TXT (Tomorrow x Together) made its debut in 2019 with high expectations, not least because they were the long-awaited juniors from BTS. They did not disappoint and showed their youthful charm and impressive dance skills in one catchy release after the other. They're back to start their second year in the industry with EP The Dream Chapter: Eternity and their lead single "Can’t You See Me?" To start.
"Can not you see me?" follows in the footsteps of her previous title tracks and focuses on young friendship. "Crown" and "Run Away" both highlighted the joys of youthful ties and the way friendship can be a haven in the storm of youthful turmoil. "Can not you see me?" examines another scenario in which friendship has become a source of teenage anxiety that once alleviated it. By constantly contrasting innocent and threatening pictures in his MV: "Can't you see me?" paints a compelling portrait of the volatility of youthful emotions and how this can make even the most lasting youthful friendships fragile.
The main story of the MV is about the TXT members who come to us SoobinHouse to rest. At first glance, it seems like a happy and normal get-together when TXT stocks laugh as they mess around. But soon her smile starts to slip and the pictures become more and more threatening. Fire, scowls and a dominance of red penetrate the previously heartwarming scene. What went wrong with TXT's youthful friendship?
The opening lines of "Can't you see me?" Explain the situation:
I am yours, you are mine. Secrets of the world
This eternal promise was like magic
Our Scintilla bloomed under the starlight
Now see her burn in the fire
Turned into ruins, our memories into ashes
Once TXT had a deep friendship. Together they built a special connection that should last forever and created a "scintilla" – a synonym for sparks. A spark is precious and full of possibilities, but also fragile and easy to extinguish. TXT's friendship has proven to be the same.
Exactly what exactly TXT's relationship tested is never explained, but it is clear that it negatively impacted their bond. Their previous closeness only serves to exacerbate the feeling of betrayal and disappointment at TXT. They call the title question, "Can't you see me?" and repeat bitterly, "Friends don't understand me, don't understand me anymore" in each chorus and express their fear physically through the song's intense, almost violent choreography.
TXT's strong emotional response to her friendship problems is understandable, but can also be reinforced by her youth. Neuroscience shows that adolescents tend to have dramatic mood swings. TXT expresses this youthful intensity and volatility of the feeling in the MV with images that change abruptly from innocent to threatening. TXT happily bakes cookies, but the flame-filled oven frames them as they eat the fruits of their labor, creating a strangely threatening picture. A playful pillow fight between Beomgyu and Taehyun instantly turns into something that looks suspiciously like an attempted murder by suffocation. TXT's feelings of despair are so strong that they can penetrate even the most harmless situation and corrupt them.
The most striking recurring images in the MV include tomatoes and strawberries, which are crushed, squeezed and thrown everywhere in a boisterous food fight. The resulting picture is cruel because the red spots covering the house and members have a remarkable resemblance to blood. However, these fruits are ultimately harmless weapons. This paradox points to the MV's ambiguous stance on the seriousness and longevity of TXT's friendship problems.
On the one hand, the lyrics speak for a depth of emotional distress that feels significant, and this is underpinned by the predominance of disturbing images in the MV and the overall dark tone of the song. In contrast, some of the lyrics feel almost melodramatic in intensity, like something you would shout out in a temper tantrum that would soon fade away. In addition, the dramatic nature of adolescent emotions highlighted in the MV could potentially lead to a situation in which a small incident is disproportionate, resulting in an intense but temporary outbreak of negative feelings.
The constant coexistence of innocent and threatening images could serve as evidence for both perspectives. In the second chorus, shots of TXT sitting happily together in the sun are interrupted with darker images. This could mean that TXT remembers better times in their agonizing moments, or it could indicate that these turbulences are temporary and TXT will soon be happy again. The fact that the MV never answers this question definitively is to his advantage and enables him to draw a comprehensive picture of the volatility and complexity of youthful emotions and consequently youthful ties.
Like their famous seniors at Big hit entertainment Once TXT built a fictional universe and created a collection of symbols and stories that flow from one MV to the next. The opening of "Can't you see me?" Positions the MV firmly in this universe by playing a scene from “Run Away” on the pages of a book.
Still, and the current continuity that emerges from the study of youthful friendship, some might argue that "can't you see me?" is a significant variation for TXT. The group is well known for their youthful, carefree exuberance and "Can't you see me" is an undeniably moody and dark experience. In reality: "Can't you see me?" just leans into the dark undertones that have always been part of TXT's work.
"Krone" may be musically the definition of cheerful, but lyrically it addresses topics such as isolation, fear of change and self-loathing. These issues appear frequently in the rest of the TXT discography. TXT's earlier MVs aren't just sunshine and giggles. "Nap of a Star", one of the group's most impressive MVs, has hidden moments of true brutality in his fantastic images. TXT throws moments of visual strangeness into all of their MVs and gives even their sugar-sweet excursions a fascinating advantage. These tonal contrasts that appear in "Can't you see me?" To be shown completely makes sense for a group whose main theme is the experience of young people. After all, youth is a time of intense joy and unbearable agony.
Unfortunately, "Can't you see me?" This also applies to TXT's tendency to choose a "more is more" approach for their MVs, in which visual images and symbols are piled up with dedication. Sometimes this method works surprisingly, like the impressive chaos of the MV "Run Away". More often this leads to a fascinating but ultimately disappointing product like the MV for "Cat & Dog". "Can not you see me?" is mostly successful in managing his many different visual pieces, but there are moments when so much happens at once, it becomes overwhelming and the images start to get confusing instead of supporting the narrative.
"Can not you see me?" is an impressive chapter in TXT's youth narrative that feels absolutely fresh, both fresh and the group's established identity. In its short run of four minutes, the MV memorably sums up the strong, often fleeting emotions that define youth, and makes youthful friendships as fragile as they are precious. It will be exciting to see where TXT's youthful journey takes her next.
(Psychology Today, Merriam-Webster, NPR, YouTube. Text on YouTube. Pictures on Big Hit Entertainment)