Few K-pop acts capture the essence of growing up – and the highs and lows that come with it – in their music like Tomorrow X Together. Throughout their four-year career, the five-piece group’s affinity for storytelling has taken listeners on a journey through their youth with debut track “Crown,” which tells the story of a boy who learns to love himself even through the growing pains of adolescence, and now to their adulthood with their fifth and latest mini album The Name Chapter: Temptation

Even as the start of a new “chapter” of albums, much of Temptation is also a return to TXT’s roots — namely, a desire to return to their youth, but also in the album’s references to stories and characters that exist in popular narratives (like Peter Pan) and adherence to the group’s more whimsical nature, as seen in earlier albums like Minisode 1: Blue Hour and The Dream Chapter: Magic. At the same time, however, Temptation is one of TXT’s most sonically experimental albums yet, as they trade the pop-rock, “Good Boy Gone Bad” musical persona they developed across minisode 2: Thursday’s Child and The Chaos Chapter: Freeze for a a diverse mix of genres they haven’t yet tackled until now. 

In typical TXT fashion, Temptation opts for a soundly-structured narrative to capture the loss of innocence that comes with moving onto adulthood, and the temptation to bask in their youth and avoid the next stage of their lives for as long as possible that comes with it. The first track on the album and the group’s second official all-English track, “Devil by the Window,” sets up the story of TXT’s dance with temptation by introducing the character of the devil, a figure who often signals impending downfall by way of temptation in biblical stories. Here, TXT come face to face with the titular character for the first time, giving into the temptation it offers them to remain in their youth for an indefinite period of time (“I met the devil by the window, traded my life/Temptation touched my tongue, spread the wings of desire”). 

Said “Devil” makes another appearance on saccharine title track “Sugar Rush Ride,” which details the result of TXT giving into its initial offer. As the sweetness of the track’s title suggests, TXT ride the sugary high of their temptations seemingly to the point of no return, only to eventually come out of it still wishing to put off the reality of their fate on “Happy Fools,” featuring rapper Coi Leray.

The final two tracks are their eventual wakeup call that pulls them away from their spiral into temptation and back to reality, however. On “Tinnitus (Wannabe a rock),” TXT quite literally wake up after a night of partying with a loud, disorienting ringing in their ears that snaps them into the realization that the “twinkling dream” of their youth isn’t mean to be:

At the end of the day, feed is a disaster

Last night was overflowing with filters 

Momentarily let out a sigh

I know that I can’t be a rockstar.

That realization leads them to full acceptance of the adult phase of their lives on the final track of Temptation, “Farewell, Neverland,” which settles TXT back in reality with explicit references to the story of Peter Pan. Like many of the group’s earlier works, “Farewell, Neverland” is playful in its references, albeit hard-hitting in its impact — much like the rest of the album, too.

Although TXT do all they can to avoid maturing throughout Temptation’s aptly-crafted narrative arc, they put their best foot forward when it comes to maturing musically. Temptation also adds a significant number of song-writing credits to each of the member’s list of growing accolades, with all five contributing to the album’s lyrics. 

Aside from “Sugar Rush Ride,” which may be Temptation’s safest and poppiest selection, each track makes a concerted effort to bring something different to the table compared to the rest of TXT’s discography and current trends in K-pop. For example, “Devil by the Window” subverts the expectations of what an all-English K-pop track typically sounds like — even when compared to TXT’s own all-English track “Magic” from The Chaos Chater: Freeze. Rather than opting for the typically poppy and radio-friendly all-English K-pop track, “Devil by the Window” is a hushed, half-eerie take on dream-pop that showcases the vocal range of all five members particularly well. “Tinnitus (Wannabe a rock)” is a rare foray from a K-pop group into the Afropop genre, and perhaps the album’s standout moment, that brings the track’s title to life by weaving cascading drums and rhythms into the melody to mimic the actual feeling of tinnitus. 

“Farewell, Neverland” tops off the album’s experimental edge neatly with Latin-inspired instrumental elements, like the pronounced acoustic guitar and prominent percussive rhythm, mixed with a ballad structure. In a slight callback to TXT’s minisode 2 era, a heavier electric guitar enters the mix later on during the track’s chorus, only now elevating the group’s sound to a more sophisticated, matured level as they leave Neverland for the realities of adulthood. 

The Name Chapter: Temptation delivers just as it promises, aiding in TXT’s quest to make a name and identity for themselves as they navigate the temptation to remain in their youth forever. Although they wish to never grow old — as so many stories tell time and time again — they manage to make such a universal narrative feel unique to their own style and story, pushing boundaries through musical experimentation even as they sing of staying in place. 

(YouTube. Lyrics via Genius. Images via HYBE.)