Music

Why TOMORROW x TOGETHER’s 'Ice Cream' is the Underrated Song of the Summer

The five-piece K-Pop band’s summer pop bop is the unexpected anthem you never knew you needed.
TOMORROW x TOGETHER for Concept 1 ‘World Version’ of The Chaos Chapter: Freeze. Photo copyright Big Hit Music.
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Why TOMORROW x TOGETHER’s 'Ice Cream' is the Underrated Song of the Summer
‘I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream…’

At first it sounds like a playground chant, a chorus that seems borne out of a few seconds of offhand wordplay in the early hours of the morning.

I’ll admit that I cringed just a little when I heard that chorus for the first time, and alongside the sugary-pop beats of the song, this made Ice Cream — track four on TOMORROW x TOGETHER’s newest album The Chaos Chapter: Freeze — pale in comparison when compared to the LPs other brilliant offerings.

But if there’s something TOMORROW x TOGETHER does not do, it’s a filler track.

TOMORROW x TOGETHER for Concept 1 ‘World Version’ of The Chaos Chapter: Freeze. Photo copyright Big Hit Music.
TOMORROW x TOGETHER for Concept 1 ‘World Version’ of The Chaos Chapter: Freeze. Photo copyright Big Hit Music.

For the casual listener that might not delve into song lyrics, an offhand spin of Ice Cream would get them missing thoughts such as these:

‘I feel like I’m the only one that’s been robbed
It’s unfair
So everything shall be doomed
For my slightly mean wish
I’m going to pray for being able to do small evil things
Secretly, secretly with my heart’

and

‘All day long tick, tick, tick, tick
Like this I beg, beg, beg
By myself, for empty wishes every single day, day, day
Let’s all be doomed, let’s all be doomed’

Not quite as sugary sweet as the song title suggests.

Key here is the song’s Korean title 소악행, roughly translated as Small Yet Evil Deeds. A deep dive into the lyrics gets you into the mind of someone lost, wanting life to be better, trapped seeing others apparently having a great time and as a result, feeling completely powerless no matter how hard you try. In those most desperately unhappy moments sometimes all one can do is rant and channel your frustration at the people that seem to have it better than you. The song wants to remind you you’re not alone in your anger. It’s okay to have those moments of bitterness.

‘I’m going to pray to be able do small evil things.’

At the beginning of the song they compare ice cream to the happiness so many try to chase, talking about how people put up an image of perfection or goodness like we see all over social media networks. Which of us, during those times when we’ve put on a mask, have not felt the need to do something a little bit mischievous, even if it’s just staying up an extra hour to watch webtoons?

‘I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.’

Instead of a sugary-sweet pop song about love for one of the planet’s most popular desserts, TOMORROW x TOGETHER has instead given us a commentary on the frustrations of life, and just as importantly, the need to recognise and not be ashamed of those not-so-good moments when you just don’t want to smile all the damn time.

TOMORROW x TOGETHER for Concept 1 ‘World Version’ of The Chaos Chapter: Freeze. Photo copyright Big Hit Music.
TOMORROW x TOGETHER for Concept 1 ‘World Version’ of The Chaos Chapter: Freeze. Photo: Big Hit Music.

Should we be so surprised that such a song comes from TOMORROW x TOGETHER? They’re the musical equivalent of Wonderland, where beneath all the colour, fantasy and magic there is a darker undercurrent that always makes you question if the Cheshire Cat’s out to get you with those pointy teeth. It’s a quality that runs through their entire discography to date, the fusion of glitter-tinged wonder with dark internal commentary that allows them to pull off even the most saccharine songs with aplomb. Tim Burton would love them.

Every time I play Ice Cream now, I can’t help but get chills when I hear Yeonjun sing about the tick-tick-ticking of the clock in the pre-chorus or feel that when I hear the chant of ‘I scream, you scream’, that I can truly scream out all my frustrations alongside them.

So the next time you listen to The Chaos Chapter: Freeze and get caught up in utter bops like 0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You) feat. Seori, No Rules and Magic, maybe give Ice Cream a few extra spins too.

It might end up being your new favourite anthem.

Check out The Chaos Chapter: Freeze now. TOMORROW X TOGETHER can be found on Instagram, Twitter, Spotify and most other social media and streaming channels. All translated lyrics are from Genius English Translations.

This article has been reposted from Medium with the author's permission.