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Now this is one very delayed album review. TXT returned back in October with Run Away (also titled as Nine & Three Quarters), which was featured on their second mini-album, The Dream Chapter: MAGIC. The main reason to why I held back their album review was due to the release of a few music videos during the ‘Album Review Blitz’ I did at the end of November/start of December. But I have since realized that I won’t be able to write separate reviews for them, so I will look at the music videos some other time. And that brings us back to their album review, which I will finally publish today.
1. New Rules – The first song on the album starts us off with a fun and vibrant sound, which I quite like. The instrumental has this retro funk that really gives it that fun tone during the chorus, otherwise it would have been a very standard dance number. But the song manages to keep the retro funk subtle, allowing the song to get serious. I also like the rock touch that the song has, which helped supply intensity to the song. The group’s vocals were good but the rapping was probably the bigger highlight, especially when it went low and almost whisper-like, giving the song a very intriguing start and end. (8/10)
2. 9 & Three Quarters () (Run Away) (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for 9 & Three Quarters/Run Away. (8.5/10)
3. Roller Coaster – Roller Coaster is memorable, but it might only be so for a bad reason. All is good with the track up until the chorus. Everyone is saying it felt choppy. But to me, that piece was continuously looped. I am troubled by it, as it catches me off guard each time I listen to it and it does sound off-putting. Though, I assume that this was done for a reason. I just can’t see any reason that validates it. Some people have theorised that this was done to stimulate a roller coaster, but I don’t get this feeling at all. The vocal work in this song is pretty good, with it being consistent throughout the track. But that is the only thing good I can say about the track. (5/10)
4. Poppin’ Star – We are treated with a soft-ish bubblegum pop-like through Poppin’ Star. It is still a dance track, but it’s extremely light and doesn’t pack any heavy synths in its instrumental. The group members sound more like their age in this track, innocent and very youthful. It isn’t anything special, but it was likeable and enjoyable. (7/10)
5. Can’t We Just Leave The Monster Alive? – Henceforth referred to as Alive, the track brings back the tropical house and island influences, a trend that has disappeared. Its presence is slightly refreshing, as it has been some time since I have heard this style (oh, what a break can do to you). I like the how the pre-chorus becomes light, before they throw the tropical/island sounds at us. While their vocal work and rapping was okay, I wanted more from this department. It gives the song a linear profile and pretty much made Alive feel one-dimensional. (6/10)
6. Magic Island – Magic Island gives off an enlightening tone whilst dabbling in the R&B genre. It is the soft track, showcasing the groups vocals. I did like the huskier tone they incorporated into their voices, giving the smooth song some texture. The whistling in the background was a nice small detail. Overall, I find Magic Island to be quite different, given the fact that the group has been doing mainly dance songs up until now. I would like to hear the group explore this sound, provided they don’t put typical sound destinations on their itinerary. (8/10)
7. 20cm – The group gets even huskier in 20cm, compared to their other tracks. They also answer my wish for further exploration of this side of the group. My first impression of the song was that it felt like a BTS track. Even some of their voices sounded similar to the senior group. While the song was soft and the instrumental being almost ballad-like, I really liked how they used to the vocals to build up the song. It allows for a stronger focus on the vocals and made the song so much more captivating. What the song needed was a rap sequence, which I think would have really suited this song. (8.5/10)
8. Angel or Devil – Angel Or Devil returns the group’s sound to its more upbeat dance roots. The song seems to showcase subtle island influences in the background, but it overall felt like a typical dance track. I liked the fun and carefree vibe that came from the song. I also felt both the singing and rapping was on point in this track, bringing a slight hip-hop influence. It was also very catchy, bringing the album to a close on a very addictive note. (8.5/10)
Overall Album Rating – 7.4/10