This TXT album tells their coming of age story in the midst of a pandemic
There have been a million and one ways to describe the feeling of working towards an uncertain future. We’ve all heard of the term languishing, a word coined by The New York Times to describe the days that muddle together. But Tomorrow X Together’s (or TXT for short) new album entitled The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE offers a newfound perspective of what’s it like drifting through and facing the reality of a global pandemic.
In an interview with Dazed Digital, Soobin, their leader, explains that the record’s story is about a world under attack by the pandemic and other things. This then puts the album’s theme into perspective. All the qualities of ice become an overarching metaphor for what life has become: frozen, and what love (in all forms) can do: melt it.
This isn’t the first time Soobin, Yeonjun, Beomgyu, Taehyun and Huening Kai dipped into singing about the things COVID-19 has stolen from the youth. Their previous mini-album called minisode 1: Blue Hour had a track called We Lost The Summer, which is a litany of things lost once lockdown measures were in place. In this TXT album, however, the matter is approached with a cynicism that comes with growing up while being forced into stagnation.
But in the midst of a future unknown and a lonely coming-of-age, love becomes a beacon of hope. The shining optimism reflects in Magic, an upbeat, retro disco-pop track sung in English. “I say everybody clap your hands! If you’ve got a broken heart just take a chance!”
Yet the optimism and cynicism clash in the title track, a pop-rock ballad titled 0x1=Lovesong (I Know I Love You) featuring Seori. The guitar chords, palpable drums and choir-like backing vocals make it anthemic, a coming-of-age theme song about growing pains and love. Each line is sung with anguish and a bit of desperation, an illustration of hopeless romantics who find love even in the worst things. And these might be the same people grappling at strings to hold onto the only good thing they have left—an experience we might be all too familiar with.
TXT's penchant for highly addictive and upbeat pop songs laced with hard-hitting and introspective lyrics is also evident in The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE. This reflects in Ice Cream, which might sound like a cheeky, summer theme song. But lyrically, they bask in their misery and wish that everyone else shares the burden of their happiness melting away. No Rules may share the same energetic pop sound, yet they sing about longing for a world with no immediate limitations.
This TXT album is an acknowledgment of the trials of growing up when the world is at a standstill. The anger and confusion meet at the last track with Frost. The guitar riffs and hyperpop beats leading the track create a perfect accompaniment to the narration of descending into chaos. It’s invoking an urge to come out kicking and screaming, a welcome form of catharsis in this era where we’re mostly frustrated that things are not going as planned.
Overall, this is an album best to turn to when our emotions turn turbulent. It’s best revisited and listened to when we want to throw ourselves into a headspace that allows us just to feel. Through their music, TXT lets us embrace our own chaos together hence creating a safe space, a comfort for the youth stuck at home.
The diverse genres and vast topics they touched on in a matter of eight tracks show off the group’s colors and musicality, therefore making this TXT album their best release so far. With the genre-bending and relatability of The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE, the K-pop group is carving out a path with their own unique sound that will go down in history.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver