Ahh, welcome back to the second installment of the Tomorrow X Together review series! In this blog, I’ll be reviewing four songs from their second studio album The Chaos Chapter: Freeze. I’m working my way back in their discography, so in the next post about them, I’ll discuss the other four songs, then we’ll move on to min1sode: Blue Hour. Freeze was their most recent release when I discovered the group, so I hold it near and dear to my heart—-and that means you have to like it too! If you want to listen to the album yourself, you can do so here: https://open.spotify.com/album/5Zdr9vactwnJH4Vpe9Mid9?si=LsDSOcS_Rd6GWvHBgbvRmQ
…take a few minutes to stream the “Frost” Music Video that dropped Wednesday…
Just an idea.
Before We Get Into It Because this is a blog mostly viewed by my peers, I make the choice to use the simple English translations from the reliable sources available to me and discuss those versions of the writing. They are not perfect reflections of the original writing, and unfortunately, they cannot capture the nuance of the writers’ words. If you enjoy music in languages that you yourself are not fluent in, I strongly encourage you to seek commentary on your favorite tracks from native speakers!! I find it really fun/interesting to research elements of music that cannot be conveyed through translation software, regardless of how advanced it might be, and it can be super helpful in getting you the full picture of what the artist(s) intended to capture and/or accomplish with their work.
In this track, the writers tell the story of a person developing intense romantic feelings for a person, despite having sworn off love. It is a catchy pop ballad infused with R&B that is representative of the conflicting feelings of wanting to be in a relationship but being petrified by the consequences of such vulnerability. Of course, there is the initial irony of a narrator describing how uninterested the are in romantic activities and emotions in a poetic love song; the mere existence of the song is a testament to the power of the narrator’s feelings, and makes the experience that much more intense for listeners. There are many references to romantic tropes shown in contemporary media, such as buying a person chocolates and watching Rom-Com films. These ideas are starkly contrasted with metaphor of the speaker’s heart both burning like and being burnt by a fire: “My heart is already chasing after you / And burning with small embers…/ As my entire heart burns / I’m afraid that only black ashes will remain…” Despite being a story of realizing that one has begun to fall in love, the tone is generally pessimistic, and this helps the audience to feel the turmoil of the speaker and sympathize with their fear of opening up to a person, only for them to end up a stranger again. “Anti-Romantic” has a compelling message, and the beautiful writing amplifies that, making it one of the group’s most popular songs.
0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) ft. Seori
“0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)” is the title track of Freeze, and it is the predecessor to the “emocore” version that was released in the repackaged version of the album. The name of the song is a call toward the lyrics “In this world of zero / I know you’re my one and only” that refer to the subject of the song being the speaker’s only salvation from a harsh world. It is about choosing to believe in love despite the depravity of the world around the speaker, and it is an incredibly emotional piece. Repeating the lines: “Say you love me, say you love me / Till the end of the world (I love you) / All or nothing, I want all of you / I know I love you (You)” speaks to the narrator’s desperation to sacrifice themselves to this relationship. The manner in which the speaker tells about their experience is abrasive and intense, reflecting how consuming their emotions are. Many lines reference ice and being frozen, all of which tie back into the “Freeze” concept. On a less academic note, this song severely hurt my feelings. “I’m full of problems, love sick / No way to go / I was fine to die / I’m a loser in this game / The only (one) rule of this world / Save me / Take my hand / Please use me like a drug (I know I love you)” had me distraught on the bathroom floor, please—-the sensations described are so raw and painful and so accurate to the pains of a longing heart. I personally think it was a perfect choice for a title track; it set the tone for the release of the full album, and it showed Tomorrow X Together’s versatility when it comes to genre and subject matter. It is 100% near the top of the list of my favorite songs from this album!
Magic, my beloved! As one can tell from even the first few seconds, it is more bright and cheerful than the previous tracks, which makes for a refreshing listening experience. Like all the songs on the album, there are allusions to the Freeze concept with lines such as “Stuck in one place so cold / Feeling like my heart just froze”. The band themselves have interpreted the song and its accompanying music video as amplifying the message that “human emotions are the real magic rather than a magical future,” and during an interview with Good Morning America, member Yeonjun said, “‘Magic’ is about your magical ability to melt me.” I really appreciate how the writers use repetition without making the song feel monotonous. The bridge of “Everybody clap your hands / If you’ve got a broken heart just take a chance (Chance) / I say everybody clap your hands” adds a unique element to the song of the speaker being so enthralled in this connection that they feel compelled to share it with the rest of the world so they can feel the same joy. It’s just a fun, catchy, disco-pop song with the uplifting message that a person can find genuine happiness in their romantic relationships, which, as implied in “Anti-Romantic”, is a reality that was once perceived as being unfeasible. I tend to gravitate to more melancholy music, but this song reeled me in the moment I pressed play, and I’ve been addicted ever since.
I have to give “Ice Cream” the title of most underrated song from this album, and maybe even from Tomorrow X Together’s entire discography. It just screams dystopia, from the upbeat tone veiling the dark lyrics to the awareness of inescapable surroundings that the speaker can (seemingly) do nothing to combat. In the song, ice cream is a metaphor for happiness, and knowing the meaning behind the song gives it an eerie feel when listening to what, on the surface, sounds like another summer bop from the group. The speaker makes a wish that everyone in the world will feel the same negative emotions that they do, and now they all are screaming desperately for an ounce of hope and joy. Many people make the assumption that all of the group’s songs are upbeat with messages of pleasantries and gladness because they do not take the time to research translations of the lyrics, and they dismiss “Ice Cream” as being a filler track; it pays homage to the human frustration of not wanting to be positive all the time, and the idea that bad times can simply be bad without covering them in a layer of inauthentic, sugary meaning. Being a bit spiteful and wishing for others to feel the same negative emotions, is an incredibly human thing to feel, and not many people are willing to acknowledge that piece of themselves, especially popular artists.