Review

Song Review: TXT – Can’t You See Me?

I have never wanted to be more wrong about a song. TXT were my favorite rookie act of last year, injecting some fun into boy group K-pop while most of their contemporaries opted for moody material. Based on their track record, I fully expected them to deliver my favorite single of 2020. I knew that sense of youthful exuberance wouldn’t last forever (it never does in K-pop…) but I thought we’d get at least a few years of sunny, upbeat title tracks. Yet, as teasers began to unveil for new single Can’t You See Me (세계가 불타버린 밤, 우린…), the all too familiar clatter of trap beats foretold something far more angsty. I held out a sliver of hope that these fresh young performers who brought us Crown and posed like cats and dogs would resist the urge to go dark. But, it was not to be.

To Can’t You See Me’s credit, it’s not quite as generic as most of 2020’s slate of moody boy group mush. TXT have too much funding and talent behind them for that. I like how the song continues the rock influences that made Run Away so exciting. And, the guys’ vocals are as ethereal and compelling as always. The verses feel more cohesive than I would have expected, and even if the instrumental drops out for a murky post-chorus breakdown, this segment is a little more sonically inventive than the simple trap-rap we usually get.

However, Can’t You See Me’s chorus is a total bore. It’s repetitive, dispiriting, and underlined by obnoxious, trap-influenced percussion. I can see what the track is attempting to do, and it captures a certain teen gloom quite well. But, “teen gloom” wasn’t what I signed up for when it comes to TXT. Can’t You See Me robs the group of their addictive, whimsical energy, replacing it with something I could only describe as BTS-lite. This is what happens when K-pop agencies prioritize trilogies and storytelling over songs. By nature of the lore Big Hit has established around The Dream Chapter series, Eternity almost had to be gloomy. So rather than craft the best song possible, Can You See Me opts for modern K-pop’s tried-and-true boy group tropes. This plot is wearing very thin, and it’s absolutely depressing to see TXT become yet another male idol act to succumb to 2020’s unending, angsty mood-bating.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

41 thoughts on “Song Review: TXT – Can’t You See Me?

  1. It sounds like a leftover BTS B-side, repurposed. Jungkook would have sung this line, Jimin would have sung that line, etc.
    Its OK, a bit bland. The fans seem to have fun reading all sorts of meaning into the video (really, what do all the tomatoes mean). For the rest of us, meh.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. It’s exactly what I keep on thinking after a few listenings: it’s clearly a BTS leftover. Same sound (but cheaper), same vocals (but cheaper), same tunes (but weaker) and even same choreo (but cheaper).
    I guess Big Hit had tons of samples for Map Of The Soul: 7, and what didn’t find its way to the official release fell into this “Who cares?” TXT production.
    That of course will be a best-seller, confirming the agency they made it right.

    Liked by 2 people

    • “Drama” is amazing. It’s like Runaway 90’s-esque, more fun, younger brother. I think it could’ve easily been the title track and I’m pretty sure it’s right up Nick’s alley.

      Like

  3. To me, it felt as if it were an alternate for BTS Black Swan. As if both could have been interchanged and it wouldn’t have made a difference because they are both mediocre songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I also tried my best to give it a chance and I do like some parts of the song,.the first half and the chorus is good…but the second half is too disoriented for my liking. I didn’t like the Billie Eilish vibes unfortunately.
    It felt too slow in its pacing in the later half…if only one or two fresh elements with interesting sound have been incorporated.

    But Nick I don’t think the gloomy vibe and storytelling is the culprit here…We all know masterpieces can be produced going that way too…The only reason for its downfall is the lack of ambition in succesfully pulling that off

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re right that “gloomy = bad” is an oversimplification. It’s more that “gloomy” has come to mean a very generic, overdone style of production and songwriting that every group is currently peddling.

      As much as I go on about missing bright concepts, most of my all-time favorite boy group comebacks weren’t “bright” at all (Back, Rising Sun, Error, Monster, Crooked, Paradise, Miroh… I could go on and on). They were just flat-out good songs with interesting musical touches.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. FWIW AB6IX just released their motion logo teaser which is hinting of a colorful comeback. Hope that really switches things up.

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    • Every week I would hear the Ab6ix February solo releases on the Kville top songs list, and every week I would pause at the Lee Dae Hwi solo “Rose Scent Kiss”. Damn that song is slinky. I would take that style from the whole group too, if they don’t go colorful.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I liked it more than what I was expecting but it’s still their worse title song.
    For some reason I also don’t mind the vocal effects with TXT nearly as much as I do with BTS and I actually liked all the different ones in this song. I’m also not that against trap percussion overall but in here it felt very uninspired, unfortunately. That combined with the “my friends whatever whatever” parts kinda killed the chorus for me.
    I agree with the rating, though I think it’ll end up an 8 for me over time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Idk I must be crazy but I actually really enjoyed it. It didn’t like it as much as their previous two but it still held up. I think this song did a great job of mixing the moody and bright elements of TXT. The verses were light and fun and the chorus was strong but for me the second half of the chorus really sold me. I think the breakdown in the second verse sounded very nice but didn’t really fit in the song. Overall I think I’m fine with the Billie Eilish influences and enjoyed the song for the most part. Though it would’ve been nice if the finale was more memorable. The added a ton of ad-libs at the end and I liked the pause, but next time it would be nicer if they changed it up a bit
    Rating: 8.75
    Title track comparison: Run Away>Crown>Can’t You See Me?
    Even thought its the worst title track so far I think its still extremely solid and I’m exciting about where they’ll go next!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Because of the story line that TXT has going on, this definitely takes a darker turn than their previous singles. But also because of their story line, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of their brighter concepts. If BTS is any kind of indication, TXT won’t keep this dark sound for long. They’ll probably switch it up next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. shut up about 2020 nick this song was solid and fine. they’re children they have room to experiment you’re not “absolutely depressed” you’re just confined to whatever cheery realm you want them to stay in

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      • I mean, last time I checked a 7.75 was never bad. Just like you, Nick said this song was solid, just disappointing compared to their past releases, and his rating reflected that. Also if you think Nick has a bias against dark and moody songs, check out his review for Seventeen’s Getting Closer. You’ll be surprised by the rating.

