It’s been a big year for K-poppers TXT (Tomorrow X Together). They dropped their EP The Dream Chapter: Star in March, landing the top spot on Billboard’s Emerging Artists charts, and have quickly followed up with their eight-track debut album The Dream Chapter: Magic.
The five-piece come out all guns blazing with jungle-rhythm opener New Rules, flowing effortlessly between sparse, reverb-y pre-choruses, and fun, Afro-Cuban gang chants for one of the smoothest K-pop tracks of the year.
It’s followed by 9 and Three Quarters (Run Away) which is even better, with undulating harp patterns under rolling drums eventually giving way to the super catchy, synth-y chorus, “Please be my eternity, please call my name/Run away, run away, run away with me/At the world’s end forever together/Run away, give me an answer.”
The whistled intro and grainy, reflective keyboard chords make Magic Island another highlight, showing a much more subdued side to the group. The wistful refrain, “Will it eventually come to nothing?/Will dreams become memories?” makes this their most heartfelt performance to date.
Although closers 20cm and Angel Or Devil don’t quite have the same impact, they still show off the individual members’ vocal ranges well, while maintaining the group’s joyful vibe – which remains largely unwavering throughout the record. Even the incessant dub groove of Poppin’ Star is undeniably memorable, and impossible to shake off.
It’s easy to see why TXT are among the most exciting newcomers of 2019, and if this debut is anything to go by, they could be just as magical as BTS.