TXT are one of my absolute favourite rookie groups and so far have amassed a discography that easily set them apart form their star studded seniors. They burst out of the gate with the incredible Crown and followed that up with one of my favourite kpop songs, the breathtaking Run Away. This raised my expectations for new single Can’t You See Me to near astronomical levels. I knew that almost no song would be able to match those expectations, but even with those standards Can’t You See Me? (세계가 불타버린 밤, 우린…) falls a bit short. But why can’t I stop listening to it?
2020 feels like the year where most of my favourite groups keep returning with underwhelming material. Both Gfriend, BTS and Oh My Girl returned with singles that were much weaker than previous works, and the same can be said for TXT. On first listen, Can’t You See Me? came off as a big let down. The verses were tight, but felt way a little too throwaway for my liking, sticking to trendy pop-trap soundscape that’s more than past its point of expiration. The Billie Eilish influenced segments were interesting but felt more gimmicky than essential. The same could be said for the hook, which harnessed the angsty rock guitar that made Run Away so stunning to less than impressive results. Most of that was due to incredibly annoying ticking sound that felt much more prominent than it had any right to be. The final product felt like it wanted to be both Crown and Run Away but whilst each of those tracks nailed their specific moods, Can’t You See Me? felt like a jack of all trades master of none.
The thing is though, a week on from the tracks release I just can’t stop listening to it. This is one of the bonuses of reviewing a song a while after its release, It prevents me from instantly jumping to conclusions. And while Can’t You See Me? is no where near as good as its predecessors, there are still many things that I like. The main draw about TXT songs is their reliably strong hooks. The same could be said about the hook here, which has much more staying power than I would have expected. The ticking sound is still pretty annoying, but those crunchy guitars are great. I’m less than enthused about the post chorus but it’s fine. It’s an innocently catchy piece of melody a phrase that I could probably use to describe the group too. And while I still think Drama would have made a much stronger title track, See Me is still one of the better examples of 2020 angsty boy group K-pop.
Final Rating: 8.25 / 10