A K-pop group’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
I debated whether or not to feature a buried treasure from TXT’s new album. There are several songs I could choose, but I’ve got no idea which tracks HYBE will decide to promote as follow-up singles. So, it’s very possible that this write-up will turn into a traditional “song review” in a week or two. If that happens, I’ll likely pick another favorite (Dear Sputnik, Frost) to feature.
In my perfect world, the guys would drop a music video for No Rules just in time for summer. As a semi-sequel to 2019’s New Rules, it only makes sense! More importantly, this track fills the fun, upbeat vibe missing from the otherwise-great I Know I Love You. It feels like the album’s natural centerpiece.
Like BTS’s Butter, the track glides on an amiable funk backbone. A talkbox-like loop opens the song, giving way to generous bass and rhythm guitar. The verses are a satisfying blend of airy harmonies and light-hearted rap, offering plenty of descending melodies. And like all decent songs of this genre, No Rules bounds into a splashy chorus that ties everything together. The structure here is one I always enjoy, moving from gliding energy to more percussive post-chorus punctuation.
I also love the exuberant brass that supports this refrain. Placed alongside percolating synth, it gives the hook plenty of punch. With that said, No Rules suffers a bit from that weird HYBE mixing. Why do their songs sound so cheap and tinny when played alongside music from other agencies? Thankfully, TXT’s soft vocal tones play well with this odd production style, transforming No Rules into a fizzy headrush. In fact, their charisma enhances the entire album. Even songs as silly as Ice Cream end up worming their way into your heart. And when tied to a groove as delicious as No Rules’, TXT could easily own the summer. I hope they’re given the chance!