Review

Song Review: TXT – Magic

TXT - Magic
Back on release day, I mentioned how TXT’s 0X1=LOVESONG could “go either way” when it came to longevity. I’m happy to say the song has grown more addictive over the past two weeks – so much that it probably deserves a retroactive spot within my top three songs of May.

Follow-up track Magic is also great, even if I would have preferred a music video for the superior No Rules. The thing about songs like Magic and BTS’s Dynamite/Butter is that they feel disposable. Combine HYBE’s increasingly effects-heavy production style with obvious pandering to Western markets and you get a product that feels inauthentic and weirdly chintzy. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy pop music for these exact reasons. I happen to like inauthentic, chintzy pop when the melodies are great and the performance is fun. That’s why Butter scored so high on this site.

Magic isn’t quite as exciting, and feels even more generic. In fact, parts of its delivery remind me of that awful “Cake By The Ocean” song from a couple years ago (or, even worse… a Maroon 5 single!). In actuality, Magic boasts UK-based singer Olly Murs as one of its many co-writers. As a former binge-watcher of X-Factor, this is a crossover I never expected to see.

All that baggage aside, Magic is a blast if you don’t think about it too hard. The lyrics are banal enough to pass by without consequence, and TXT’s plucky energy lends the track a bit more character than expected. The unpleasant HYBE production sheen is omnipresent yet again, washing over every element with the same fizzy texture. The one exception is a repeated chant during the bridge and final chorus. I imagine many listeners will find this segment cloying, but I like how it pokes out from the mushy mix to deliver a more urgent sound. Other than that, this is a vapid, by-the-numbers pop song that I happen to enjoy quite a bit. It’s kind of like fast food that way.

**On a related note, Magic’s instrumental ends with a “ding” that sounds exactly like an iPhone text message. Fool me once? Shame on you. Fool me twice? Three times? Four…? … oh, come on!

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

44 thoughts on “Song Review: TXT – Magic

  1. I knew the song felt like it had some inherent western pop DNA in it, and finding out it was Olly Murs makes perfect sense. Perfectly inoffensive, completely serviceable!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In terms of promoting for Western audiences, I guess because it sounds in the same vibe as Butter and Dynamite. Though to be honest, I don’t think it’s quite working. But that’s not for me to decide I suppose.

    This song though. That goddamn vocal processing… I cannot. Absolutely not. Both the chorus and pre-chorus are impossible for me to even like, even just a little bit because it’s just nails on a chalkboard for me. Even the verses, it’s there. Just… what is it about vocal processing that makes BH think it’s appealing to a wider audience?

    Sigh, poor No Rules. Poor Dear Sputnik. They deserved BETTER. Who knows? Maybe the next song they’ll promote is Ice Cream.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually… Bright, whimsical, and refreshing image like Magic is always working on txt.

      I’m sure we’ll see the effect of this song.

      And yes, bighit is targeting non kpoper.

      Also treat Magic like Blue Hour, and I’m soo sure about the impact.

      Good bye title track

      Like

  3. Can’t believe this song really grow in me, lol. Also ironic, because this song is one of the lamest song in the album. I mean, the lamest song in txt discography is literally better better better than hundred kpop songs out there.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. as a british kpop fan, it’s always interesting watching the UK radio pop stars who peaked in 2012 go down the kpop songwriter pipeline. Olly Murs, JLS Members, Little Mix members, Girls Aloud members…

    And I’m sure if this was released by a group with a bit more western attention/promotion, I would never hear the end of this on UK radio lol

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dynamite leftover. Two idea underproduced song which runs out of steam halfway through. And only 2:40 because it’s missing the rap that they would have someone like RM drop in, instead that whole section is snipped out. idk if missing the rap verse is a good or bad thing, just I am just noting that it is missing.

    Because someone will ask: The English lyrics are bland.

    Also because someone will ask: the vocals. I listened to the “live” GMA and also the music show encore of their other song. On the I I listened to, 2 or 3 of them can carry a tune well enough for a boy band. The other 2 or 3 cannot carry a tune.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May I also add: Dear kpop, please stop making remakes of JT “Can’t stop the feeling” It is one of those popular songs that no one really likes. Sure, it has 1.4 billion views. Sure, everyone and their brother has done some tiktok to it. But it is one of those songs that was born popular and played everywhere despite being on no one’s personal top ten list of anything.

      This one has even the same instrumental drop out “everyone clap your hands” – style chant outro.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah. I do enjoy a mindless, fun song – especially because I can use these songs to replace Can’t Stop the Feeling in my memory.

        Like fast food, very enjoyable once in a while. However, we don’t need ten of em. You can stop now, boys, we’ve got enough to last us another summer.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I can only guess based on what I am hearing is that Taehyun is carrying the group vocal-wise, Yeonjun not far off, Soobin’s the middle iffy one, then the last two.

