It’s pretty clear TXT is blossoming as one of the leaders of K-pop’s fourth generation. And while they’re doing really well for themselves now, I predict that success and popularity is going to rise exponentially over the next few years. But although I definitely see and understand the hype, I must admit I don’t personally feel it myself. I think it’s because their debut seemed very young to me, and I haven’t really clicked with many of their singles except for “Run Away” – which I really just listened to a bunch rather than watching any videos or using it as an opportunity to get to know TXT. So I’m not super invested in them at this point, but I have a lot of students who love them and some friends who do too. Because of this, I always lowkey hope that each comeback is the one that will make me more interested.
Truthfully, I don’t know much about TXT besides the basics. I don’t even recognize most of the members now that they all changed their hair colors. However, I know enough to say with confidence that their music is incredibly well-produced. Their melodies are always really memorable, and the song arrangements highlight their vocals beautifully. Subjectively, their music usually isn’t my style (at least, up until now). But objectively, I always say that their songs are really well-made and well-crafted. So no matter what I end up personally feeling about TXT’s singles, I truly think they’re high quality – and “0X1 = Love Song” is no exception.
TXT is currently a group that focuses on a youthful sound and appeals to a younger demographic. Normally, I don’t feel all that connected to groups like this since I just turned 31 and all (sigh). I’ve had similar feelings with NCT Dream for years. But something about “0X1 = Love Song” really speaks to me, and I think it’s the distinct pop rock sound. I actually spent most of my middle school and high school years listening to pop rock, so I found this much easier to relate to than any of TXT’s previous music. When I listen to it, part of me immediately recalls being a teenager. I’m actually surprised how it manages to evoke all those angsty feelings and memories that I’d largely forgotten. It’s probably because of TXT’s emotional and earnest vocals, which are boosted by the sweet voice of featuring artist Seori in the chorus.
It’s nice to hear TXT deviate from their usual clean and classic pop sound and go a little edgier, and I like how that’s reflected in the visual aspects of the comeback as well. Those singing and dancing scenes in the music video really make them look like they’re a band practicing in their garage. (Those parts in particular made me realize that if I were a teenager, my attitude towards them would be TOTALLY different.) While the music video does show TXT’s charming and fun-loving side per usual, there’s a more serious undertone. Though the story only hinted at some sadder plot points – like Yeonjun trying to play video games while his parents argue in the background – I truly got the sense that the members’ characters were finding comfort in each other through their friendship. Though I have to admit, I did burst out laughing at the part where one of them accidentally set their car on fire and they all were basically like, “Oh well LOL.”
And of course, my favorite part of the comeback is the performance. I’ve always thought that TXT were exemplary dancers with complex choreographies; like many fourth generation K-pop groups, they often concentrate on intricate formations and complete synchronization. And I’m heavily dance-biased, so I always enjoy performances like that. But this time, I also like how the movements for this dance focus more on expressing the emotions of the song. The grand sweeping motions definitely emphasize the dramatic qualities of the music – in a good way! It’s still pretty polished because it’s K-pop, but I like how it’s just a little more raw and honest than usual.
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
“0X1 = Love Song” is yet another strong addition to TXT’s already impressive discography. Though I’m slightly side-eyeing HYBE (or I guess Big Hit) for having their two groups drop new music so close together, I’m glad to see that TXT is doing well and earning music show wins. I still think “Run Away” is probably my favorite of their singles so far, but “0X1 = Love Song” definitely takes second place. Unfortunately for me, it’s not enough to make me want to become more invested in TXT at this point. I like it and it’s nice to listen to, but it doesn’t inspire me to spend a lot of time watching their videos or consuming their content. That being said, I listened to their new album while I was writing this and I really liked all of the songs on it – which is very rare for me. So I’ll keep my casual listener status for now, and I’ll see how I feel when the next comeback rolls around. But based on this latest release, things are looking positive.
(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)
SOURCES: Featured image and music video belong to Big Hit Music. Music video distributed by HYBE.