When TXT released 0X1=LOVESONG at the tail end of May, I wasn’t sure whether its catchy pop punk sound would fade quickly or grow into one of their strongest title tracks. Several months later, the song has exceeded all expectations, ranking among my favorite comebacks of 2021. It’s amazing how well this angsty sound fits a group who debuted with the light and buoyant Crown. Repackage track LO$ER=LO♡ER continues LOVESONG‘s rock-influenced style, acting as a suitable companion to round out their strong album.
I’m always astounded when a pop song this simple encompasses thirteen (!) co-writers. I mean, there aren’t a ton of ideas going on here. Take one of Bigbang’s old rockers and merge it with today’s production trends and you’ve got LO$ER. I don’t mean this as a bad thing. The track’s straightforward nature is a strength. In a K-pop climate filled with breakdowns and switch-ups and spectacles, it’s rare to hear a song this uncomplicated.
From the teasers, I expected LO$ER=LO♡ER to feel more anthemic. Its two-part chorus has a driving, rebellious energy, but I long for the instrumental to punch with the same intensity as LOVESONG. Instead, the bombast occurs during the explosive pre-chorus. After that emotional catharsis, the track coasts into its hook with an easy – almost laidback – road trip vibe. The melody here is catchy, moving from a soaring refrain to a chant-along structure that will lodge in your brain whether you want it there or not. A standout Yeonjun rap adds bite during the bridge, and this would have been the perfect time for a key change or a blazing guitar solo to vault LO$ER to another level. With thirteen credited writers, you’d think they could come up with something to boost the song’s finale. Instead, LO$ER=LO♡ER acts as a satisfying — if slight — comedown from the mighty ferocity of 0X1=LOVESONG.