When Tomorrow X Together made their first public appearance earlier this year, Billboard noted that a “nervous-but-excited” energy was palpable at a media showcase that would help lead them break multiple chart records with their debut. At the Oct. 21 press conference to introduce their sophomore release, The Dream Chapter: Magic, there was a noticeable uptick in confidence as the stakes were arguably even higher for the quintet.
At the 100th Anniversary Memorial Hall in Seoul’s prestigious Yonsei University, Tomorrow X Together met with both local Korean media and invited reporters from international outlets like the BBC, MTV, Elite Daily and beyond, to unveil their new single “9 and Three Quarters (Run Away)” and paint the first pictures of their new album. The release was slated for the summer, but was delayed to late October due to ongoing issues with the members’ health. What resulted was something of a bit off-center, but undeniably unique in the always-creative K-pop scene.
The effervescent energy of TXT’s chart-topping debut single “Crown” is present throughout The Dream Chapter: Magic, but there’s more unexpected twists and turns throughout this musical venture. At one point during the showcase, member Taehyun noted that he likes hearing the expression “rookies you can count on” attached to Tomorrow X Together. “It means we have built trust,” the singer-dancer shared.
That trust should hopefully guide listeners to take Magic in its entirety. Album opener “New Rules” begins as a breathy, groovy jam before shifting into its shout-along, anthemic chorus and turning into the trap-inflected hook. Similarly, “9 and Three Quarters (Run Away)” is a slightly scrubbed-up take on TXT’s pop experimentation, barring a brilliantly bizarre “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” pre-chorus ahead of the satisfyingly chewy rock-pop chorus. The guys take the rest of the album to flex their different abilities as they cozy into warm electro-pop on “Can’t We Just Leave the Monster Alive?” and “Magic Island”, bring a bouncy, rambunctious vigor on bouncy cuts like “Popping Star” and “Angel or Devil,” while also grabbing an important chance to show their power as vocalists on snappy R&B ballad “20cm.”
“Our debut album [The Dream Chapter: Star] got a lot of love, so I hope you can really love our new album,” Hueningkai told the audience, before Beomgyu added, “We prepared for this for quite a while so we would like to show you a great album, great choreography and try to meet as many fans as possible.”
Throughout the showcase, the TXT members looked to highlight the different ways how they are growing even in the early stages of their careers. “We are talking with the label to try to get involved more and more in the TXT universe,” they shared when later asked about their involvement in music. “We can continue to talk and converse with the company and, later, we’ll have more specific narratives.”
While Hueningkai was the only member with a writing credit on this album (on slinky house-pop standout “Roller Coaster,” a favorite of leader Soobin), the group shared they have already completed songs. “We’re trying very hard,” the group added of their efforts to creatively contribute. “The songs we write, [Big Hit Entertainment executive] producer [“Hitman”] Bang said would be better in future albums. We want to try, but we also want to focus on what we’re doing now.”
Of course, questions popped up about having BTS as their senior group to which the quintet also seemed more confident in how to navigate than earlier this year. “BTS, of course, is incredible,” Taehyun reflected. “And we are the junior group, the fact we’re often mentioned along with them is an honor. Rather than differentiate ourselves, we’re still in the process of learning.” Soobin added, “BTS and Big Hit Entertainment they have given us very large wings, no doubt about that, it’s our job to soar…we’d like to become a group that BTS and all the BTS members can really be proud of.” Particularly from Soobin, this was a noticeably more calm and mature response to the BTS comparisons than when he humbly said “I don’t think we’re deserving to be the younger brother of BTS” at the group’s debut showcase.
Altogether, Tomorrow X Together’s confidence is not only becoming clearer in public (with the group showing off a cooler and more relatable vibe at this showcase, rather than the tense energy earlier this year) but also in their musical direction. The Dream Chapter: Star was solid work and shot them to the top of multiple Billboard charts, but The Dream Chapter: Magic can be the record to solidify their place in the scene as the boldly experimental, still growing, undeniably talented young boy band in the scene.
“We did not expect to make it into the Billboard 200 with our debut album at all,” the band tells Billboard when reflecting on their big year so far. “We really wanted to thank our fans that have waited long for our debut. We worked really hard for this album as well, so we wish we could make it into the Billboard charts this time too. It would be untruthful to say we didn’t feel pressured, but we are excited at the same time.” Read on for more on their favorite Magic tracks and how they’ve seen their fellow members grow.
Can each of the members share his favorite song on the album and why?
Soobin: I like “Roller Coaster” because it’s a unique song with fun lyrics.
Yeonjun: I’ll go with the first track, “New Rules.” I feel like this song, especially the lyrics, is about me. After you listen to “New Rules” you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Beomgyu: I actually have two favorite songs. One is our lead single “9 and Three Quarters (Run Away),” the song’s a combination of powerful vocals, unique lyrics and a trendy melody will give good and bright energy to our fans. And the other is “Can’t We Just Leave the Monster Alive?”
Taehyun: Mine is “20cm,” which is my favorite genre, slow R&B.
Hueningkai: I like “Can’t We Just Leave the Monster Alive?” I love the intro of the song where the beats mix with the melody, but my favorite part is the a cappella part at the end of the song.
Tomorrow X Together went through many different experiences in your first months together. Looking to your fellow members, in your own words, can you explain how you’ve seen him grow?
Soobin on Yeonjun: I think he emotionally grew up and became more mature.
Taehyun on Hueningkai: He was shorter than me when we first met. But he’s soooooooo tall now.
Yeonjun on Beomgyu: Beomgyu made a lot of progress, I’m so proud of him.
Hueningkai on Soobin: I think he’s become more active as a leader. He’s always been a good leader anyway.
Beomgyu on Taehyun: When I first met him he was a handsome and cute younger brother, but now sometimes I feel like he’s an older brother.