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Tomorrow x Together
The Chaos Chapter: Freeze Verónica A. Bastardo , June 17th, 2021 08:00

Emo pop-rock nostalgia finds its place in the middle of summer with Tomorrow x Together’s latest album

If there’s one constant in this world it’s the growing pains of adolescence. In between our childhood and our adult days, there’s a whole chapter of our life flooded by confusion. Tomorrow X Together (TXT) has been telling this story through fairytale narratives which go from a boy with horns that battles with self-acceptance in The Dream Chapter: Star to a whole magic world, up in flames because of feelings of alienation in The Dream Chapter: Eternity.

Last time we saw them in Minisode 1: Blue Hour, they were holding onto this dream world where everything was good (‘Blue Hour’), but slowly the reality got to them (‘We Lost the Summer’). Now, in The Chaos Chapter: Freeze they are no longer boys but young adults facing the uncertainty of young love and the pain of being forced to leave their magical place to face real life. If that rings a bell, blame it on life itself.

Fear is normal when facing new situations – in this case, deep romantic love. ‘Anti-romantic’ draws a contrast between storyline and interpretation. We have a minimal bass line from pizzicato cellos, some shining water drop sounds and breathy murmured voices… with all that you would expect someone confessing their secret young love. And perhaps this part is true, but it isn’t looking like a happy ending but rather an “it will end before it starts” apology letter.

Because it’s so typical during our youth not to stick with one decision, their title track ‘0x1=LOVESONG’ (ft. Seori) is full of yearning; a declaration of an unrequited love in which raspy shouted verses capture that desperation. While the music world goes for a party dance pop vibe for the summer, TXT decides to go full emo pop-rock trap here. It feels like a full coming-of-age story, where the reverb-heavy drums and faint echoes behind the “say you love me, ‘till the end of the world” are the soundtrack to a group of teens running down the street, playing with fireworks, and Seori’s bright voice is the gold in the golden hour.

This album is a demonstration of how BigHit Music’s in-house producers and TXT members' composing skills blend smoothly to experiment with sound in clever but relatable narratives. It could be the denial of growing up and having adult responsibilities through dazzling electro pop-funk in ‘No Rules’ – a wink to their earlier song ‘New Rules’ showcasing their road to adulthood – or a wild journey across EDM country, gothic metal, and pop-punk in ‘Dear Sputnik’ an anthem type of song about a supportive love that takes them beyond the stars. It’s like Avicii, Evanescence, and Simple Plan were all having a meeting here.

From alt-pop tracks like ‘Can’t You see Me?’ to new wave in ‘Run Away’, the quintet has been having fun by navigating through different music genres since 2019. Without sticking to just one sound and being truthful to their own story, they represent the current generation of young people that deals with the inner battle of growing up and the anxiety that comes with it – like the outro to Freeze, ‘Frost’, a hyperpop track full of text painting details like crazy laughs, distorted voices, and loud metal clangs representing an overwhelmed mind.

The Chaos Chapter: Freeze is a surreal album in which a mix of sounds, music genres, and metaphorical lyrics seem out of shape – until you step to the right distance to appreciate the whole painting. TXT are frozen in time, afraid of going forward and growing up, but the ice is slowly melting with the arrival of new feelings and more challenges that need to be faced.