Bang Chan told Billboard, “I don’t know if we deserve it, but it’s a really big gift that Stays gave us.” He also called the accomplishment, “a really good start for 2022,” and he thanked their fans for their support.
Oddinary is available now. Stray Kids will begin their world tour in Seoul next month.
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featured image via JYP and Republic Records
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at [email protected]