‘The Dream Chapter: Eternity’ is a dynamic experimentation from a flourishing K-Pop group
Rookie K-Pop boy group TXT are back just a little over their one-year anniversary in the industry, this time with their third album, The Dream Chapter: Eternity, the final act in the Dream Chapter trilogy first established in their debut showcase. But whereas their previous two offerings showcased highly energetic, if rather synth-heavy tracks, their latest release offers newer, more diverse sounds, which altogether make up for an eclectic bookend to the band’s first era.
There is no shortage of thrills in the six-track mini-album, and true to its theme, its overall production quality is just as slick as its predecessors — although arguably more mature themes are tackled in this album both in terms of lyric and sound. It’s title track, ’Can’t You See Me’, for example, is angst-ridden and beat heavy, with a remarkably dark bridge as the boys lament that “friends don’t understand me anymore”.
However, as with their previous albums, Eternity also has its sweeter moments, most particularly in the quirkily-monikered ‘Fairy of Shampoo’, which by all means is a youthful declaration of romantic interest quite reminiscent of last year’s ’20cm’, and it is in this very production that the BigHit producers’ influence is perhaps most evident — familiar listeners will find rather recognizable themes in some of TXT’s senior group BTS’ previous pop albums.
Another particular standout in the album, however, is its closing track ‘Eternally’, which might just be the most accurate summation of Eternity’s very eclectic-ness as an album. The track is one of the group’s most unique by far, with an emotionally-charged, slow-burn opening verse that — within an instant — explodes into a rapid-tempo chorus, all to a rather jarring effect. It’s an ambitious undertaking, especially for a band so young, but ultimately its almost trance-like melodies are well-crafted enough to pull it off.
TXT’s biggest strength so far has been the group’s consistently high production quality, and indeed, Eternity never runs short of its standards, even for a six-track album, and this latest one has the group experimenting further beyond their usual styles. And with the band’s first official trilogy out, TXT’s very sound as a group is quickly becoming a recognizable one — and it’s one that’s youthful and sonically exciting, with tracks bouncing from disco-reverb influences (‘Drama’) to heartfelt slow-tempos (‘Fairy of Shampoo’, ‘Maze in the Mirror’), to edgier rap-driven tracks (‘PUMA’).
As a whole, The Dream Chapter: Eternity is a smooth transition from the previous two chapters in TXT’s career, and yet is also a highly stylish upgrade to their maturity and uniqueness as artists in an already saturated and highly dynamic industry.