With the release of May’s 0x1=LOVESONG, TXT ushered in a completely new sound for themselves. One that helped an already unique group tread the long deserted waters of heavy, pop-rock in the mainstream K-pop boy group sphere. And while this could have gone any number of ways, TXT’s assured performance and some stunning production assured that 0x1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) was a complete triumph. New single LO$ER=LO♡ER follows its predecessor, channelling a similar, punk rock energy into a lighter, more restrained package.
Before I get into my thoughts on the track itself, I must talk about just how much I adore TXT. Apart from a minor hiccup last year with the lurching Puma and Can’t You See Me, the group have been ever so consistent. In terms of their main singles run, I consider two of them to be easy 10’s with the others firmly lodging themselves in the high 9’s. And while LO$ER=LO♡ER didn’t have the most instant of impressions, it’s gone onto grow into something special over the past few days and rightfully finds itself next to the groups stellar singles run.
And this growth is parl;y why I held off reviewing the track. I knew that I liked it from the start but its softer, more laid back approach really got under my skin the more I heard it. And I expect it to get even stronger with time. From its insistent soft rock instrumental to the boys great, raw performance, every element in LO$ER=LO♡ER comes together like a nice circle. I adore how the verses have an ascending structure, gradually getting more and more stuffed before coming to a head with that fantastic, pre-chorus. The vocal distortion here is perfectly employed, lending to a sense of disconnect and angst without taking away from the overall experience. It feels like a ticking time bomb, building and building up until a point where you can almost feel like it’s about to burst. The same could be said for the bridge, which sees Yeonjun give a standout performance that grows from restrained to chaotic in a second. Very similar to the entire structure of the song actually.
But while very enjoyable, I think the main hurdle holding LO$ER=LO♡ER back from reaching its full potential is the chorus (or the release). The melody here is fantastic, conjuring an anthemic refrain which given an equally immense backing, could have really felt like something special. But while I think the more low-key instrumental is actually a nice fit, I can see many feeling a little underwhelmed. I sure was on first listen. “Why couldn’t the chorus have more oomph like 0x1=LOVESONG ?? “. “Why didn’t they go harder?”. “This feels anticlimactic”. Where some of the thoughts that went through my head. But after a few listens, I realised that these statements were completely unfair.. LO$ER=LO♡ER isn’t trying to be its predecessor. It isn’t trying to be the headbanging, banner raising anthem that many of us were expecting. It’s a darker, more personal track, more suited to a long drive than a rally. And when looked at through such a lens, boy does it do its job well.
Final Rating: 9/ 10