My knowledge of TXT hasn’t really changed much since their last comeback in June – I’m still at the stage of just knowing their hit songs and their names. (And I apparently still can’t fully recognize them, because I recently realized I’ve been mixing up Taehyun and Beomgyu this ENTIRE time and I’m super embarrassed about it.) I think they’re very talented, and I’ve said that from their debut; it’s just that most of the singles they’ve released so far aren’t really my vibe. But I have to say, I’m kind of living for this emo phase their music is currently going through. This is first time I’ve really felt connected to one of their songs, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
Please watch the music video first if you want to avoid spoilers 🙂
Much like TXT’s other recent release “0X1=Love Song,” “LO$ER=LO♡ER” is very similar to the Western pop rock and pop punk music that was so popular in the early and mid-2000s. Actually, it’s kind of wild how close it sounds to some of my favorite songs from my high school days. I was super angsty when I was a teenager – perhaps I still am – and I think “LO$ER=LO♡ER” does a great job of embodying and expressing all those moody feelings. That energy is built right into the foundation of the arrangement, with its melancholic electric guitar and classic rock beat. But a lot of it also comes from TXT themselves as they sing their hearts out – they’re truly pouring their emotions into their vocals, and that really resonates with me.
While I always say lyrics don’t make or break my feelings about a song, I’ll admit that the ones for “LO$ER=LO♡ER” definitely get to me. It’s about someone who will put everything on the line for the person they love, even if everyone else sees them as a loser. It’s quite a grandiose and dramatic statement, and the singer sounds very young and like they’re still figuring out how the world works. (Which makes sense, because TXT is a group of young adults.) But as someone who was a “loser” at that age – or at the very least, an unpopular kid – I can truly relate. When I listen to LO$ER=LO♡ER,” it takes me right back to being a teenager and blasting pop punk in my bedroom whenever I was in my feelings. It’s so evocative of that time that I almost go right back into that mindset of thinking that everything and everyone were out to get me.
The music video and its story do an excellent job of amplifying all of those intense emotions, giving each member his own unique storyline. Yeonjun recklessly steals a bag of cash while he’s at the ATM. Soobin gets chased out of a restaurant for goofing around with his date. Taehyun falls and hurts his arm while skateboarding. HueningKai picks a fight with his boss when he sees his coworker getting mistreated. And Beomgyu is an aspiring rockstar who gets yelled at by his father in the middle of a live stream. Some of these situations are a little more serious than others, but you can still get a clear sense of each character’s general dissatisfaction with the world and society around him. There’s a strong theme of rebellious youth, which is emphasized in the end when they all seem to drive off a cliff together Thelma and Louise style. I imagine it’s more of a metaphorical ending, but it really imparts that feeling of “us vs. everyone else.”
Per usual, the choreography stands out to me the most. It’s not the first K-pop dance to incorporate mic stands into the staging, but I think it creates a very nice effect – and it helps TXT deliver a strong emotional performance with pretty natural acting. From what I remember of their other comebacks, they usually have super detailed and technically demanding choreographies.. And while they’ve always excelled at dancing, I like how this particular performance leans more into the mood of the song and isn’t quite as sharp and polished. It’s obviously still a carefully crafted stage, but I think focusing on the song’s vibe makes TXT’s movements feel more genuine and spur of the moment.
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.)
At last, I’ve found a TXT song that’s really captured my attention! I still think their other releases are great, but “LO$ER=LO♡ER” is the first one that’s made me want to spend time on many multiple listens and views. Truthfully, I’m still a little on the fence about getting into TXT themselves since they’re so much younger than I am. While I find “LO$ER=LO♡ER” super relatable, it speaks to my past and not my present. (Plus my teenage years were pretty sucky compared to my life as an adult so far, so it’s not a time I like to think about for too long.) That being said, I do think “LO$ER=LO♡ER” has helped me understand TXT a little more both as people and as singers. So I’m not enough of a fan to start consuming a ton of their content, but “LO$ER=LO♡ER” has definitely moved me from casual listener to casual follower.
(“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.