Album Review: The Dream Chapter: Magic by Tomorrow X Together (TXT)

Emily Duong

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K-Pop is a music genre that originated in South Korea. It combines EDM, hip-hop, rock, and R&B to create a genre that has many, many layers. Today, groups like BTS, BlackPink, Twice, EXO, and many more are dominating the world. Rookie groups, or new groups, like Itzy, Everglow, TXT, etc, are just starting out, but have already got a reputation. On October 21, 2019, TXT released a new album, The Dream Chapter: Magic.

Tomorrow X Together, read as “tomorrow by together”, abbreviated as TXT, are a five-member group formed under BigHit Entertainment. Other artists under this agency include BTS and Lee Hyun. According to BigHit, they are “a bright and youthful boyband aiming to become the next global breakthrough artist.” They have five members: Hueningkai, Taehyun, Beomgyu, Soobin, and Yeonjun.

The Dream Chapter: Magic is the first full-length album, and their second release after The Dream Chapter: Star in March. This album “tells the story of ‘magical adventures’ that boys encounter together with their friends who are different, yet alike. Through this adventure, the boys share their transformation, confusion and exploding emotions that arise during their transition to adolescence.” This album has eight tracks. Let’s look through each one!

The first song, “New Rules,” is about rebelling against the norms of the world, with its slight rock-like tones and almost all-English chorus. “Even though it’s clear that I’ll be punished / I want something more thrilling, bring it to me / If they tell me to not go over, I want it / If they tell me not to do it, I do it / Stupid but I / Want to be a punk” (translation, bold=English). The world is just repeating everything, every day, and they want something different than normality. This song was one of the three that were performed during their comeback show. “I break my transparent shackles / And make new rules / Trouble, trouble let me go / I’m troublemaker let me go.”

Next is the lead single, “9와 4분의 3 승강장에서 너를 기다려 (Run Away).” The song is about getting away from reality, going to your own magical place where you can shake off your troubles. “When we go past this tunnel / When we open our eyes / Our dreams become reality” (translation). The song has pop and rock vibes mixed with magical effects and sounds, like when they sing “Bibbidi bobbidi the train is departing / Bibbidi bobbidi our magic island” like in Cinderella. Even the music video is magical. After all, the literal title is “9 and ¾” from Harry Potter. This song was one of the three that were performed during their comeback show. “On that dark night at the bottom of the stairs / The magic began the moment I saw you / Let’s make a magic spell with your tears / So there will be no more tears.”

Song number three, “간지러워 (Roller Coaster),” is literally a roller coaster, with its changing, tumbling beat and the lyrics about the slope, climb, and plunge. “Hold my hand, try opening your eyes / My heart floats around my body (so itchy) / Hold my hand, we gon fall right now / Birds sing in my head, it’s itchy” (translation). It’s a metaphor for a relationship, with the buildup before they go down deep. “My body reclines, I can see the sky / Across the cloud, I see the cliff / I clench my fists, my lips dry and / The me that’s falling.”

Next up, we have “Poppin’ Star,” and it’s about wanting more of a good thing. “It’s peculiar like the flow of electricity / I need a popping that’s more more more strong / This isn’t enough, I want something stronger / Full of lemon, lime orange, chew yeh” (translation). It has a poppy, bouncing beat and summery vibes. “Ah, could this perhaps be / Fireworks that I feel when I bite a whole mouthful of stardust / This tingling feeling that has filled my mouth is again / Melting me with its sweetness.”

The fifth song is “그냥 괴물을 살려두면 안 되는 걸까,” or “Can’t We Just Leave The Monster Alive?” It’s about changing your role in life and doing something different. “Even if I throw away all the weapons / And give up on stats (Eh) / Can’t we just leave the monster alive? (Eh) / You become the hero and / Now I’ll be the monster (Eh) / So we become each other after breaking away from boring roles” (translation). In the song, they use an analogy of heroes and a monster. The heroes want to lay down their weapons and not fight, and leave the monster alive. “Alright / If I could linger always in this time and space / I’d go on a holiday in this dungeon here / Now throw away all the weapons and / To the festival, just jump // It will be alright, alright, alright.”

Now we have “Magic Island,” one of the mellower songs. It’s reminiscent and sad, remembering they’re time with someone in a special place where they made promises to one another. “I remember the song of your star and mine / In that, we were stars / That melody that shone as a dream / Please don’t forget it always // This place is our start line / Our start line / That’s day starlight that we saw together / Can’t forget that night / Can’t forget this place” (translation). The memory is something the boy want to cherish and remember forever, and they hope the other will remember, too. “Start line (I miss you, I miss you; Mm-mm) / Your and my island (I miss you, I miss you; Mm-mm) / Begin the magic right now (I miss you, I miss you; Mm-mm) / Can’t forget the name / So that the magic won’t be undone.”

Second to last song, “20cm.” Another mellower song, it’s about wanting to be closer to someone you’ve known all your life. “Soundlessly, every night (Ayy) / My height and my feelings (Ayy) towards you that have grown (Eh) / Must have grown in sync with each other / (My heart that’s looking at you) / My heart is very different from before (Ayy) / My heart that has grown (Ayy) / Though I catch up, it keeps (Ayy) / Jumping ahead on its own (One handspan away) / You don’t know (We’re 20cm apart)” (translation). They were childhood friends, then they drifted apart, and when they were back together, the boy’s feelings have grown. “The books in the uppermost shelves of library / I’ll take them out for you / When you need a Tteokbokki member / When you need someone to take your side no matter what / If you just lift your head, at that place / I will always be there.” (“Tteokbokki’’=Korean spicy rice cakes)

The final song is “Angel or Devil,” and it’s all about clashing sides. The boy’s conflicted: should he get the girl as an angel, a good boy, prim and proper, or as a devil, a rebel and a bad boy. “The angel says again ‘first of all slow down / What will you do if you lose it all forever?’ / Gradually from noona + dongsaeng relationship / Nowadays, before dating everyone gets close / Endless fight, devil angel / This repeating march that has no answer / Tell me how can I make it stop / Round and round and round and round and round and round” (translation) (“noona”= honorific used when a younger male addresses an older female; “dongsaeng”=used when the older person is addressing the younger person). Fun fact: the song nods at the 2014 song “Boy in Luv” by BTS with the line “ ‘Why are you shaking my heart?’ ”, and doing the dance as the line’s being sung. They also nod at their song “Cat & Dog” from their previous album with the line ”I don’t want to be apart from you, can I be your pet?” This song was one of the three that were performed during their comeback show. “Please tell me what should I choose / Angel and devil, out of the two / This fight in my head / Just you, you be the umpire please / (Ooh, baby) I want to reach inside your heart, inside your heart / (Ooh, baby) Please tell me, what should I choose?

Music is a language in itself, no matter the actual language it’s in. From the melodies to the lyrics, every song has a meaning to it. Some days we just want to hear something familiar, but other times we want something new. Maybe Keith Richards said it best: “Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.”

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