TVXQ deliver another cool and cohesive album with, New Chapter #2: The Truth of Love. The album mainly consists of R&B tracks with a touch of jazz and pop. Lyrically, there isn’t anything remarkable about the album but it’s a change of pace from what’s trending in K-pop.
The album starts off with its lead single, “Truth,” which is a mellow jazz-inspired song done with a mostly falsetto voice. The song is just as chill as the beat with lyrics about the ups and down of love. The lyrics are from the point of view of someone who remains optimistic despite having failed at love. Out of all the songs on the album, this one has the most interesting theme with its unique outlook on relationships.
Next is “Sooner Than Later” which features the rapper, The Quiett. Unlike the first single, this song expresses desperation and regret. The lyrics suggest a lover has moved on, but the speaker of the song is still clinging on. The Quiett uses autotune to deliver a quick rap that blends into the song well. The song surprisingly offers a more disco-themed dance beat. In fact, despite the lyrics full of angst, you’d hardly know it with how upbeat the song sounds.
TVXQ slows it down again with an R&B track called “Jelly Love.” This song is about the initial state of excitement when seeing your romantic partner for the first time. It’s a bit overly-romanticized with its lyrics as the speaker of the song plays on the theme of “love at first sight.” With an album about “truth,” the songs tend to more fantastical than realistic:
In the stopped time
In our hearts connected together
We are becoming one
Next on the album is a more upbeat pop song that sounds exactly what its title suggests. “Morning Sun” is full of positivity and liveliness with a tempo you can dance to. The song is about being in love and waking up next to that person every day. Once again, while the lyrics are generic the song stands out on its own with its peppy tune.
“City Lights” is a solo song by U-Know with Taeyong (NCT) as the featured rapper. U-know sings with a whispery and seductive tone with its equally suggestive lyrics. Despite having simplistic lines, Taeyong gives a lively performance that stands out and gives the song a unique pop of energy. Although it’s missing Changmin, “City Lights” is one of the best songs on this album.
Changmin also brings his all on his solo track titled, “Beautiful Stranger.” The song is a ballad that starts off soft with a piano intro. It then gets an addition of strings and starts picking the pace as Changmin delivers each line with passion. Like “Jelly Love” this is about “love at first sight” although it’s lyrically more elegant. The speaker of the song suggests they’re in a dark place until the beauty of the stranger they meet changes their perspective.
In the deep darkness where it’s hard to see
The small flower that blooms, stumbling
Is this beautiful
In the old wilted memories
The smile that blooms faintly just once
The album finishes with the ballad, “Circle,” which is about a couple being there for each other through the highs and lows of the relationship. The circle is a metaphor for a couple that always find their way back around to each other. This is a nice song to end on because of its lively beat and positive message but it’s one of the duller songs on the album.
TVXQ’s album carries a theme of love–which isn’t anything groundbreaking. However, TVXQ isn’t jumping on trends and stays consistent with a more mellow R&B pop album. Despite having generic lyrics with an overused topic, the album isn’t boring and keeps itself intriguing with its jazz vibes. By not sounding like everything that’s popular in K-pop right now, TVXQ is able to remain relevant. Although it’d be great to hear them also tackle more interesting lyrics, TVXQ still presented a well put together album.