[Review] OMG – NewJeans

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.

As mentioned in the previous review for NewJean’s Ditto, I will also be covering the group’s first official comeback single, OMG, which officially dropped two days ago. This comes after the group debuted with Cookie (and pre-releases Attention and Hype Boy) in 2022, contributing to what has resulted in very intense battle for new female groups and debuts this award season in the KPOP industry.

It has been a couple of days since OMG‘s release and this short gap between release and review have really allowed me to evaluate the song and consider my thoughts on it. To me, OMG is an ‘alright’ song. I liked how NewJeans have forged themselves a unique sound in KPOP and this sound does comes through in OMG, despite the track gearing towards more mainstream pop and hip-hop influences. I enjoyed the upbeat nature of the instrumental, which comes to life as a result of the percussive and trap elements. NewJeans also sounds quite nice throughout the song. Their vocals really show off a youthful appearance compared to their previous releases and the brightness really cuts through the over-consistency that OMG was potentially heading in. What really held OMG back, for me, is the lack of a memorable element of some kind. Despite the number of listens of OMG over the last few days, I have failed to notice anything that really capture my attention and makes the song stay in my mind once the song ends. This is quite disappointing given the hype leading to OMG. Had the song had something more memorable to it, OMG could have ringed through. But because there isn’t a memorable ring or tinge to the song, I am not convinced that this is their greatest track. That being said, OMG had some pretty big shoes to fill following the likes the Attention and Hype Boy.

When I watch the music video for OMG, I can’t help but wonder whether the friends who Heesoo supposedly lost from the Ditto music videos (according to my theory) were sent to the asylum. When I wrote that storyline up based on what I saw, I hadn’t considered the events of OMG. But now watching the OMG’s music video and also considering how the school scenes were included as part of the performance videos, I am leaning towards a change my storyline – that Heesoo’s friends were sent to the asylum. The video also includes a bit of a twist towards the end, with the friends reminding themselves that they are actually NewJeans, which might also further alter the story theory I wrote for the Ditto music video. I quite liked the rewind montage that follows and the addition of a snippet of Attention to the video. Apart from that, I liked how they tackled the topic of mental health. It can be quite touchy topic, but my first impression of NewJean’s take was that it is light, felt liberating, and refreshing, which is much different to the more usual serious tone mental health garners in Western media.

I quite enjoyed the 90s touch some of their outfits had. It probably will be a case of regret in the future when NewJeans attempts more mature concepts, but it works really well at this point in time. As for the choreography, I really enjoyed the whole chorus sequence of the routine. Dubbed as the ‘OMG and crab dance’ according to the 1theKILLPO video, I do find the second half of the sequence to be more impressive, with the synchronisation and execution leaving me floored.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10

[Review] Ditto – NewJeans

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

[Review] Hype Boy – NewJeans

NewJeans is nominated for Best New Female Group, Best R&B Song (for Attention) and Best Group Performance (Female – for Hype Boy) in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support NewJeans, as well as you other favourite songs, artists and performances by clicking here to vote today.

In addition to Attention, NewJeans also pre-released another single prior to the release of their NewJeans mini-album and their official debut single, Cookie. The single in question (and the focus of this review) is Hype Boy, which ended up going viral in South Korea for their choreography for the track.

Just like Attention, I didn’t pay much attention to Hype Boy when it was first released. I only started to pick up on the pop song as its performance started to go viral and was continuously covered by other artists. Since then, I have grown accustomed to the song and quite enjoy it. Structurally, it is a fairly simple song, made up of 2 sets of alternating verses and choruses. The producers chose to make the verses and choruses consistent and repetitive, which really helps make Hype Boy memorable. But there is more to the song that makes it memorable. Hype Boy begins with this interesting warped synth loop, which I still find quite intriguing. Similar (can’t tell if they are the same) warped synths present itself in the chorus, creating an equally interesting backdrop to the chorus. In addition to the warped synth, the chorus also features a heavier dose of percussion (in comparison to the verses), bright vocals and a unique and vibrant melody that just pulls you into the song. Together, the chorus ends up being quite an ear-catching central piece to the song. As for the rest of Hype Boy, there were some really good melodies and a strong showing from the members in the vocal department. But as the main attraction of Hype Boy was very much the chorus, you don’t really remember much from the verses. However, I did like the descending pre-chorus melody that led into the chorus. Overall, Hype Boy is short, simple and memorable.

