Review

Song Review: TXT – Frost

TXT - FrostI joked on Twitter about October being so weak that K-pop had to reach all the way back to May for new material, and that could really apply to the whole second half of this year. The first half of 2021 was very strong, but these past few months have had a hard time matching that consistent quality. So now that it has a cool music video, I’m reaching back to TXT’s spring album to spotlight Frost. Fans have been expecting some sort of promotional treatment for this song, though I would’ve counted on it to arrive back in June or July.

Frost was an instant favorite of mine, closing the album with a new sound for TXT. “New sounds” can be a tricky proposition for idol groups, and I tend to prefer the TXT material that sticks closest to their year one output. But, Frost feels like a natural progression, tying the album’s rock-influenced angst to a hip-hop meets EDM beat that’s stark and menacing. The internet is calling this “hyperpop,” which sounds like one of those invented genres without a clear lane of its own. (I know, I know… every genre is invented!). Whatever it is, the beat is quite addictive.

I spend a lot of review space harping on HYBE’s awful vocal effects, but for whatever reason this approach works better for TXT than it does BTS or ENHYPEN. Frost’s vocals are warped extensively, but they’re all the stronger for it. The song has a claustrophobic, otherworldly atmosphere, so I wouldn’t expect a classic pop vocal. I like how tortured the guys’ performance sounds. Their emotion cuts through the effects, and that’s an important distinction when comparing them to other groups. The shout/sung chorus is arresting, despite its hesitance to embrace full-blown melody. It bites just as hard as the groove, making this a surprisingly dark standout in an otherwise buoyant discography.

 Hooks 9
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

23 thoughts on “Song Review: TXT – Frost

  1. this is one of my favorite TXT songs and I listened to this so much back when the album came out.

    The chorus vocal performance is pretty awesome. lol but I recently got into some comment beef where someone said TXT had no edge, but I really think this track has a genuine edge. I can hear it!

    The hyperpop classification is definitely elusive, but I do think it’s a catchall term for a noisey, arty bass music.
    Sophie & Charli XCX’s “Vroom Vroom” is definitely for me the defining hyperpop song, but PC Music (label including AG Cook, Hannah Diamond, Danny L Harle, + more ) laid the groundwork. Grimes too, in a way. Newer artists like 100 Gecs, Dorian Electra, Rina Sawayama, Magdelena Bay, and many others are leading the charge now. Sometimes it’s just noisy sound design but sometimes it’s really mind-bogglingly awesome. Lots of pots and pans percussion, genre switch-ups and whomp whomp whoomp synth’s that aren’t quite dubsteppy.

    Aespa’s “Savage” is the most notable hyperpop influenced titled track, but other k-pop artists have dabbled…including an ITZY b-side, “24 hours” produced by Sophie.
    I expect to see more…but I don’t think it’ll be a ubiquitous trend like trap, tropical or deep house.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Amusingly when I saw a frost video was coming you were one of the first people I thought of, since you debated on making this a buried treasure because it might be promoted. You had good instincts! LOL

    Also, from the lack of mentioning Wonho’s self composed japanese debut track in a review I’m guessing it didn’t strike your fancy. (I like it and it’s cute – plus the video is literally him being boyfriend goals – but I’d understand if it didn’t)

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    • Yeah, I’m slightly more discerning on which ‘Japanese releases by K-pop artists’ I write about, and this one didn’t leave a big enough impression in a week already stuffed with comebacks. It’s fine, but too slow for me.

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  3. Ehhh, I don’t know. TXT grew on me A LOT through promotions for “Loser=Lover” but I’m not sure this style is for me. We’ll see if that changes.

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  4. Hyperpop is basically using more jarring sounds to form a cohesive song. Though this comes near, I wouldn’t classify it so. this is more of glitchy edm, almost a subgenre of hyperpop. Even Enhypen’s recent b-side ‘Blockbuster’ dabbles on hyperpop for its verses.

    Anyway, this song brings that awesome warped texture and the hooks are great. Their voices sound so distinct and pulled rough at the edges.

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      • Good luck on that haha. Not a lot of songs were interesting this month (loved Ghost!… Maybe not Frost though).

        On an unrelated note, Pixy’s Bewitched is actually getting an MV on Halloween, perfect time if you ask me. It is a title track though, and probably getting promoted… does it count for the monthly wrap-up? Geniunely curious about this one.

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  5. Ah, so, here it is! Dies jahrige gesamtkunstwerk!
    The one that usually comes around in July, but this year its October.

    I don’t know what cinematic style they are imitating here. They always have had a dream sequence other worldy element to the annual event. I can’t pin the source for this one down like the previous years, other than the same with a more contemporary flair, creepy tent with creepy guy with tarot cards cueing the journeys.

    I am going to say Yes!

    However

    I think they have leaned even more into the production, especially the vocal production. There is ample space and structure for it, they just chose to leave it very safe. The low hanging fruit:
    1) “Really really lost my mind” has a light edge but every time it repeats its the same fry edge, starts at say 90% intensity and stays there every time, instead of starting at 50% intensity and building.

    2) the chorus G#4 G4 simple theme, starts at 1:37. It repeats a lot, and always at the same intensity. This line is just begging for a change up. Start it as is. Then make it growly, creepy whisper, shouting, screaming, super fry, deliberately off key, microtonality, saw tooth attacks on the consonants, slide up into it, slide down off of it, barely contained rage, all of the above in turns. Tell the story just through intonation.

    3) The song is begging for a real percussionist. I like the pots and pans and chopsticks on tin cans sounds. But its all so crafted and copy paste. The outro in particular is just begging for more, instead its just the same with the vocal line dropped out.

    This is where I usually mention Stewart Copeland (of the Police, yanno Sting’s old band). I found this one just now of “Wrapped around your finger”, percussion focus, and its a great find! ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmBdz1txGSo

    But what I was really was looking for was “Synchronicity II”, so here is the that from that same concert. Listen how much sound and space just three instruments and one voice can fill with a well-crafted song. Most of that is coming from the percussion just going all out with so much variations and little touches here and there within the same song.

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  6. I like this better than any other TXT song I’ve heard since Blue Hour. Reminds me a bit of if Linkin Park were listening to Killing Joke, the Cure, or Shriekback heavily instead of whatever it was they were into. (I know what they were into, so hush.)

    Weirdly, it’s a cool little partner song to Hot Sauce (which I still love, ya meanies). It now beats Not For Sale as my favorite HYBEhit song of the year so far.

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  7. I liked the song. Although, I can’t say I am a big fan of this kind of singing, it fit the song pretty well. I loved how you used the word “claustrophobic”, thats exactly how I felt too and I actually liked it. But the thing I love the most about this is how Hybe is trying to build a distinctive identity for TXT. It is just so refreshing compared to other fourth gen groups. I hope with time, they’ll perfect it.

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  8. This might actually be my least favorite song from the album. But that’s not saying much— it’s a really strong album.

    My dream would be to see New Rules get the full MV treatment. I adore that song and I know it was a hit domestically too!

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    • *** I meant to say No Rules. Ah TXT and their confusing song titles strike again. This is an instance where I don’t mind it though. The lyrical parallels between New Rules and No Rules are really, really cool.

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  9. Innovative and fresh air to the industry. What can I say? I love the uniqueness of this song. Everything slap, lyrics, melodies, vibe, everything …

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  10. This is so awesome! I always think I should check out TXT’s discography in full since I already like a few songs of theirs, and I think I’ll do it after this

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