Since their debut, Tomorrow by Together (TXT) has been known for having dreamy concepts and storylines underlying their music, finding a home in their made-up universe, +U or TU. Their universe has interconnected their music, web novels, and trailers to tell the journey of five young boys growing up. Through this concept, the group has been able to talk about themes similar to youth, coming of age, and maturity, as expressed in their past tracks, Crown, Run-Away, and 0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You), respectively.
Their application of storytelling and “dreamcore” elements have made the group definite standouts in the sea of fourth-generation K-pop idol boy groups. Not only does the group’s music prompt captivating performances, scoring, and vocals, but it also provides a story that the youth can resonate with.
TXT extends their ever-expanding universe and storyline with their newest album, TEMPTATION, which revolves around the themes of desire, resistance, and escapism. The album’s concept is rooted in elements referencing the stories of Peter Pan and the garden of Eden to convey the temptation of not wanting to grow up—to remain youthful and carefree like a child.
The group tackles such complex themes in their album by taking experimental takes on composition and genres present in the album’s five tracks. Just like entering Neverland, TXT crosses through uncharted territory as they explore a fresh mix of acoustic, alt-pop, and pop elements, providing a taste of TXT’s eccentric artistry and diversifying the group’s discography.
The album kicks off with its prelude, Devil by the Window, with heavy basslines and low, subdued vocals, providing an eerie start to their journey to Neverland. The track tells of a story with the devil as the antagonist, tempting them to stay in Neverland and leave their responsibilities in favor of reveling in rebellious freedom.
In hopes of communicating more with their global fans, TXT delivered the track’s emotions in a foreign language despite the language barrier. The all-English track sets itself apart from their previously-released English tracks in that it possesses a quiet intensity that lures listeners in as opposed to the band’s usually sweet and youthful sound. The track sets the tone for the rest of the album, showcasing the group’s diversity in instrumentation and vocals through storytelling and lyricism.
If Devil by the Window was composed of bewitching croons, the next track, Sugar Rush Ride, is its exact opposite; it possesses a euphoric and experimental composition, with its guitar instrumental opening capable of riling up a crowd. It is then followed by falsettos, whispers, and layered vocals, providing an exhilarating build-up toward the song’s chorus. Part of the track’s charm is that it has an anti-drop beat where the song’s chorus sounds empty and subdued after an enticing build-up, which seems to be a new approach the group has chosen to take to their music direction. Although slightly unusual, its inclusion features the group’s duality as the song consists of acoustic and pop-rock elements throughout its whole composition.
Opening with a bossa nova kick, Happy Fools, featuring American rapper Coi Leray, is the most upbeat track in the album with its catchy lyrics and addictive beat. The song conveys a carefree sensation with its lyrics, peppy tunes, and playful adlibs present throughout the composition of the song. Combined with Leray’s artistry, the track highlights how TXT continues to pique youthful interests by emanating their fresh and ecstatic energy through their music.
With a catchy and inviting intro, Tinnitus (Wanna be a rock) explores the afro-pop genre with its integrated African-inspired beats and sound. Alongside the producers Dystinkt Beats and Grammy-nominated Smash David, TXT members Yeonjun and Taehyun are featured as creative contributors for the credits of the song. The track features different percussions and adlibs that the group layered to create the vibe of this new genre that they are exploring.
To capture the journey of the group, Farewell, Neverland concludes the album. With more allusions to Peter Pan inserted into this track, the concept and lore are expressed through the lyrics in which the artists yearn for a home and question the truths of life. Produced by Carson Thatcher and “Hitman” Bang, this Latin-inspired ballad was created through experimental acoustics and cajón-style percussion. TXT’s soothing vocals were flaunted on this song and could give goosebumps to the regular listener, making it quite a fitting ending to an overall halcyon listen.
End of the rainbow
TEMPTATION shows TXT’s versatility and range to its finest as every single track carries its unique flavor, giving their respective reasons to be a fan-favorite. Since the album provides an assortment of different approaches to music, it may not be to the taste of listeners who prefer albums filled with tracks centered on a specific genre and a coherent musical aesthetic. Still, the album paints the quintet’s unique colors and how the group can take their music to brand-new heights. Without a doubt, the group will continue soaring through the skies with their creativity and launch their career to new heights.