TITLE: CLÈ : LEVANTER
ARTIST: STRAY KIDS
LABEL: JYP Entertainment
RELEASED: December 9, 2019
I don’t know if you can say I was waiting to see what this would be but I was fucking waiting to see what this would be. Because not only was it pushed back, it was basically all redone because of the current climate of Stray Kids. *coughs* Woojin spill the tea *coughs*. Anyway… since I didn’t care for the last Clé, lets see if I give this a chance.
LEVANTER – TITLE TRACK
I don’t hate it. I was expecting something that wasn’t this vocal heavy, kind of slow track. But it is on brand for Stray Kids. The vocals are solid, thank you Seungmin, Chris and Han. And center Felix is captivating in the MV. I still don’t understand the cryptic stuff they have going on but it does double as a sweater commercial because I want ALL the outfits. It’s solid and reminds me of the I Am YOU era. But as a title track, I’m not sure it holds the same punch as Double Knot did over the Fall.
This is basically fandom pleasing. We all asked that Road Not Taken be a full song last time and they gave it to us. And I’m not disappointed. The beat hits the same and the extended raps are sweet. Basically, I fucks with this one hard body.
Now there really isn’t anything bad I can say about this. Personally, I can’t tell you if there is a big difference from the version that was released in the Fall besides the exclusion of Woojin’s vocals. But maybe it’s just me that this doesn’t slap any less. This track was dark and hard hitting back in October and I bumped it hard. Almost as hard as Felix came for me with that deep ass voice in the beginning of verse two. This is just that bitch. Probably would have been title track if it didn’t come out in October.
Going to call this one “Double Knot Lite”. It’s in the same wheelhouse but not as dark. The base is heavy but it has more of a sweet vocal side to it. The pre-chorus is a nice build but I don’t think the chorus is AS strong as say Double Knot. However, it is catchy and I really like the groovy verses and Changbin slays. I could have seen this as a title track contender.
Wow… this feels… different. It’s a dancey track and seems fun. It seems like it would be best fit for a summery vibe and I could see people dancing to this at coachchella or whatever the kids call music festivals these days. Fun but not annoying.
When it first started I wondered if this was going to be a full ballad and it isn’t but I guess it’s the closest we will get when it comes to Stray Kids. It has a hint of an R&B feel but I’m not a fan of the over autotuned vocals. But the raps fit very nicely. It’s experimental I would say for SKz. This is going on my chill playlist for sure.
You Can STAY
From the title, I knew this was a song for fellow STAYs. So I had to look up the lyrics. And sure enough, it seems like my assumption was right and it is CUTE. The song as a little Latin undertone and I don’t hate it! But what really gets me is Chris’ repeated line of “You can rest here, you can rest here,” that really hits home. Even though both STAYs and Stray Kids are going through a hard time, this song seems like they’re telling us that everything will be okay. Musically, it’s bright and hopeful.
I think given the circumstances, this was a really good effort. Are the songs as a whole catchy as some of their previous tracks? No. Are there stand outs? Obviously. STOP, Double Knot, Booster and You Can STAY are the stand outs where as the others are good enough fillers to keep the album from feeling unbalanced. At the end of the day, Stray Kids is still a rookie group with a lot of ideas, buttload of talent and a distinct style they make their mark with every time. They have a lot of Staying power for sure.
PRODUCTION: 3.5 / 5
VOCALS / RAPPING: 4 / 5
VISUALS / CONCEPT: 3 / 5
OVERALL: 3.5 / 5
Least Favorite Track(s): Sunshine
Favorite Track(s): Double Knot