TXT – 'THE DREAM CHAPTER: MAGIC'
1. New Rules
2. 9 and Three Quarters (Run Away) *Title
3. Roller Coaster
4. Poppin’ Star
5. Can't We Just Leave The Monster Alive?
6. Magic Island
8. Angel Or Devil
Big Hit Entertainment's second-ever boy group, TXT (Tomorrow X Together), has just released their newest LP, 'The Dream Chapter: MAGIC.' This one has 8 brand new tracks, just waiting for lucky fans to give it whirl. This album topped iTunes charts in 25 countries, so they must be doing something right.
"New Rules" starts out with a sexy whisper, and has one of the more original intros I've heard. Then it goes full club-banger, but this does nothing to ruin it. They keep it interesting with a loud, fierce chorus, and a sense of tension throughout. This is a fun track, and probably one of the best fronting tracks I've heard this year. "9 and Three Quarters (Run Away)" is a pretty decent pop tune. It's the title track, and it's got an earnest chorus, not to mention an edginess that is missing from pop, without resorting to rap. I also like the time changes here. That's the kind of thing that definitely gets my attention. Not only that, the Harry Potter reference (to platform 9 and 3/4) had me pricking up my ears.
Starting with lightning-fast synth-drums, "Roller Coaster" morphs a couple of different times. During the main verses its R&B, and it becomes more akin to disco when it hits the chorus. I like this one, how it goes through ups and downs like...well...a roller coaster. Light and poppy sum up "Poppin' Star." It's got a playful sound to it, and a tropical house beat to boot. Those don't make it bad, but it doesn't seem to have enough substance to it. Almost like it was put on here as filler. "Can't We Just Leave The Monster Alive?" Good news to Godzilla's ears. Does it even have ears? Not sure I wanna know. This track is suffused with electronic effects and the ubiquitous tropical house beat. I like it, though. It sounds refreshing and at times majestic.
"Magic Island" is the lone ballad on here. I like how they use the echoey effects and a simple overall melody. They do more with less here, and it's a welcome change. It's very soothing and relaxing, promising to sweep you away. If you close your eyes, it just might. "20cm" is a soft R&B cut. It's got the signature falsetto and the more emotional vocals. It's slower and hits all the right notes. It's not amazing (certainly not as experimental as "Run Away"), but it's not bad for all that. They get playful on "Angel or Devil." That's when we hear more of the rapping, not to mention sort of a reggae tune with some island rhythms. I like this one -- definitely catchy, and a bit different from any other song on this LP.
I like how this hangs together. Not only is the title track insanely catchy, but it also references just about every other track on the album, from "Magic Island" to "Poppin' Star." It's actually quite good. They didn't shy away from electronica here, either, but they use it sparingly. It doesn't drown them out like so many other recent releases. It's a really good album, and there's a reason it's so popular right now. And it's not just due to the boys' good looks.
The song "Run Away" is about getting away, finding that sacred space and letting the world take care of itself for a while. And that's what the boys do here.
They find solace in each other, as they get together, showcase their high-energy choreo, and make their way through an increasingly magical world. This is not just any MV, as the effects show you. It's a bit of a slow burn, (and for some reason, fire plays a prominent role in this MV), but the payoff is worth it.
About the midway point, they discover a trap door at the bottom of a swimming pool (Stranger Things, anyone?), and that leads them to a jungle, and at the end of that jungle, another glowing door. Any questions as to where it leads are moot since it starts burning. Yeonjin peels back the band-aid, and his cut is healed. Does any of this make sense? Not really.
A lot of things in this MV relate directly back to the lyrics in some way. And the song itself has quite a few Harry Potter references (the train, the stairway, spells), though it doesn't come right out and say it. The MV takes things a bit more literally, referencing the lyrics with a classroom, swimming, and a tunnel to a magical world.
It's quite good, though. This is quite arresting visually, whether they're dancing or sitting watching a magical door burn, it's definitely a feast for the eyes.
MV SCORE: 9.0
ALBUM SCORE: 8.0