Someone once said that Gen Zs are essentially a bunch of people with suicidal tendencies reassuring each other to keep on surviving, knowing their planet might be gone by the time they have their kids, that is if they want kids at all. We live as natives to advanced technologies such as androids and the internet, giving our generation little to zero references of usable advice or guidance from our previous generation. The world has become much simpler yet more complicated at the same time, and neither time nor our society’s expectations for their youth seem to slow down to at least attempt to understand.
What may seem to just be a “rebellious stage” to parents, can turn out to be the most painful time to be alive for a teenager. In crucial times of growth where one’s emotions seem to double in intensity, with a lack of guidance and understanding from people surrounding a teenager or a young adult, and the added stress of how fast and demanding the world is thanks to the advancement of technology, many of us tend to run from ourselves, far from where the harsh realities of the world won’t find us. It’s easy to fall into a pit of loneliness and isolation, thinking that we are alone in what we experience and resenting the world for it.
This is what makes the K-Pop band Tomorrow X Together or known as TXT’s creative works so drawing to many young people. Their songs and lyrics talk so much about the universal issues that we as young people face, but are rarely even discussed, making us feel seen. In the three years that they have been making music, they’ve established themselves as a band that “tells the story of what their generation feels” in a style that only TXT can pull off.
But it’s not just the things they creatively produce and perform that speak their messages. Referencing a Vlive live stream that Choi Yeonjun, the oldest member of TXT did on August 14, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, tweeted about a segment of Yeonjun’s positive and uplifting message to his fans. In that part of the live stream, Yeonjun was addressing a viewer that says that they feel ashamed for asking him how to not be sad, telling that viewer that there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Yeonjun continued to tell the viewers to not feel ashamed for feeling sad, to find more positive things to do in order to cope with the sadness, and to find comfort in trusting someone to tell your sadness to. In his tweet, the director-general agrees strongly and echoes Yeonjun’s message.
Two of the 2002-born members, Kang Taehyun and Huening Kai, had the chance to become radio DJs at the South Korean station EBS, hosting their own weekly programme called “Listen” for a few months. In that programme, the two youngest members of the group listened to stories submitted by their young viewers in hopes to respond with advice and sympathy, telling their own similar stories and experiences without trying to be “preachy”. In one segment, Taehyun once told one listener to “not be too caught up in studying” in response to their story of burnout, which made the other two DJs speechless since it was not a typical advice to give from an idol.
The band itself is pretty vocal about not being too caught up with academic successes, whilst still being supportive to their fans who want to pursue academic successes. In a variety show where the members were asked to give a message to their younger selves, Choi Beomgyu told himself to not worry too much about his English courses and “go play”. He wished that his younger self had enjoyed the times when he could play with his friends to his heart’s content, so that he wouldn’t have any regrets in the future. In a very popular clip of his livestream, leader Choi Soobin expressed his disdain for mathematics and any school subjects in general in his ASMR mukbang show. This is of course contrary to the recent info from his old high school revealing how he was actually a very great achiever in academics.
The persona that TXT has established in front of their fans and to the public makes them reachable and, dare I say, very relatable. In a way, they lack the filter of a “good role model” that is usually assigned to idol groups such as themselves. In their most recent media showcase and press conference for their repackaged album “The Chaos Chapter: Fight or Escape”, the band expresses that their main focus is to always be consistent in their sincerity in order to maintain the achievements they have achieved throughout their career and following their previous album “The Chaos Chapter Freeze”, which got number five on Billboard 200. This sincerity is what draws so many fans to them as what they express, both with and without their music, as their messages resonate throughout many people their age.
TXT never stays within a genre, or a concept, even their storyline is all jumbled in timeline. They never stick to a formula or trends. Their performances during award shows are usually the most memorable for their own unexpected twists, as they play with people’s expectations. Their sincerity is their identity, as they tell the timeless story of youth and growth, becoming friends and comfort to their listeners and fans.