Tomorrow X Together – ‘The Name Chapter: Temptation’ review: supreme storytellers indulge fantasies of Neverland

Written by on 30/01/2023

Tomorrow X Together

Since their debut in 2019, Tomorrow X Together have consistently been growing, both musically and as people, each new release showing them one step further in the transformation from baby-faced teenagers to young men facing the trials of the world. So far, their special skill has been capturing the stories of their generation as they go on that journey, pouring relatable tales into their songs.

  • READ MORE: Tomorrow X Together: “Our fans are always there by our side. That’s why they’re our heroes”

In TXT’s world, not everything has been plain sailing. There have been struggles with friends bailing (‘Ghosting’), betrayals (‘Can’t You See Me?’) and earth-shattering heartbreak (the entirety of their last EP, ‘minisode 2: Thursday’s Child’). Over the years, the group have flirted with the idea of not growing up in songs like ‘9 And Three Quarters (Run Away)’ and ‘Can’t We Just Leave The Monster Alive?’. On ‘The Name Chapter: Temptation’, they’re going all in on the idea.

Just as ‘minisode 2’ presented a seamless story of heartbreak, with each track representing a different stage of grief, TXT’s fifth EP features an easy-to-follow narrative arc across its whole tracklist. On the English track ‘Devil By The Window’, they dive into the temptation to jump into their very own Neverland and live in suspended youth. “I met the devil by the window / Traded my life,” Soobin and Yeonjun purr, as if they’re doing an impression of this seductive menace. “Temptation touched my tongue / Spread the wings of desire.

The whistling ‘Sugar Rush Ride’ details the moment of falling – enjoying the dizzying ride before the regret and panic hits – while Coi Leray collaboration ‘Happy Fools’ finds them settling into their new existence and living in the moment. “Don’t wanna do my thing / I have no regrets / I’ll be the laziest Superman / So follow me,” Taehyun and Hueningkai sing. This invitation makes them the Peter Pan to their fans’ Lost Boys, inviting us on a happy-go-lucky adventure.

As with all dreams, though, you have to wake up at some point. The bubble bursts on ‘Tinnitus (Wanna Be A Rock)’, which describes the ear-ringing disorientation of the morning after a big party. Acceptance of adult life finally comes in ‘Farewell, Neverland’. “That irresponsible paradise of dreams / I’ll bid you farewell,” Beomgyu sighs, preparing to head back to reality.

TXT briefly give up on growing up in ‘The Name Chapter: Temptation’, but that doesn’t mean they stop maturing musically. Instead, they move forward in leaps and bounds on this EP, shrugging off the pop-punk melodrama of ‘minisode 2’ in favour of adventurous new sonic palettes while adding to their list of creative credits (all five members contributed to the lyric-writing of this EP, while Yeonjun wrote the topline for ‘Happy Fools’). ‘Tinnitus (Wanna Be A Rock)’ finds them playing with Afropop for the first time, utilising the dubby rhythms to mimic the echoing and whirring of actual tinnitus.

Where English-language K-pop songs often seem to default to bright, bubbly radio anthems, ‘Devil By The Window’ offers something far more interesting. At first, its thumping bass and hushed vocal delivery feel akin to Billie Eilish’s ‘Bad Guy’, but TXT give it their own twist with a dreamy, gliding pre-chorus and outro that feels like you’re flying through the heavens with them. ‘Sugar Rush Ride’ feels less inventive – a good song but, apart from its whistling motif, more familiar than the rest of the tracklist.

The path from adolescence to adulthood and beyond might not run smoothly or always be predictable but, as they continue to grow as artists, TXT are giving us one thing to count on in this life: they’ll be by our side, providing the soundtrack to our pain, joy, confusion and hope.

Details

Tomorrow X Together - The Name Chapter Temptation

  • Release date: January 27
  • Record label: Big Hit Music

The post Tomorrow X Together – ‘The Name Chapter: Temptation’ review: supreme storytellers indulge fantasies of Neverland appeared first on NME.


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