        Like

    • We’ve had an unending supply of “solid and fine” for too long. Can you blame me for wanting something more than “fine,” especially from a group who has clearly proven that they can deliver classics?

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Here’s how I see it – more so than brightness TXT’s music has been characterized by it being a snapshot of age appropriate personal expressions. This could go harder but there’s something perfectly teenager about a song that boils down to ‘my friends DON’T GET ME!’ and running with it in tone. Plus it adds a dimension to their title track catalogue and by only being half dark I feel it will be easier for them to leap back to a ‘fun’ title much easier. The boys themselves said they aren’t certain TDC is over as a concept and I’m sure they’ll pop back over to a bright title in the future.

    I do think you’ll like something from the mini more tho. (probably Drama or maybe Fairy of Shampoo?)

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  11. I’m in LOVE with Fairy of Shampoo. I could listen to that song for hours. I suppose this will be an album where the B sides outshine the title track. Ugh, Bighit sucks for giving TXT BTS throwaways. I was expecting so much after their past two releases.

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  12. BigHit isn’t just doing their jobs this year. BTS and TXT are my favorite groups but Black Swan and ON were just bad. Can’t You See Me? is growing on me though.

    Anyway, what do you think of the album? I think I already know what song you’re going to pick as the buried treasure…

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    • I feel the same way. Can’t you see me is growing on me but Bighit is a hot mess right now sonically. It’s like they’ve gone too far into the experimental sound that their production just sounds messy and lost. They haven’t produced anything like BST, Save Me, Spring Day, or Fire for a while now.If they continue down this road, then may life have mercy on the company.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Disappointing title track from TXT, yet it’s one of the strongest boygroups songs of the year. The chorus lacks of impact and if it wasn’t for the electric guitar in the instrumental, it could have been confused with any other part of the song. I don’t mind the Billie Eilish style second verse, a better way to have a slow verse compared to the trap break, but after that I knew that the song would be linear until the end. I wasn’t wrong. Conclusion, it’s ok but it will end up being a little bit boring, while I can still listen to most of their discography one year later.

    I don’t think we can make any conclusion about their sound. We probably wouldn’t show concerns about it if the current climate wasn’t what it is but all we have to do is wainting the next comeback now.

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  14. Their concept has literally nothing to do with “angsty teen mood-bating.” I also hope you understand that comparing Tomorrow x Together to BTS is extremely degrading. As a fan of both groups, I know for a fact BTS has nothing to do with TXT’s music. Just because they’re under the same company label doesn’t give you a pass to compare them or to any group, period. I respect your opinion on what you think about their comeback but you should also respect that they’re their own group and should NOT, in any way, shape, or form, be compared to others based off their music style or anything like that.

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    • My friend you are WAY too incensed to be ranting like this on an opinion piece, much less an entirely review-based website.

      Like

    • I’m sorry, but no. Comparison is not degrading. I can see you’ve got a chip on your shoulder about this, but I think it’s unwarranted.

      Not only do TXT hail from the same agency, but they literally share the same producers. In this case, a comparison is very apt. You can’t have it both ways. TXT have benefited greatly from Big Hit’s success. That’s awesome. But yes, they’re going to be compared. Again, it’s not a negative thing. It’s certainly not “extremely degrading.” Most K-pop groups would kill to have that comparison.

      BTW, I’m a huge TXT fan, as evidenced by the praise I heaped on them all last year. At their best, they have such a distinct sound. But, this is not their best and does sound very BTS-like to my ears.

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  15. I was never a big fan of TXT’s music but I can acknowledge that they have some of the more outstanding and unique title tracks in the rookie business. That being said, I can understand what they were trying to go for here, and yet it seems awkward and oddly lacking of energy, which is the complete opposite of them and their sound. The Billie Eilish-isms were interesting but I can’t lie and say they were properly implemented. This song was a few steps away from becoming Fake Love Pt. 2, lol.

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  16. Well, I loved it. It was still very whimsical and very txt, they needed a bit of angst in there, 2 of them are in their 20s now after all. I don’t get the bts comments, about this being it being their b-side, feels like people have been dying to say that and now that txt dimmed the lights and set a fire in their new mv, they finally can and get away with it. It’s all all vocal song, sounds ethereal. Still has that rock influence that follows most of their title tracks, including Crown which was synthpop perfection. ETERNITY is a very cohesive album too. I liked all the tracks, especially DRAMA, shampoo fairy (dream pop!) and maze in the mirror. You should check out their hidden song Sweat!

    Like

    • Ok, I just checked again, and Soobin is still 19. damn why are they so young, Yeonjun is 20! It’s his favorite song and concept so far haha

      Like

  17. Tomorrow By Together is becoming one of the most loved bands now… I’m proud of being a MOA. They are role models whom we all look upto. Well I consider them to be the next BTS if they continue to be consistent with their job!! No much comments for them as the are to be described beyond words… SARANGHEYO 💜😍

    Like

  18. This song is the definition of an emo phase. From its trap influence to its angst lyrics. The song is ok.

    Like

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