With the release of their second album, TXT have embarked upon a new “Chaos” chapter. This was preceded by a very cool teaser video that delivered the kind of inventive performance and concept K-pop excels at. But true to form, the tone and energy of that ice storm teaser is completely different than title track 0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You). As much as I love TXT, it can be a little frustrating how dramatically their sounds and concepts change from album to album.
The angsty teasers for I Know I Love You worried me a bit, giving flashbacks to last year’s disappointing Can’t You See Me. I mean, TXT excels at moodiness (hello, Ghosting!), but I still crave another Crown-like blast of synth-pop energy. Instead, the guys have gone full-on emo rock, pulling out ripped jeans and hand mics. The attempt is mostly successful, even if I Know I Love You is unlikely to go down as my favorite of the group’s title tracks.
I Know I Love You is at its best when targeting the rafters — going big and bold with anthemic melodies and thundering percussion. The track lays out this goal right from the start, unveiling a chanted refrain supported by heavy drums. From here, I Know I Love You pulls back for a so-so verse. The production feels a little empty here, but the song is clearly trying to establish a sense of contrast. A heartier melody may have improved things.
Still, this hesitance is forgiven as soon as we crash into I Know I Love You’s chorus. The song lays all its tricks on the line, taking full advantage of its robust backbone as the guys deliver a cathartic hook. It’s just as much “shout” as it is “sing,” but the overwrought delivery works in this case. It certainly helps that the melody feels so expansive and cinematic. R&B vocalist Seori is added for texture, though her voice mostly fades into the swirling bombast of the instrumental.
At the very least, it’s interesting to hear K-pop tackle this brand of singalong radio rock. I Know I Love You may not be what I had hoped to hear from TXT, but I have a feeling it will become even more addictive with time.