Following the news of Stray Kids earning their third consecutive No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with their biggest sales week yet, 5-Star confirms the importance behind the intense attention the K-pop boy band put into each song — even when the songs take years to make it on an album.

“2022 was filled with so many unbelievable events; it all feels like a dream,” HAN tells Billboard when reflecting on the group’s chart success ahead of their new project. “All I can think about is how deeply thankful we are for everything and how much this experience has motivated us to work even harder and grow even more. The goal of this album is to emphasize Stray Kids’ unique color, which can be defined as ‘strange yet special.’ I hope that 5-STAR will be yet another breakthrough for our group and become an album that many people acknowledge as a legendary one.”

The new, 12-track project is the band’s first full-length LP since 2021’s Noeasy and sees SKZ challenge themselves in new ways, like their ambitious, genre-hopping lead single “S-Class”; standout B-side “TOPLINE” (which includes their first-ever album feature in Korea’s legendary rapper Tiger JK); and “THE SOUND (Korean Ver.),” which transforms their beloved Japanese single for K-pop audiences.

“The idea for the title 5-STAR came from the lyrics of ‘S-Class,’ playing around the words ‘special’ and ‘star,’” says Stray Kids leader Bang Chan. “5-STAR represents the uniqueness and confidence that we put into our work.”

Stray Kids members Bang Chan, HAN, Changbin and Felix have songwriting, composition and production credits across every track on 5-STAR. Still, the group emphasizes the teamwork required to bring together all their new music.

“Feedback where everyone needs to be involved is really important when it comes to a project,” Bang Chan adds. “If some people made songs, then the others play an important role to give feedback about the songs—extra thoughts and ideas around performance, recording, concepts are all vital in the whole process and the other members participate perfectly.”

The group’s vocal star Seungmin adds, “I helped bring the wonderful songs our members made to life by singing my heart out,” while youngest member I.N notes, “I didn’t really participate in the production process this time, but I did push very hard for ‘S-Class’ to be the title track [single].”

Looking ahead, the group isn’t putting additional pressures on themselves beyond pushing further with their future music and live shows. Hyunjin promises, “We will continue to perform many stages and will expand to even larger venues so that we can meet and interact with more people.” At the same time, Lee Know says, “Stray Kids’ next [step] will be filled with many new challenges, just like what we’ve shown the world so far.”

Felix concludes, “We just hope to be healthy in order to get through the challenges that await us.”

Celebrate Stray Kids’ latest five-star album by going with the members track by track through 5-STAR.


Jeff Benjamin
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