I’ve written many reviews since the conception of this blog and sometimes my thoughts on certain tracks or albums change drastically. Other times, I want to revisit some albums or tracks that I missed reviewing upon their release. Looking back can really change your perspective on projects and with this segment, i will be highlighting some of my favourite songs and/or albums released post Kbopped.
With the announcement of a new comeback down the road and coming off a year that saw them successfully embrace a larger than life, pop rock sound, I thought it would be an appropriate time to look back at one of my all time favourite mini albums. The all killer, no filler greatness of ‘minisode1: Blue Hour’. This was an album that I enjoyed on release but never really came to appreciate until a few weeks had passed. And as the weeks turned to months and the months turned to years, it was a project that just kept giving, unveiling its charms slowly but gradually until it cemented itself as by far my favourite TXT album yet and an absolute musical triumph.
1. Ghosting (original review)
Ghosting is a masterpiece.
I’ve already written about it extensively in both my Beast Sides and Best B-sides of 2020 features but I still haven’t run out of ways to praise this track. It’s a flawless dream pop inspired track, gliding on an ethereal bed of percussion and guitar to craft an instrumental that feels warm, comforting and enough to turn many from rock to puddle. But as much as I adore the instrumental, Ghosting’s trump card is its gorgeous melody and otherworldly performance. TXT are probably the only group that actually sound great with HYBE’s vocal compression and while you can sometimes get something like Puma, Ghosting sees this technique at the height of its powers. It lends the track a surreal atmosphere, transforming an already gorgeous track into something so remarkable that I honestly can’t remember something like it. This is right up there with Run Away as my favourite TXT song ever.
*and yes I’m still salty at how this is the only song from the mini that didn’t get any form of video promotion.
Final Rating: 10 / 10
2. Blue Hour (original review)
When considering songs that I’ve underestimated on release, I don’t think any song other than Stray Kids’ Side Effects comes to close to Blue Hour. I liked it on first listen but according to my initial review, I thought it was too plain. Too bland. Had a great groove but lacked the kind of personality that i had expected from the best TXT tracks. And looking back at that now, all I can do is laugh. More than a year on from its release, I consider Blue Hour to be a perfect pop song, filled to the brim with addictive melodies, instantly memorable hooks and a fantastic performance which just elevates the track into pure pop nirvana. The chorus is a great encapsulation of everything that makes the track so great, opening with an instantly gripping hook before transitioning smoothly into a soaring melody. The pre-chorus is one of the catchiest and most jubilant pop moments of the past few years (“but it’s you, you’re the one that I want, you, everything that I want, blue!”) and is only bolstered by the undulating percussive beat that underlines Blue Hour‘s incredibly joyous disco funk. It’s just great hook after great hook after great hook.
And then we’ve got that dance break. That damned dance break. Just when you thought Blue Hour couldn’t get even better, even more fun, you get hit with the fantastic (unfortunately mv exclusive) dance break that just ties the entire package together with a confetti styled bow. This is pop music at its most loose and joyous and as such is one of absolute favourite TXT singles. I put this at number 6 on my favourite K-pop songs of 2020 list but now, I’d honestly put it in the top 3.
Final Rating: 10 / 10
3. We Lost The Summer
While tropical house, trop-pop, tropical shithouse, whatever you wanna call it, was an incredibly oversaturated sound back in around 2016-2018, its lack of presence in the recent k-pop sphere has actually allowed for tracks of the genre to stand out a little. Such is the case with We Lost The Summer, an ode to time lost during the pandemic whilst still functioning as a longing love song about the trials and tribulations of long distance love. The track harnesses the aforementioned trop-house genre and combines it with an excellent melody that manages bop by with a notable tinge of bittersweet nostalgia. The perfect emotion to describe the tracks subject matter and one that helps amplify even the tracks quieter and potentially more bland moments. The percolating tropical instrumental retains a real sense of playfulness whilst still adhering well to the more downbeat percussion that follows which expertly compliments the gorgeous vocal melodies during the hook. This is how you do tropical house well and stands as an excellent example of how you can elevate even the most potentially generic of productions into something great with the right production and performance.
Final Rating: 9 / 10
As we saw with 2019’s masterful Run Away and their entire 2021 output , TXT and rock are a match made in heaven. And by combining the buoyant pop of their early work with the rock sound they would go on to pursue in the following year, we got the outstanding Wishlist. This is pop-rock with a capital ‘P’, unflagging in its intent and powering forward with such urgency that its so hard to not get wrapped up in it. It was love at first sight and a song that’s only gotten better and better the more listens I’ve invested. From the claustrophobic, guitar strum led build of its opening verse to the explosive nature of its central hook, Wishlist doesn’t take a single misstep, juxtaposing its descending production of its chorus with an ascending melody to give a near euphoric energy to the centrepiece that the boys sell so god damn well. And apart from its anthemic, lighters in the air, hand clap bridge, it’s a track that just keeps building and building, an attribute that I just adore. This is TXT performing at their peak and yet another perfect song from a project that just keeps giving.
Final Rating: 10 / 10
5. Way Home
The final track off an excellent project, Way Home is yet another track that has gotten so much better with time. In an album filled with near flawless tracks, Way Home‘s rather downbeat, slinky instrumental initially did little to make it stand out or impress. But repeated listens have brought out the tracks many charms. Its high pitched synth loop alongside the accompanying lurching synth help further the dreamlike theme that runs through the album and the tracks central melody is instantly memorable, though more susceptible to the “mushy” vocal compression that HYBE seem so hell bent on. Especially so back in 2020 when it was released. And while not one of my favourite TXT songs, it’s still a solid distillation of the groups charms into a bouncy pop song.
Final Rating: 8.25 / 10
AVERAGE SONG SCORE: 9.45 ~ 9.5
OVERALL ALBUM RATING: A+