Review

Buried Treasure: TXT – No Rules

TXT - No RulesA 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!

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9


~

13 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: TXT – No Rules

  1. This was a strong album and I honestly feel like this would’ve made a great single (which I’m expecting form hybe in the next few days). Though the vocal processing miraculously works for txt nearly every time, I really wish they get rid of it. This is such a warm, brassy, upbeat song. This, along with Dear Sputnik is a powerful and wonderful combo. The album just seems to get better with more listens.

    Also, I read, and really enjoyed the nod to several songs released over the past week contained in the introduction of the kingdom post😉

    Liked by 4 people

  2. this song is already amazing, but seeing it performed makes it even better. I thank BigHit for letting them promote this for the 1st week of promotions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know you never comment on lyrics, but reading the ones for Ice Cream definitely made the track feel less dumb/throwaway and more interesting:

    Ow, it’s like ice cream
    Everyone wants to be happy
    I dreamed of it too, a cool dream
    Where everyone’s happy
    I’m like the good guy cliché
    Yeah, I was a fool
    It’s all just an act
    Let’s all be doomed, let’s all be doomed
    […]
    It melts away as if it was a dream
    Unhappy, like ice cream, yeah
    […]
    Oh, I really can’t do it
    I feel like I’m the only one that’s been robbed
    It’s unfair
    So everything shall be doomed
    I’m going to pray for small evil things
    Secretly, secretly with my heart
    I wish for things to be unfair for everyone, yeah

    Liked by 4 people

  4. wow so classic. great vocal writing & performanes. Actually gives me Crown vibes amongst the funkiness.

    What a great record and comeback. I never commented on I know I love You because of my travels, but I am genuinely in love with that song.

    TXT rules.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. No Rules, Frost, and Dear Sputnik are my favorites from the album so I’m happy to see a buried treasure! A lot of people seem to like Anti-Romantic, but I hope BIGHIT lets them promote Dear Sputnik because a live version would be amazing.

    On the other hand I’ve probably listened to the album 20+ times and even the songs with excessive autotune (Balance Game) are growing on me

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I really enjoy this song and most of this album. I’ll admit I don’t hear the vocal processing much on this one. It only tends to bother me when it’s really overpowering like on Anti Romantic. I must not have whatever the audio equivalent of a refined palate is yet. My coworker once told the server at a nice restaurant that the house wine was “really good you can honestly taste the grape.” I feel like that’s usually me when audio mixing or processing issues come up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Also I’ll just lock in my bets now as No Rules for the second music video and Anti Romantic for the third vid and/or art film thing. I actually like Anti Romantic although if the lyrics were actually explicitly antiromantic that would have made my year. Alas.

      Magic was fun and I also liked Dear Sputnik.

      I’m seeing a lot of praise for Frost but I’ll admit I can’t listen to it. I find it actively unpleasant. I don’t know the name of this genre (is it hyper pop) but it’s like dental drill on a chalkboard levels of annoying to me. This sounds like the pop music of the future, but it’s a future where you have to buy a season pass or your furniture disintegrates and the police cat-drones at my workplace are painted rainbow for pride month.

      Liked by 3 people

      • The “art film” (that is, the MV that is part of The Star Seekers fictional universe) is gonna be Frost. It’s always the song with a name related to the album title (Nap of a Star for STAR, Magic Island for MAGIC, Eternally for ETERNITY, so Frost for FREEZE), and the lyrics of the song make many references to the storyline.

        And yes, it’s hyperpop with trap influences.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Ah, you’re right. That was oblivious of me, I was just going off of early promotions. I never really dug into Star Seekers as heavily as I did HYYH back in the day but I might get back into it.

          I don’t think hyperpop will ever be my genre of choice but after a few more listens of Frost I’m appreciating the vocal layers and other textures. It’s interesting. The opening line as a direct reference/ calling card to Ashnikko’s own music is surprising. They changed I’m so shy to I’m so shocked but the delivery and laugh is the same. I can’t say I’ve noticed that before in kpop where a western producer leaves such a recognizable stamp.

          Like

          • I know right. Why magic? this album is full of bops (exclude weird noise like magic and ice cream). But it’s txt, even weird songs like those are still nice to hear. Fun vibe.

            Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.