Unboxing and Review: Stray Kids Cle 1: Miroh
With their first comeback of 2019, Stray Kids dropped Cle1: Miroh on their one-year anniversary. After a series of concept photos and song teasers, this was definitely an album many were anticipating.
Unboxing The Miroh
This comeback, Stray Kids surprised us with different versions of the album once again. However, this time around they released a limited edition version of Cle 1: Miroh before the regular version was released. Below is a look at the limited edition version of the album, sold only in limited quantities.
First, let's look at the front and back of the album. This is what you would see when pulling the album from a store shelf.
However, that is a dust jacket. The true cover of the album can be found when you remove the jacket. The neat thing about the dust jacket is when you flip it over, it shows a cool mini-poster. I cannot decide if I like the dust jacket or the actual cover of the album better.
Every version of Cle 1: Miroh had a special fold-out page. In my copy, I was surprised to find Hwang Hyunjin. What a gorgeous face.
The main difference between the regular version and the limited edition of the album are the covers, so don’t worry too much if you didn’t get your hands on the limited version.
This album threw me through several loops. The musicality is something I always look forward to when listening to a Stray Kids album; however, this album took it to a new level.
From the I Am: series we learned that Stray Kids will often compile their intros into one whole song. I think this might also be the case for the Cle series. “Entrance” is a percussion-heavy song featuring two French phrases that Bang Chan actually translates for us in the Pre-Talk: JYPx3Racha video. The first one is “Where am I? What is this door that I just entered?” and the second one is “There is no return.” Towards the end of the song, you can hear a voice that is saying “Miroh, Miroh” over and over again. This eerie-sounding track sets up the vibe for the rest of the album.
Truthfully, this was not a song that won me over at first, due to its heavier EDM sound. But the more I listened, the more I began to love it. The song does not follow a typical pop song structure, which makes it unfamiliar. The entirety of the song is filled with chants, heavy rhymes, and animal sounds that add to the overall uniqueness of the track. There are two things that stand out: the first one is the continuation of the chorus chant as part of the music, meaning that beneath the main vocals, you can hear the chanting. From the Pre-Talk: JYPx3Racha video, we learn that this is actually from the Congo language. Chan mentions that they added words and “their own colors” to it before adding it to the song. At first, it may seem like an intentional backup vocal, but it is incorporated into the melody, which is something we don’t encounter often. The second thing is the abundance of animal sounds used, more specifically the use of the wolf and lion sounds. This track was composed to be powerful. This is one I cannot wait to see live.
The Music Video
The music video reminded me of the play Les Miserables, with the youth banding together to take on the major power. There are a few key things to notice in the music video. First, take note that the rooftop is the same one they are looking off of at the end of the “I am You” music video. They have escaped the city that brainwashed them in “District 9” and are now rediscovering themselves. The second thing to notice is that the choreography is focused on power. The inclusion of the Maori traditional dance of Haka into the choreography was a ridiculously awesome power move. The Haka is a war dance that shows off the power and strength of a tribe. This isn’t the first time Stray Kids has included the Haka into its music. The chant was included in the 3RACHA song “Zone.” Something that did catch me off guard was the dancers, as they are wearing terrifying masks that glow neon. 10/10 would not want to catch them in a dark alley.
Victory song is a track that refuses to be regulated to the B-side. The song starts out with a police siren and a heavy staccato beat that gets layered with EDM sounds. It would fit perfectly into a rave playlist. There is a recurring hook of “undefeated,” which makes it easy for anyone to listen and participate with the song. In the JYP X 3Racha video, Changbin explains that the song is about having already won the battle before the battle has started. The song starts out with Felix, who adds an interesting contrast to the song between his low register and Han’s biting rap which follows soon after. The chorus is really catchy and hard to get out of your head once it's stuck
“Maze of Memories”
After the umpteenth time of listening to this song, I had an epiphany. This song's music follows a journey through an actual maze, Dungeons and Dragons style. From the beginning of the song, you are entering the maze, equipped and ready to tackle anything. This part is championed by the vocals of Woojin and Jeongin. Around the 45-second mark, when Han changes his flow, you are now confused, and things aren’t right. Hyunjin and Lee Know add to the heightened feel with the contrast of their flows. This part introduces a heavy guitar riff, adding to the anxious feeling of the flow. Around the 1 minute 10-second mark or so is when the “aha” moment happens and you're working on a plan to find your way out of the maze. This is also the part where Changbin does not take a breath. Fun fact: from 1:11 to 1:18, Changbin raps 64 syllables. That's 64 syllables in 7 seconds: mind-blowing. Hyunjin and Changbin are going back and forth at this part. It sounds as if it’s a conversation. Then finally, from 1:51 mark, it’s the boss fight, your last hurdle to make it out to the other side. This is also a part that Chan, Felix, and Seungmin all rap in English. Overall, this song throws me through a major loop.
The tropical house introduction of this track was also unexpected. Lee Know’s cute intro of “Oh, Okay, Annyeong” before spitting bars is a great way to catch the ear. This was the track I was most excited about because of the teaser, and it didn’t disappoint.
The title of this song has two parts to think about. The first is “Chronos.” Chronos or Khronos is the personification of time in several ancient traditions. The second is the fact that the song is named after the most terrifying large lizard that was once found in Australia. “Chronosaurus” is a song that would serve well as part of a video game soundtrack. Just like “Maze of Memories,” it sounds as if it's detailing a battle, but this time the battle isn’t against a physical enemy, it is against time. Recurring lines throughout the song being “watch out, watch out” and “count down, count down” add to the feeling of the song.
This song hits home a little harder than I expected it to. This track composed almost entirely by Han is all about the feelings of letting youth fade away and becoming an adult. The song is a lot slower and smoother compared to some of the other songs on the album. At first listen, I thought it was going to be a more sensual or sexier track. The R&B feel lends itself to the sound of the album's predecessor. One complaint, however, is the autotune on some parts of the vocals; I enjoy the natural sound of the Stray Kids members’ voices.
This song is a track that is only available on the CD. However, some STAY’s have uploaded lyric videos onto YouTube. This track is a remastered and remixed version of the 3RACHA song “Broken Compass.” This features all nine members of Stray Kids and continues the story originally told in “Broken Compass.” This is a must listen for anyone who is wanting to learn more about Stray Kids.
Overall, the entire album completely blows me away, even though there are some songs that took me a lot longer to warm up to. While it’s not a sound we are accustomed to hearing from Stray Kids, I am looking forward to more of it. Check out Cle 1: Miroh on all major streaming sites.