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Posted by eric_r_wirsing AKP STAFF Monday, June 24, 2019

[MV & Album Review] Stray Kids – 'Clé 2: Yellow Wood'

AKP STAFF

STRAY KIDS – 'CLÉ 2: YELLOW WOOD'



Track List:


1. Road Not Taken

2. Side Effects

3. TMT

4. Mixtape #1 (originally "Placebo")

5. Mixtape #2 (originally "If There's a Shadow, There Must Be Light")

6. Mixtape #3 (originally "For You")

7. Mixtape #4 (originally "Broken Compass")


Stray Kids has just dropped the latest album in their 'Clé' series, 'Clé 2: Yellow Wood.' This one has 3 new tracks, and then 4 "mixtapes," which are deleted tracks from other albums redone for the OT9 version of the band. I'm pretty sure you all wanted to hear them, so here they are!

With a hyperactive synth line and some edgy rapping by the boys, "Road Not Taken" leads the album. An intro track, it teases all sorts of things like EDM effects, auto-tune, and glorious hip-hop. It had my curiosity piqued. "Side Effects" starts out with a piano riff, but it quickly gives way to autotuned voices, raps, and a pounding beat. And the chorus is just shouted at us, suffused with savagery and attitude. I love it because this song is the kind of high-energy club-banger I heart. This doesn't sound a whole lot like Stray Kids, but it's still trés awesome. They soften things up on "TMT." This one kind of annoyed me, as it didn't really sound like Stray Kids either. As a matter of fact, they sounded like GOT7. There's nothing wrong with that, other than they're not GOT7. We already have one, thanks. Don't need another.

Now the mixtapes are where they slow things down a lot and become more introspective. I'm of two minds about that, while I like to know how they think, I want to hear more hip hop and more rapping. They do that so well, it's almost a waste of their talent to minimize it. These are originally by the main songwriting team 3RACHA, and have been redone for the OT9 version of Stray Kids. All of them are tracks that didn't make the cut the first time around and were intended for previous albums.

"Mixtape #1" is largely about deceiving yourself, and thinking you got this when you really don't. It takes a while to find its stride and about midway through has some sweet raps and some techno effects as well.

"Mixtape #2" is mainly done to acoustic guitar. On here the boys talk about how they'll never stop, even if anxiety grips them from the time they wake up. They just sing this song and it gets them through.

"Mixtape #3" seems a lot happier than the other ones. It starts with an acoustic guitar but ends up with other instrumentation, dialing the guitar back some. This one's about believing in yourself, everything will be all right.

"Mixtape #4" is way more upbeat, and my favorite of the Mixtapes on here. It's got more rapping, cooler main choruses, and good synth backing. I like it a lot.

Overall, I wasn't as much of a fan of this release as, say, 'Miroh' or 'District 9.' It's not terrible, but I think it lacks the energy of those particular EPs. The first two tracks were pretty good, then they tapered off around "TMT." They just seemed to lack something, and it dashed my hopes for this EP. I'm hoping their next release tickles my eardrums more than this one.


MV REVIEW

The boys take a leisurely drive in "Side Effects."

Okay, not quite. They're driving what looks like a military personnel carrier, with many seats and a camo paint job. They reach a part of the road that's closed off (apparently a top-secret military installation), and a fight starts over a candid pic. They get over it and start to drive back. As they get sleepy and it's late, they catch a bus and decide to let someone else drive them back to Seoul. Oh, and there's some dancing.

That's all this video was. I was maybe hoping for some side effects -- maybe gruesome, maybe goofy -- given the name of the song, but they didn't ask me.

The dancing was the highlight of the MV. And we got to see plenty of it. These nine boys have some serious moves, which is part of why I like them. And the choreo was solid here as well. Sadly, that's about the best that can be said about the MV.

My problem with the MV is that there's a whole lot of nothing going on. I wish there was, but there wasn't. My interest flagged, and while there was a ghost of a plot, nothing really stood out until the end, where the keys were sitting in a pond (a nod to the series).

So I'm hoping they do a little more with their next MV.

Score


MV Relevance...........7

MV Production..........7

MV Concept..............7

MV SCORE: 7.0

Album Production.....9.0

Album Concept.........9.0

Tracklisting...............8.0

ALBUM SCORE: 8.7

OVERALL................7.8

  1. Stray Kids
  2. CL 2: YELLOW WOOD
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