      I also thought that about the lyrics. The Magic lyrics are just slightly off each time whether it’s an awkward rhyme, awkward phrasing or just an awkward rhythm that either doesn’t match with the previous one, or just doesn’t fit right with the words themselves..

      Like

      • There was one clever-ish line
        “‘Cause baby you’re a real one real one, Teaching me to feel something so strong”
        The way the phrase goes, there is the internal half-rhyme “one” with “some” which is the continues with “…thing so strong”. But it is sung with an almost full break between some and thing, which is unfortunate because pulling on that “some” straight through and past “thing so strong” would have been interesting. I think it was a producer’s choice, because both of the boys who sing the line, sing it in the same way.

        The rest are bland and despite using very commonplace lyrics, don’t fully rhyme. One with Some? Hands with Chance? Half points. The vowel rhymes (in American English), and the closing consonants are similar (iirc both are labial for the former and dental consonants for the latter (?)), close but no cigar. In my husband’s northern British accent, they don’t rhyme at all.

        Like

        • Oh I have no idea whose better and whose worse, just what I think it is. I only have some passing knowledge of TXT. I never really cared for much of their releases except for the first few I suppose.

          I based it off the LOVESONG encores and the GMA Magic live one. Everyone was easy enough to figure out, but I actually didn’t realize Beomgyu was not the blonde, and that was Heuningkai instead. Though that alone wouldn’t change my initial ranking, my sample size was also way too small and I just chose the members that stood out in singing. Nothing technical.

          In some of those encores they’re likely pretty tired so whenever Heuningkai never bothered to sing some of those high notes I figured it either wasn’t in his range or just not wanting to. Although he does sound very strong when singing. Boemgyu had all these low notes that were also sung slightly quietly which is probably just line distribution. Soobin sounded breathy so I couldn’t really tell the last three.

          They all seem very talented though despite that, no hate at all. Just was figuring out which of the members that MYMA thought were good or not. Honestly, I think I’m pretty wrong though in that regard haha.

          Liked by 1 person

      • These are good examples, actually. See, I would call this “competent”. Also, I don’t know who is who, other than the one over here in this shirt in this one and the one over there with that hair in that one.

        For these two examples, the agency has picked songs which aren’t very rangey, so the boys are within their mixed register for almost the whole song except for one or two of them do a few falsetto notes C5 C5# thereabouts. For the rest of both songs, the range is roughly about A3 to A4, one octave. Its a comfortable place that just about any tenor should be able to sing.

        But one thing to note in particular is that “live” performances like these seem live but still have a post-production polish to them. Light touches, but still there. It is almost certainly pitch corrected, and also balanced to bring all their voices to the same volume and intensity. Even serious singing mainstream shows like Immortal Songs and Masked Singer do pitch correction and other light polishing, so it isn’t uncommon.

        Better examples are from the radio shows, where the vocal from the mics are just captured and broadcast as is. Like this first one below, where one can easily hear the lack of pitch correction and balancing, even with a backing vocal to help them out. Who sings really soft, who sings louder, who misses notes, like 0:17-0:19 misses half those lower register notes and 0:37-0:38 really soft lower register. The second example, also missing low notes from the chest register (covered by the backing track), and there is a whole lot of that classic boy band nasal singing style going on.
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqLfqlQjJ_0
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWrXaATm0MM

        Competent.

        It is also worth noting that for all of these TXT examples both yours and mine, there are no held belt notes or any resonant notes on any of their songs, so no way to gauge that part of singing.

        Now, to bring a gun to a knife fight, here are some other live radio examples from one of my favorites stans.
        ”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnq_hhQg8Bw a cover of TVXQ’s “Magic Castle”
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZPZm4Cgzu0 “Bird, Bird, Bluebird”

        Liked by 1 person

          • Mmm, yes, I don’t know the complete TXT oeuvre, but at least for the ones I do, Hybe keeps the range within their range. Unlike, say, poor JImin who gets froggier every comeback from all those high notes, or V whom we never get to hear in his natural baritone range.

            (side note – nice thumbnail. Huey!)

            Liked by 1 person

            • I came across the below cover by V and J-Hope. It’s quite old but I think V sings in his baritone range here (not sure). He seems very comfortable here. The cover is lovely so sharing with you guys:-

              I am not very aware of Txt’s vocal skills. I have never heard them sing live without loud backing music much and on radio shows as well. I guess that’s true for almost all groups now. One of their live-ish performances that I liked is this one:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOCQpvZMots

              I can’t help but compare this with BTS’s early performances. I guess Big Hit really pushed then to perform and work on their live abilities. These days, it doesn’t really seem to matter much. I still have no idea how Enhypen sounds like.

