2021 represented TXT‘s musical breakout, with their work ascending through a combination of pop rock and hyperpop bangers, and their releases making them among my favorite of the year. Now they’re back in 2022 with “Good Boy Gone Bad” and have to deal with living up to the hype of raised expectations in what is effectively the start of their primes, and so far it’s off to a quality start.
“Good Boy Gone Bad” shares some similarities with the generically noisy and aggressive posturing of that’s all the trend for boy groups nowadays, but TXT thankfully manage to elevate themselves above that by sticking to the rock-inspired sounds they developed last year and adding a fresh bounce to the hip-hop foundation. Those two elements help to set the tone for the listener early in terms of appeal.
Eventually it transitions to a calmer pre-chorus, switching up the tempo to build tension like a lot of the best pop-rock tracks do, releasing into a rock-fueled, fleshed-out chorus that brings a ton of energy and is subtly hook-y due to the addictive beat. In a lot of ways, TXT utilize a similar formula to the one that has made Dreamcatcher releases so appealing to me, though it would’ve been nice to have them cap the chorus off with a vocal run, not unlike what they utilized in their best from last year.
As a bonus, their lore of sorts is connected to their last series of releases, as the group transition from basically coping to lashing out in a way, also representing the group’s own transition from cloying tracks like “Cat & Dog” to this, with the lyrics even amusingly name-checking the switch with lines like “my tail wagged at you, that’s my past”. It’s the kind of thing that their predecessors did so well, and it helps give TXT’s concepts a sense of depth beyond the norm.
That said, it’s not perfect. It remains to be seen whether the lyrical repetition in the chorus and post ages well or not, as the vocal-centric bridge was desperately needed to break that aspect up. I also miss the aggressive half-yelling, half-singing grit of their 2021 vocals. They sound clean most of the time and presumably sing it technically correct, which is exactly what leaves me comparatively wanting, especially if they’re conceptually delivering something grimy.
Of course, those concerns are more a question of whether “Good Boy Gone Bad” ends up as great (like “0X1=LOVESONG” & “LOSER=LOVER”) or just good (most likely), but either way they’ve managed to transition to taking a darker path while still managing to keep things melodically-centered enough for pop sensibilities. Something I’ve learned over the last couple years is apparently a lot harder for groups to do than it would seem.
TXT are clearly ascending now, doing extremely well physically but not really getting the deserved public reception for their music yet. There’s nothing this dumb blog can do about that, but I can say they’ve consistently released quality singles for the last 18 months or so and “Good Boy Gone Bad” is another feather in their cap.