Every time I write a few Stray Children comeback, it feels just like the group’s recognition has grown by leaps and bounds. It’s daunting to observe these idol fanbases multiply. Individually, I’ve been a relatively informal Keep. I liked their debut, completely adored their 2019 materials and thought that 2020’s Go Reside album was glorious and various. However amongst the standouts, there’ve been songs that haven’t totally related and it’s been some time since I fell exhausting for a Stray Children title observe. New single Maniac is unlikely to vary that, however the tune provides a couple of welcome surprises.
For so long as I’ve been a Okay-pop fan, the trade has thrived on its willingness to bend style in service to a catchy hook. Stick round lengthy sufficient and these musical mash-ups received’t really feel almost as experimental as they as soon as did. Too usually, at present’s Okay-pop comebacks are merely disparate items clanging collectively. Generally, they’re not even attempting to attach. Given the debut of JYP Leisure’s new group NMIXX, the company appears intent on this fractured method. However, Stray Children have all the time had extra inventive freedom and it’s fascinating to listen to them forge collectively Maniac‘s ornery elements.
As all the time, the sum is barely as robust as its components, and Maniac is a blended bag. Its refrain is a winner, creeping over undulous synth and as soon as once more using Felix’s cavernous tone as its ace within the gap. I feel the observe may have gone larger right here (particularly as we transfer towards the climax), however it’s cool to listen to the group strive on a brand new texture. The primary half of Maniac’s verses can also be profitable, perched over a completely completely different synth riff. The vitality is lighter and funkier, with the synth melody working as a springboard relatively than a template for the vocals.
I’m not an enormous fan of the pre-chorus (?) that’s wedged between these two segments. I imply, it’s just about Stray Children being Stray Children, however it appears like essentially the most generic portion of the observe. It’s additionally two occasions longer than it must be, offering a clumsy transition between two wildly divergent items. If Maniac had woven all its concepts into an aural tapestry for a knock-your-socks-off finale, its disjointedness would have had an even bigger payoff. As an alternative, the observe reveals most of its methods within the first minute and doesn’t develop a lot from there. Fortunate for us, they’re extremely entertaining methods!