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The Relentless “Magic” and Optimism of TOMORROW X TOGETHER

Rising K-pop group TXT discusses their new album The Chaos Chapter: Freeze, singing in English, and more in an exclusive video interview

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    Just two years into their career as TOMORROW X TOGETHER, Soobin, Yeonjun, Beomgyu, Taehyun, and Hueningkai have stacked up an impressive collective resume. A small sampling of the highlights: They were named Rookies of the Year at the 2019 Melon Music Awards and Asia Artist Awards; they were the first K-pop group to cover Teen Vogue; and as of press time, they’re enjoying life in the No. 5 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

    When asked what they would tell their debut selves if they could, Taehyun smiles. “Just enjoy,” he tells Consequence softly over Zoom.

    The quintet released their second full-length Korean album, The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE, on May 31st, following the euphoric quarantine-themed minisode1 : Blue Hour EP in 2020. TOMORROW X TOGETHER (often shortened to TXT) have steadily begun to earn themselves a no-skips reputation in their two short years, even as their bright, sunshine brand has now descended just slightly towards dusk with this recent effort, incorporating more rock-heavy production and techno-inspired beats.

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    This project also includes more new territory for TXT: The second single off the album, “Magic”, is the group’s first single entirely in English. It’s effervescent and certainly bears a distinctly TXT fingerprint, but more so feels referential towards boy bands of old. The disco-pop track is able to find its footing in multiple decades with breathy falsettos, flirtatious lyrics, and a bridge that wouldn’t feel out of place on an S Club 7 track.

    The accompanying space-age music video, which dropped June 11th, quite literally shoots the boys into the stratosphere. “It’s our first English song, so we had a lot of fun with it,” Yeonjun says. “Especially while doing the choreography.”

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    In conversation, all five members are thoughtful and welcoming (even from 6,000 miles away!), while also brimming with energy. They seem perpetually curious about music, writing, and the process of creating; Hueningkai, just eighteen years old, secured his first producing credit with “Dear Sputnik”, a yearning track for which Taehyun wrote the melodies. “I’ve so far only made lyrical contributions, so I’d like to take on songwriting as well,” says Soobin, the group’s amiable leader.

    Elsewhere on The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE, the members go from dipping their toes into the pool of angst to diving into the icy waters headfirst — “Frost” and lead track “0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) feat. Seori” (which includes writing contributions from Mod Sun and RM of BTS) are heavier and edgier. Whereas minisode1 : Blue Hour offered cotton candy-toned escapism, The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE opts for catharsis. Beomgyu mentions his favorite track off the album, the sweetly sad “Anti-Romantic”, which is currently having a moment of its own on TikTok — over 28,000 videos on the platform have used the song since its release.

    There is a sense of freedom surrounding TXT that’s not quite common among emerging artists, or among groups of young men in general. Many K-pop acts tend to burst out of the gate with concepts centered around brash edginess, and while TXT have certainly never been afraid of taking risks with genre and tone, their path has never been centered around aggression.

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    Rather, often sporting crop tops and always encouraging one another on their individual musical journeys, the members of TXT seem unconcerned with norms that may have preceded them. They’re unrestrained by the confines of traditional masculinity, leading with kindness, and always willing to try something new.

    To commemorate their two-year anniversary as a group in March 2021, the members of TXT released a spectacular cover of Marteen’s “Sriracha”, including one golden minute of choreography. The choice is a sentimental one: This is the song the boys performed at their final showcase as trainees before debuting as an official group with Big Hit Entertainment (now HYBE).

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    Towards the end of our conversation, we embark on a bit of a tangent as I mention how much I love the cover, showing off the sriracha bottle earrings I wore for the occasion, and watch as the members get wide-eyed and break out into excited smiles one by one. It’s almost as if they can’t believe someone on the other side of the world would be excited about this. Taehyun’s words linger after the call ends: just enjoy.

    Watch our interview with TOMORROW X TOGETHER above.

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