Mirotic is the fourth Korean studio album (seventh overall) by South Korean pop group TVXQ, released on September 26, 2008 by S.M. Entertainment. This is the last Korean album with the group's original line-up.
The album was a major commercial breakthrough and is TVXQ's most critically successful album to date. The best-selling album of 2008, Mirotic debuted atop the Hanteo charts and sold 110,000 albums in one week, setting the record for one-week sales in South Korea. Version A of the album sold over 208,000 copies in a month, and cumulative sales surpassed 500,000 copies 109 days after its release. Mirotic is the first Korean album in four years to break 500,000 sales, a number which was last achieved by Seo Taiji's 2004 album 7th Issue. As of July 2012, Mirotic has sold over 600,000 copies in South Korea alone.
Mirotic won the Disk Daesang (equivalent to Album of the Year) at the 23rd Golden Disk Awards and Album of the Year at the 2008 Mnet KM Music Festival (MKMF). It is currently the best-selling album among Korea's second-generation idols, earning the name "Album of the Decade."
The album had been in production since 2007, but the title was not decided upon until January 2008. TVXQ members Xiah Junsu and Max Changmin participated directly in the making of the album, penning the lyrics for "노을.. 바라보다 (Picture of You)" and "Love in the Ice", respectively. In addition, members Hero Jaejoong and Micky Yoochun composed and wrote the lyrics to "사랑아 울지마 (Don't Cry My Lover)" and "사랑 안녕 사랑 (Love Bye Love)", respectively, for version C of the album.
The choreography of "주문-Mirotic," the title track of the album, was done in a collaboration between Korean choreographers and Kenny Wormald, who had also worked with pop stars Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown and Christina Aguilera. The song features a "reverse beat" track, meaning that the bass beat is either a half beat or a whole beat late in coming into a new phrase. While in most genres of music, the bass note comes in directly on the first beat of the measure in setting the chord of the phrase, reverse beat songs alter this usual method. In doing so, the reverse beat genre is said to have an effect of "growing on" the listener, having an addictive sound.
"Mirotic" is a newly coined term, created by member Hero Jaejoong, that combines the Korean miro (미로), meaning "maze", and the English suffix "-tic".
The title song was composed by the Danish producers, Remee, Lucas Secon and Thomas Troelsen. The German singer, Sarah Connor, also bought the copyright to the song (not specified when). Despite the fact that the two original songs were the same composed piece, they have musical differences (TVXQ's version has a rap and multi-layered harmonies while Connor's has a bridge; the melodies in the chorus also differ). "Mirotic" is one of the most successful singles ever in South Korea, in 2008 the song was downloaded 2,337,864 times. By the end of 2011 the song was officially downloaded 4,173,225 times.
In November 2008, the Korean Commission of Youth Protection ruled that Mirotic was detrimental to youths and declared that the lyrics were provocative and overly sexual. As a result, the album was labeled with stickers indicating that it was unsuitable for people under 19 years old and any performances of the song would have to be broadcast after 10 PM. In response to the ruling, SM Entertainment agreed to make a clean version but also had filed an injunction to overrule the commission's decision
We will make a clean version in accordance with the commission’s administrative order, but since we cannot fully accept the ruling, we plan to make a provisional disposition with the relevant court to nullify the administrative order.
After the Commission of Youth Protection released their statement regarding the ban on the album, SM Entertainment said,
Even before when the order had been put against Mirotic, we have clearly negotiated and tried to explain the real meaning and explanation of the lyrics, but even after this the results came out unexpectedly and we are bewildered as of this moment. [and] "Jumun-Mirotic"'s lyrical meaning is entirely different and miles away from the erotic or sexual that the association is making it to be.[fn 1]
TVXQ performed the clean version at the 23rd Annual Golden Disk Awards. The lyrics were changed from "I got you" to "I chose you" and "I got you under my skin" to "I got you under my sky."
In March 2009, the Seoul Administrative Court ruled in favor of SM Entertainment, stating:
We acknowledge that the lyrics concerned, including "You want me, you give yourself up to me, you’re crazy about me" and "I got you under my skin," may imply sexual acts, but they did not describe sexual acts or feelings excessively to the level that can stimulate youths' sexual desire... Even though we acknowledge that the young are more sensitive to sexual stimuli and less able to control sexual urges, the lyrics neither encouraged youth to have sex nor described women as object for sex.
On April 9, 2009, the Commission of Youth Protection announced they would appeal the ruling to a high court after having an emergency meeting and deeming that the phrase, "I got you under my skin", was inappropriate for minors.