Only a few short months after TXT — also called TOMORROW X TOGETHER — debuted in 2019, the world was gripped by the COVID pandemic. People shuttered themselves in, and life as we knew it came to a standstill. The pause should have hampered the momentum of this ambitious young act — instead, they made the most of their situation and became the poster children for a generation.
In the breakneck pace of K-pop, TXT’s rise has been nothing short of marvellous. Within 24 hours of the release of their debut EP, The Dream Chapter: Star, the music video for the title track “Crown” clocked in at 14.5 million views, becoming the most viewed K-pop debut music video for a boy group within a day. Entering the Billboard 200 at No. 140, they became the highest-ranking male K-pop debut album in the chart history, and the second-fastest act to do so. A year later, their third EP Minisode1: Blue Hour took them to No. 25 on the Billboard 200, becoming their highest-ranking album to date.
Coming off of a year during which the world found itself pausing, the group’s latest album, The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE, seems all the more poignant and relatable. On it, the five members of TXT are young men literally freezing due to the onslaught of the world, only finding hope and revival in companionship and love, as is shown on the title track “0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)”, on which they team up with Seori.
“I don’t think there is right or wrong when it comes to music, but when I first heard the [title track] by Seori, I immediately shouted in my head: ‘This is right!’,” said Yeonjun of their collaboration in a press conference for the release of the album.
“Seori interpreted the song in a way we hadn’t expected, and it went well with our voices too, so it was such a surprise,” added Taehyun.
The group also touched on RM — of label mates BTS — contributing to the title track of the album. “Our producer told us that he had been working on the lyrics for three weeks and was stuck, because he couldn’t bring out the [emotion] that he liked. So, he asked RM to write the lyrics, who gladly agreed to help us,” said leader Soobin.
When he heard that RM had participated in writing the lyrics, Huening Kai couldn’t contain himself: “When I heard that RM had participated in writing the lyrics, I ran across the office and thanked him!”
Aside from sporting a glittering array of contributors — from Mod Sun to No Love For The Middle Child, to Ashnikko — one can also spot the members’ names on the credits for The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE.
Soobin participated in writing “Ice Cream”, while Yeonjun, Taehyun, and Beomgyu share writing credit for “What If I Had Been That PUMA”. The three joined Huening Kai for writing “No Rules”. Taehyun and Huening Kai also appear as writers for “Dear Sputnik”, with the latter marking his first production credit for the track. Lastly, Yeonjun also participated in writing “Frost.”
The standout track on the album, however, is “Magic”, their first English-language track. The group termed it a gift to their fans all over the world.
“Since it’s our first English song, I didn’t want to sound awkward, so I worked on my pronunciation a lot,” added Beomgyu. “We practiced a lot to bring out the groove, the details, and the complete ‘magic’ of the track.”
The group also touched on their accomplishments within the short time they have been active, particularly their success on international charts. Despite the fever-pitch of success that has followed their releases, the most important thing to the group is to be able to perform, ‘regardless of the results.’
“When we just debuted, we were just happy to sing as TXT,” said Taehyun. “But now we are at a stage where we think more about ourselves and about our music. We talk amongst ourselves not only about our music but also our outfits and concepts and everything else.”
The cheeky Yeonjun, however, was a little more ambitious in putting it: “When people think of the fourth generation K-pop idols, we want to be the first group that comes to their minds. We want to be called the ‘Fourth-Generation ‘It’ Boys.’”
“Our music has stories that only TXT can tell.” added Huening Kai. “That’s why listeners say they relate to our stories. Maybe that’s because we interpret the stories of teenagers in our own way. So going by that, I want to be called a teen that best represents teenagers all around the world.”