NewJeans is nominated for Best New Female Group, Best Group Choreography (Female) for Hype Boy and Best R&B Song for Attention in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support NewJeans and all your other favourite artists, songs and performances before voting closes this Friday by clicking here to vote.
The first two official reviews of 2023 belongs to NewJeans, one of the new female groups who literally took over 2022 with a series of releases including Attention, Hype Boy and Cookie. And judging by the digital charts at the time of writing this review, it looks like 2023 is also on their radar for a take-over, as well. The first review tackles their recent pre-release single, Ditto, which was actually released in the final weeks of the 2022. It was released in preparation for their early 2023 comeback, which officially dropped yesterday. And you guessed it, I will be covering OMG in my next review tomorrow.
While I did check out the new song while I was on break, I didn’t pay much attention to it and haven’t formed an opinion on Ditto until today. But I am happy to report upon further consideration today for this review, I quite enjoyed Ditto. The song just feels so atmospheric and dreamy with its lo-fi approach, making it hard to dislike the song. The smoothness of NewJeans vocals pairs extremely well with that same atmospheric and dreamy nature of Ditto, and helped make it become such a captivating piece. The melodies also build on this and have a memorable ring to them, which just adds more substance to the song. And while it was rather subtle, there is enough bass and percussion in Ditto to help keep it slightly upbeat and riveting enough to keep the song itself grounded. I also enjoyed the consistency of the bass and percussion in the song this time around, which to me added a hypnotic effect to the song that does wonders. The only thing about Ditto I am not 100% sure of at this stage is the longevity of the song. I feel like the song is designed to be quite effective in the moment, but repeat listens might just dull Ditto down. I am not tired of Ditto just yet, but it it is interesting thought to have crossed my mind whilst writing this review.
The music videos for Ditto was impressive. That’s right, the plural there signifies multiple version – two versions in the case of Ditto – Side A and Side B. Side A shows the group NewJeans as a group of friends, with a sixth member of their friendship group (Heesoo) filming the group as they go about their high school days. Interestingly, during Side A, Heesoo never appears on camera with NewJeans. As a side plot, Heesoo develops a crush on a male student. But the main story of Side A is that NewJeans might not have existed at all, and that Heesoo was only imagining their existence through the camera. Her not appearing on camera with the others adds fuel to that storyline. As for Side B, we see that Heesoo is imagining the existence of NewJeans at the school. But it is revealed in later scenes within Side B that NewJeans do exist outside of the school, and that Heesoo only watches them afar and had created NewJeans as a fantasy for her school life. We do see her drop her camera from the top of the building in Side B, which signifies the destruction of her fantasy, her growing up, which leads her to date the guy she had developed a crush on. At the end of Side B, we begin with the start of Side A (confusing, I know). The scenes on the video however do show Heesoo subtly on camera with a group of girls (but in a haunting manner, we don’t see their faces whatsoever), which leads me to suspect that the group of friends did exist at one point. But she lost them in some sort of accident (which would explain her cast). She later became deluded into thinking that the group of friends still existed and NewJeans was that friend group, but she slowly comes to terms that is not the case and comes to accept that her friends are no longer with her. It is all a bit confusing, but that is my take on the video. I really liked the 90s/early 00s aesthetic and the creepy factor that underlays parts of the video, which gives an added flavour that keeps the videos interesting.
I really liked how the choreography looks for this particular release. And this comes through many layers. Firstly, I liked how it was weaved into the music videos. Secondly, I really liked how the choreographer really embodied NewJeans youth and made it feel like teenagers were just freestyling and having some fun, rather than a set routine that feels rehearsed and refined. The subtle bounce we got added to this fun nature, in my opinion. Thirdly, NewJeans chemistry was quite cool and the smiles they shared with one another made the performance feel so much more convincing.
Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 10/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10