Although I’ll primarily be reviewing singles, there are some albums that are too influential, notable or strong to not cover. In this segment, I will be spotlighting those albums and giving my thoughts on each and every track.
As my current favourite boy group, I approach every TXT release with a sense of optimism and curiosity. They’re a group who always intrigue with their singles but impress more consistently with the strength of their albums. Something I can’t say about many groups. “Minisode2: Thursday’s Child” comes as the sequel to one of my all time favourite k-pop mini albums, one that I’ve raved about ever since its release back in 2020. And though it’s musically not as tight or have the kind of insurmountable highs of its predecessor, Thursday’s Child harbours a constant conceptual through line that enables a thematically satisfying listen.
Conceptually, the album tells the story of an individual, who I will be referring to as the protagonist, as they go through their first breakup. An emotionally devastating moment for the individual in question and one that allows the boys to label each song in the track list against the five stages of grief based upon their position in the track list.
3. Bargaining / Melancholy
Now join me as I break down how each track tackles its related subject matter alongside its musical prowess.
A gritty rap rock hybrid that opens the album off on a noticeably darker tone that its predecessor, Opening Sequence stands as a strong example of this particular style of music. As a symbol for the first stage of grief, denial, Opening Sequence plays like a tug of war within the psyche of a conflicted individual after an encounter that’s left them mentally damaged. The central lyrics that punctuate the chorus reflect this:
Dance with me, dance with me, dance with me
Take one more chance on me, chance on me, chance on me
I’m bleeding painfully, painfully, painfully
Stay for me, stay for me, stay for me
I can’t get used to it, used to it, used to it
The repetition of the lyrics points towards a fractured mentality, one that can’t come to terms with the current situation and is actively repeating it to themselves to dispel their current state of denial. A notion that gets more and more frantic as the track rears its climax and the theme begins to shift from denial to anger. The second stage.
Musically, the production is dirty, not afraid to come off as scruffy and rough around the edges. An approach that works particularly well when coupled with the vocal effects that slather the otherwise emotive delivery. It’s an approach that HYBE love and though it may not always work, TXT are one of those groups who actually benefit because of this. Their vocal tones are incredibly distinctive and as such stick out despite the mixing, resulting in the approach coming across as more of a legitimate artistic decision. Something that comes to a head during the thrilling distortion that punctuates Opening Sequence‘s exciting climax.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Good Boy Gone Bad (Full Review)
Trust Fund Baby
Trust Fund Baby is a track that encapsulates the nature of longing into a taught 2 and a half minute dream pop package. It’s a slight divergence from the overarching theme but slots in nicely by replacing the original third stage, bargaining with melancholy and regret. Emotions that work well in the context of an album that tackles the stages following an emotionally turbulent break-up.
The kind of dreamy mid-tempo that’s become a staple of the groups discography, Trust Fund Baby is another super solid distillation of the groups charms. After the aggressive, head banging energy of title track Good Boy Gone Bad, this shift might seem jarring but its inclusion acts as a great interlude between the angst ridden first half and the more pensive second half of the EP. I love the melody here, it’s soft and delicate, assisted by a lovely production that makes it feel as though you’re floating above the clouds. I adore the bubbly, ascending synth line that pokes its head in and out during the chorus. It’s a wonderful musical fantasia of melancholy and a track that I can see growing even more potent with time.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Lonely Boy (The Tattoo on my ring finger)
The first of two unit tracks on the EP, Lonely Boy see’s Yeonjun and Huening Kai duet a track that can be best described by the phrase “sad boi mid-tempo”. A thematically fitting title for a track that sees the evolution of the titular characters through into the fourth stage of grief. Depression.
It’s a sharp slow down from the pervious tracks both melodically and production wise, lurching forward in a way that can be best described as languid and unenthused. Two adjectives that also help reflect the tracks overarching thematic importance. The production feels condensed and bleak, putting emphasis on slurred vocal delivery and minimalistic instrumentation to craft a sparse musical landscape that sucks the life out of the song in an artistic way. The lyrics further this notion with lines like Lonely boy stayin’ lonely acting as the most evident examples of an individual who’s begun to fall into the pits of despair after a loss, unable to come to terms with and believing that their loss will cause them to remain forever adrift in a sea of uncertainty. Other lyrics such as
I left a stamp with a sharp needle
Not just my fingers, but also my heart
Violently stabbing me deeply
build upon this notion to craft an utterly devastated picture of the protagonists mind and one that many listeners who have gone through similar experiences could potentially relate to.
Musically, this is probably my least favourite track on the album, appealing to a musical demographic that I’m not the biggest fan of. Nevertheless, it’s quite a solid representation of this style of music.
Rating: 7.5 / 10
Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go
Rounding out the album with an expectedly bright track to reflect the idea of acceptance, Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go is TXT’s shot at the current retro trend. And it’s a damn good one. It’s the second unit track of the album, bringing together the groups main vocal line to deliver a surefire shot of classic pop song craft that harnesses gorgeous icy synth accents to give us a track that stands as a bright spot in an album committed to a darker, more moody concept.
Conceptually, Thursday’s Child Has Far To Go encapsulates the idea of accepting the changes in life, moving on and looking forward towards greener pastures even in the face of adversity and darkness emitted by past trauma. Its name riffs off the nursery rhyme, ‘Monday’s Child’ where Thursday is one of the only days with an open ended statement that the title plays off. In a way, the title could represent that the protagonist has far to go in terms of personal development, trying to posit that they still need to develop further to move past their current baggage. On the other hand, it could also refer to the protagonist having the potential to go further in life and develop into a successful individual, growing from the experiences of the album into someone who understands the dualities and struggles of life. A duality that can be felt during contrasting moods displayed during the verses and chorus.
A chorus that is easily the tracks musical trump card, pulsing forward on a gorgeous bed of synths and a catchy hook that manages to sound hopeful but carry a slight tinge of melancholy under its more buoyant soundscape. A fitting musical climax to a musical journey spanning five solid tracks.
Rating: 8.75 / 10
Album Rating: B+