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Stray Kids goes all-out for ‘All In’

Stray Kids goes all-out for ‘All In’

Stray Kids goes all-out for ‘All In’
April 08
20:04 2021

Immediately daunting, fire lights up the screen with a terrifying beauty that keeps Stray Kids fans wanting more. Sparks fly as Han bounds on-screen shouting, in his classic streetwear, as the billboard behind him rages on fire. 

Han stands over his seven other band members circled around him in what seems to be an abandoned warehouse parking lot, guiding their movements with his own as he throws up his hands and jumps straight into the air. 

With the members eager to hustle, Han stares straight ahead and addresses the crowd to prep them for what’s about to go down.

As the members slowly stride away, Han starts in with the band’s tagline, getting straight to the point. “We’re gonna go all in. Just do what we want!” he shouts, setting the tone for the rest of the video. 

Scene by scene, we get to see sharp, congruous choreography that’s occasionally broken up by scenes of powerful standstill rap, keeping the chaos digestible. 

But, this hardcore nature is enhanced by one simple phrase: “Risk everything — that’s the answer.”

With the song accompanied by the music video, Stray Kids lit the world up with their Japanese hit single “All In.”

The popular K-pop band is quickly rising in popularity in the U.S., and here’s why: they write and produce their own songs, help with choreographing their dances, push boundaries by incorporating different elements into every song and create tons of music like it’s nothing. And you can take a look for yourself with “All In.”

Stray Kids is comprised of eight members: leader Bang Chan (also a rapper, producer and vocalist), dancer and vocalist Lee Know, rapper and producer Changbin, vocalist, rapper and dancer Hyunjin, rapper and producer Han, dancer and rapper Felix, vocalist Seungmin and vocalist I.N. But ultimately, every member can do a little bit of everything.

To close 2020, Stray Kids debuted their Japanese album starting with the release of “All In.” And wow, was this a powerful way to go out.

First of all, Stray Kids leaves you no time to wait before they go straight into “All In” with Han’s introductory line that establishes the pumped and chaotic tone for the rest of the song. However, there is nothing I love more than trying to figure out the meaning of the music video paired with the Japanese (translated to English) lyrics. Analyzing the video was intriguing, and my interpretation was that Stray Kids were posing as the police trying to find a certain group of criminals, but they were also the criminals, which gave them every chance to steal tons of money without being caught. 

The lyrics pair well with this story, especially with Changbin’s rap line of “Even when we crash into a wall, you won’t know until it breaks,” revealing the trickery that has gone into this master plan. And the music video gives clues of this storyline with the occasional scenes where there is a report on the TV of the crimes with the regular response of “What?” as the last scene gives it away when the gambler who was scammed by Stray Kids is confused on how they got away — which is because there were no police to arrest them.

Now, this is more of a feel-good type of song that is just fun to listen to and watch, less of a meaningful message-type of a song. Considering how rough 2020 was, I wanted a little escape from what was happening in the world, and “All In” did that for me. However, there were undertones of police corruption in the music video and I think that may have to do with what’s happening in the United States with police brutality and corruption since Stray Kids is trying to appeal to not only its Korean and Japanese audience, but its American audience. So, making the song in Japanese and touching on themes of police corruption (which can also be applied worldwide) was a great way to attract their audience and subtly add some heavy undertones.

The song has a very catchy tune, but I wish that Lee Know was given more singing parts considering I.N. and Seungmin were almost always singing. Instead, Lee Know appeared in the background, in-between parts.  The rapping, though, was perfect with each rapper adding their own strengths to the song. But nothing was more powerful than Changbin and Felix’s energetic, powerful lines and scenes. Hyunjin, on the other hand, brought somewhat of a soft feel to the song yet still emitted the same hardcore tone of the song. And Bang Chan stunned as a smooth, charming leader, and he’s the main reason Stray Kids were able to pull off such a performance. 

Not only was the music video well put together, but the costumes and hair were very fitting for each member of Stray Kids. Unfortunately, Felix’s all-black criminal outfit was way better than his red jacket outfit and slightly green hair at the beginning of the music video. I like the risk that the stylists took with this outfit, but it didn’t quite work for me. 

Regarding the song, I wanted more than just the same kind of phrase repeated over and over in slightly different ways. They were basically repeating that Stray Kids won’t give up until they have everything they’ve ever wanted. But in all fairness, this was their Japanese debut and was a great one at that. Stray Kids made it known through “All In” that they will never give up on trying to connect with all their fans, even if Japanese is not a language they know fluently. And you can see that Stray Kids made an impact because the “All In” album that was later released (mainly with previous songs redone in Japanese) became the No. 2 album on Oricon’s weekly chart, the largest music statistics site in Japan.

I give this video a high rating because of how well the music worked, considering the lyrics and elements of the music video. I was impressed and felt Stray Kids gave their Japanese debut their all. I can’t wait to see what Stray Kids has up their sleeves for 2021 — for sure it will be intriguing, but it will definitely be hard to follow the stunner that is “All In.”

Rebekah’s rating: 4.5/5

Courtesy Genius

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Rebekah Schulte

Rebekah Schulte

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