              Like

              • That is a good example of V’s baritone-ness, particularly the line 0:43-0:52. That line is mostly below low C3. A handful of the better tenors can sound fine down there, but really that is baritone territory.

                For this performance, he sounds comfortable and easy even on the “high parts” which are still in a typical baritone range – the chorus is from about middle C4 to G4. Actually the one point where you can hear him lean in is on a G4 right at 3:29 – you can see him physically lean in and hear it too, the only time he gets tense.

                Thank you for sharing.

                Liked by 1 person

    • I thought they sounded good? I even just rewatched it, trying to figure out which part was bothering people. To me the song is actually better live than recorded.
      It makes me sad to see people being so hard on them. The encore thing in particular is a little bit nonsense.. I’ve never watched a music show encore expecting it to be anything other than silly or half-assed.
      My top two bg are both vocal powerhouses, but I don’t think everyone needs to be, as long as they are competent and bring something else interesting in the song or performance. Sadly I feel like a lot of amazing vocalists in kpop never end up with material that really justifies their level of skill.
      No Rules is still much better. (The dance is so good too. wish they could have performed that on GMA)
      The iphone ding really made me giggle!! I fell for it this last time

      Liked by 1 person

      • You material – skill comment

        Poster child #1 is Winner’s lead singer Seungyoon. If someone had to guess who is the winningnest winner of all time on King of the Masked Singer, one would not guess the lead singer of Winner because none of their songs showcase his skills well. I have heard “his earlier solo work does”, but Winner, nope.

        Poster child #2 Let me just post the video clips.
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiQJGPa5ktM really truly live, singing his heart out . He just owns this performance.
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcEAmemd61c recorded
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhlDCgv1DCs recorded
        Yes, holy cow wow who is this person who in his regular group songs has to mimic the Sammy Hagar school of scream out the high notes. And why don’t they let him sing down lower more like this, because this This is awesome. This is approaching Kyuhyun goodness territory, this Kyu bias says.

        Like

        • “I have heard “his earlier solo work does”, but Winner, nope.”

          I quite agree – although some songs from their debut album did showcase SY’s high notes/adlibs very nicely – of course they aren’t as ‘powerful’ as his early solo works. Which is a huge shame because SY has the potential to be one of the best Kpop singers ever.

          Like

  6. So I was watching a Bookish Theories video from 5 days ago analyzing the Lovesong video, and at the end she predicted that TxT would explore a sci-fi concept next. And here we are. Anyway, it’s a pleasant song and pretty catchy even if it’s not one of their best. I’ll hum along.

    Like

  7. Another one we can add to the uncreative, yet reasonably catchy western-influenced kpop songs.

    I don’t feel any Cake by the Ocean vibes (I really liked that song despite the awful lyrics), but unfortunately the Maroon 5 comparison seems spot on.

    Olly Murs makes sense on this track- it also sounds like something he would come out with. Never expected him to be the next kpop collaborator though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My daughter is partial to that “Shut up and Dance” song. the one with the U2 style guitar resonance and 80’s style Mister Mister-like vocals. I don’t mind it much when she plays it in the car at 6:30am but I never warmed to Cake by the Ocean and never bought that one for her. She also makes me suffer through some Imagine Dragons songs which aren’t terrible.

      I just can’t do Maroon5, or Nickleback.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Shut up and Dance song..the one by Walk the Moon? I remember I loved that one! So much even that I checked out their other stuff too. Yeah, I would not spend money on Cake by the Ocean – I like the song but the high-pitched wails (tALK to me baby) and the lyrics bother me every time I listen to it. Imagine Dragons is not for me, but brings back high school memories.

        I used to really like Maroon 5 songs, but I really dislike their recent stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. this one is like those tens & thousands of catchy western pop songs out there, nothing special, and the vocal processing the reason it is so painful to finish any song of TXT for me

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I didn’t mind the chorus of robot voices, to be honest. First, it matched with the music video and the general choice of tech-y backings, so it wasn’t super out-of-place. Second, everything sounding super robotic is pretty typical for songs in this style.

    It was… fine? I think the chorus overstayed its welcome, not because it was too long, but because there are only so many times I can hear “OH it feels like magic~” in a row.

    Bighit/HYBE(?) rarely excites me at this point, and I’m the sort of person who might listen to 3 new songs a day max, so maybe I should stop trying?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wah can’t believe they are so many ignorant haters coming. Shut the f up y’all. Txt and their production team are doing great, and your fave can’t even relate. This is the lamest song with 8.5 score, can u imagine how powerful txt discography? Now look at your fave

    Like

  11. I find this song is catchier (and better) than Dynamite and even Butter. I guess it’s because I prefer TXT vocal-line? Maybe.

    Like

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