[Album Review] Clé 2: Yellow Wood (1st Special Album) – Stray Kids

Today’s album review will be focusing on Stray Kids’ latest release. As you can tell by the title of the post, this isn’t the traditional album release from Stray Kids, like in past comebacks. Apart from three new songs (which includes their latest title track, Side Effects), the album also compiles their 4 past mixtape tracks, which were previously only found on the physical version of each of their 4 past mini-albums. Usually, I do not review these mixtape tracks. But as this is a special album, I have decided to make an exception.

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Clé 2: Yellow Wood Album Cover

1..Road Not Taken (밟힌 적 없는 길) – Kickstarting Yellow Wood is an introductory track that throws you into the deep end, with the song featuring a very energetic and robust electronic dance instrumental. Interestingly, we do not get that same level of energy that comes from the vocals or raps. But the seriousness in their voices reminds us that they are not here to mess around with. And I think this contrast is spectacular, matching the inspirational nature of the lyrics. I really like the drop, foreshadowing the exact same glitchy effect in the title track. It is rather disappointing that it was a short one, as I would love to hear a full track out of it. (9/10)

2. Side Effects (부작용) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review of Side Effects. (10/10)

3. TMT (별생각) – The third new track on this mini-album is TMT. The first thing I noticed about the track is that it takes a more ordinary approach, compared to the previous two tracks. It relies less on theatrics and a dramatic instrumental, refocusing on the vocals and rapping techniques of the group (which I did enjoy). With this more ordinary and less intense approach, the track feels like a potential GOT7 title track, especially after the release of Eclipse. I really like whiney synth in the background of the chorus, giving the song a memorable sound. It is not necessarily a stand out track from the group but it still contains a kick that I enjoyed. (8/10)

4. Mixtape #1Mixtape #1 (originally from their first mini-album, I Am Not) is a standard track, structure wise. It is surprising to hear such a pleasant sound from the group, which is very different from what we are used from Stray Kids. It showcases the vocals of the group, which I think was very nice, especially in an album that features District 9 (which was loaded with raps and intensity from memory) as its title track. Mixtape #1 talks about self-deception into thinking that you got everything under control to achieve what you want later. Overall, a nice track. (8/10)

5. Mixtape #2Mixtape #2 featured on the group’s second mini-album, I Am Who. The track features acoustic guitars, miles away from the dance tracks that Stray Kids have presented us. It focuses purely on vocals, with the rappers even opting for a more melodic form of rapping for the track. The lyrics focus on the bonds created between the members of the group and the bond formed between Stray Kids and Stays (their fan club), along with how they will not give up. I find them all singing at the end to be a very impactful moment, given the message of the track. Soothing and peaceful, a stand out track that I can’t believe I opted to miss out on when I reviewed I Am Who. (9/10)

6. Mixtape #3 – I know these songs are probably not connected in any way. But Mixtape #3 takes the acoustic nature from Mixtape #2 and redefines it into an upbeat sound. Once again, it is vocally driven. But I find the rapping in this track to be impactful and attention-grabbing, emerging as a strong component. But ruling the track has to be the beautiful sounding melodies. I also like how it doesn’t necessarily feature the members singing together but you can feel their presence as a group at the end of the track. (8/10)

7. Mixtape #4 – Featured on the group’s fourth mini-album (Clé 1: Miroh), this is the style I had expected more when it comes to the term ‘mixtape’. The track is more intense than any of the other mixtapes on this album and it feels more aligned with the title tracks we have heard thus far. The track talks about pushing forward regardless of any troubles. The rapping is more dominant, which is a nice change up to line-up. The vocals were good, but I felt like they were a little weaker, especially around the chorus. But still good, overall. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.6/10

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Clé 2: Yellow Wood Teaser Image

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