Since their debut in 2019, Tomorrow X Together have consistently grown, both musically and as people, with each new release showing them a step further in their transformation from baby-faced teenagers to young men facing the trials of the world. So far, their special ability has been capturing the stories of their generation as they go on that journey and pouring relatable stories into their songs.
In the world of TXT, not everything has been plain sailing. There have been bouts of friend-rescue (‘Ghosting’), betrayal (‘Can’t You See Me?’) and earth-shattering heartbreak (all of their last EP, ‘minisode 2: Thursday’s Child’). Over the years, the group has flirted with the idea of not growing up in songs like ‘9 And Three Quarters (Run Away)’ and ‘Can’t We Just Leave The Monster Alive?’. On ‘The Name Chapter: Temptation’ they go all in on the idea.
Just as ‘minisode 2’ presented a seamless story of heartbreak, with each track representing a different stage of grief, TXT’s fifth EP has an easy-to-understand narrative arc across the entire tracklist. On the English track ‘Devil By The Window’ they delve into the temptation to jump into their very own Neverland and live in suspended youth. “I met the devil at the window / traded my life,” Soobin and Yeonjun purr as if doing an impression of this seductive threat. “Temptation touched my tongue / Spread the wings of desire.“
The whistling ‘Sugar Rush Ride’ describes the moment they fall – enjoying the dizzying ride before the regret and panic hit – while the Coi Leray collaboration ‘Happy Fools’ finds them settling into their new existence and living in the moment. “Won’t do my thing / I have no regrets / I’ll be the lazy Superman / So follow me,” Taehyun and Hueningkai sing. This invitation turns them into the Peter Pan of their fans’ Lost Boys, inviting us on a happy adventure.
As with all dreams, however, you must wake up at some point. The bubble bursts on ‘Tinnitus (Wanna Be A Rock)’, which describes the ear-splitting disorientation of the morning after a big party. Acceptance of adulthood finally comes in ‘Farewell, Neverland’. “The irresponsible dream paradise / I want to say goodbye,” Beomgyu sighs and prepares to go back to reality.
TXT briefly abandons growing up in ‘The Name Chapter: Temptation’, but that doesn’t mean they stop maturing musically. Instead, they move forward by leaps and bounds on this EP, shrugging off the pop-punk melodrama of ‘minisode 2’ in favor of adventurous new sonic palettes while adding to their list of creative credits (all five members contributed to the lyric writing of this EP, while Yeonjun wrote the top line for ‘Happy Fools’). ‘Tinnitus (Wanna Be A Rock)’ finds them playing with Afropop for the first time, using the dubbing rhythms to mimic the echo and hiss of actual tinnitus.
Where English-language K-pop songs often seem to default to bright, bubbly radio anthems, ‘Devil By The Window’ offers something far more interesting. At first, its pounding bass and muted vocal delivery feel akin to Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’, but TXT give it their own twist with a dreamy, gliding pre-chorus and outro that feels like you’re flying through the sky with them. ‘Sugar Rush Ride’ feels less inventive – a good song but apart from its whistling motif, more familiar than the rest of the tracklist.
The road from adolescence to adulthood and beyond may not be smooth or always predictable, but as they continue to grow as artists, TXT gives us one thing to count on in this life: they will be by our side and provide the soundtrack to our pain , joy, confusion and hope.
- Release date: January 27
- Record label: Big hit music