I 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.