Since their explosive debut, the nine members of Stray Kids have been running — away from the systems that seek to control them, away from the voices inside their heads, and into the thorny maze of adolescence with a broken compass. But with the release of their latest digital single, “Double Knot,” Stray Kids are finally free, running toward nothing in particular but doing so on their own terms.
Written and primarily produced by members Bang Chan, Han, and Changbin — also known as 3RACHA — “Double Knot” combines elements of hip-hop, trap, and EDM to a powerful effect. It’s a song about taking control of your own destiny, of owning your story without following a singular path, and running full speed into the unknown.
“Shake off confused worries in my head,” rapper Han sings, his voice laced with Autotune (a stylistic choice). “Where I should head to doesn’t matter anymore / Wherever the steps take me / I’m Runnin’ / Retie my loose shoelaces / Movin’.”
“Double Knot” may not be as sonically bold as “Miroh” or as dark and disorienting as “Side Effects,” but it’s the perfect distillation of Stray Kids’s unique sound: loud and relentless but never hollow. (And there are always a few sonic flourishes to keep fans on their toes.) If the previous two chapters in the Clé (the French word for “key”) series were about taking risks and forging ahead without a set path, then “Double Knot” is a sign that the group have settled into their rhythm.
The visual finds the members running around Los Angeles with their signature street style and aimless indifference. The lush landscapes of “Side Effects” have been replaced by industrial images and a barren cityscape that recall previous videos in the group’s discography like “Grrr” and “Voices.”
There’s also a brief tease of the group’s next release in November: “Astronaut.”
“Double Knot” is just the first taste of what Stray Kids have planned for the rest of the year. Following the release of “Astronaut” in early November, Stray Kids will kick off their world tour, District 9: Unlock, on November 23 in Seoul. And the next installment of the Clé series, Clé 3: Levanter, is set to drop on November 25.
Curiously, to “levant” is to run away leaving unpaid debts. While we don’t know where Bang Chan, Woojin, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and I.N. are headed to next, it’s safe to say that they will surely be running there — persistently and messily with total abandon. That is, of course, the Stray Kids way.