As far as I can tell, there are four music videos and 2 performance versions for Hype Boy‘s promotion. I guess watching all of this would repeat the song enough times to have it literally engraved into your mind. Each music video tells a story that is centric to one or two members. The first video to be released focused on Minji, who falls in love with a friendly guy and changes herself so that he pays attention to her more. But in the end, he doesn’t remember who she is. The next video features a story line that focuses on Danielle and Haerin, who both fall in love with the same guy and he ends up two-timing the pair, ultimately lead the girls to choosing friendship over a relationship with the same guy. The third video features Hyein, who falls for a guy who ends up making fun of her and her group. The final video focuses on Hanni, who falls for someone over the internet, but it is not who she had expected. All of these videos feature a central theme of falling in love with a hype boy, but it just doesn’t pan out the way they had expected it to be in their head. I liked how each video converged onto one party, despite it all can be viewed as standalone. A really cool and unique concept.

The dance for Hype Boy is probably the most viral aspect in KPOP in 2022. Everyone was dancing it at one point in this year. And I don’t blame them. The entire chorus routine looks super cool (I will not attempt to name the move or describe it, as I just won’t do it justice), and the members bring a refreshing energy to the performance, making it addictive to watch. Altogether, it made me nominate Hype Boy for Best Group Choreography for female groups in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.2/10

[Review] Attention – NewJeans

NewJeans is nominated for Best New Female Group, Best R&B Song (for Attention) and Best Group Performance (Female – for HypeBoy) in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support NewJeans, as well as you other favourite songs, artists and performances by clicking here to vote today.

I am finally getting around to reviewing more songs from NewJeans. For those who have missed their debut, they officially kicked off their career back in July of this year through the release of their third single Cookie and self-titled mini-album. But ahead of the release of Cookie, NewJeans also pre-released a number of singles. One of them is Attention, which (if we are speaking in chronological order) was NewJeans first release. It was an unexpected one, as the music video for Attention dropped without notification, to the surprise of fans and new listeners alike.

Personally, I didn’t pay attention it it as much when Attention was first released. But over the last few months, my attention for Attention has really picked up. So much so that Attention is currently being nominated for Best R&B song in the 2022 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. When you first tune into Attention, you don’t get a sense that the track is actually an R&B track. The choppy sound effect at the start of the song (which reminds me of a crowd of some kind) seems like the start of something pop-like. But when more of the dreamy style instrumental start filtering in, I find Attention starts too smooth out like an R&B track. A more pop energy comes through the instrumental as Attention progresses. Altogether, you get a pretty chill and wispy track. When the vocals start and as the song progresses, everything becomes subdued and I quite enjoyed this effect. There was a nice display of vocals skills for the new group, and the melodies had a memorable tinge to it. But the highlight of Attention comes during the opening line of the chorus, when the members beautifully drag out the ‘Attention‘ in “You got me looking for attention“. At the time of release, I didn’t think much of it. But as time went on, it just more stunning. Attention does repeat itself and all the elements that I have describe, but I just haven’t seem to gotten to that point where I have gotten bored of the song. A great hallmark for any song. Overall, Attention has stole my attention (pun intended) and I really enjoy the track to this day.

I am not exactly troubled by the fact the group is very young, but I am not exactly sure if the concert at a bar is the best place to start off their first music video. It seems a bit questionable, in my opinion. But hey, I will leave the production to the producer. They clearly have a plan in mind. All the other scenes in the video, with the members getting ready for the day and spending the day shopping, was perfectly fine. The choreography scenes in and around the stadium looked good and fits the chill vibe of the song (no flashing lights, no boxed or studio sets). Everything was lowkey and this worked well with the song.

The choreography for this comeback was pretty good. Nothing too crazy, with smoothness being a priority in this routine to match the smoothness that comes from the song. I did liked how the outstretched arms and hair flicks accentuates the opening line of the chorus.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Review] Cookie – NewJeans

It is a new week. And it all starts with the debut of a new group. NewJeans is the group’s name, and they are a five member female group from ADOR, a subsidiary of HYBE. The lineup consist of Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin, Hyein. NewJeans previously released music videos for Attention, Hype Boy (multiple videos in this case) and Hurt. A review for each of these songs/videos (and a hybrid review for Hype Boy) will be posted in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for that. But for now, here is my review for the group’s debut track, Cookie.

First impression of Cookie is that the song is rather flat. I appreciate that the group is doing something different, avoiding the cliches of cutesy sounds or girl crush concepts. The new group went with a minimalistic approach with Cookie. While minimalistic approaches have been praised on my blog before, I felt the same praise could not be applied to Cookie. The feeling I should have got from Cookie was new and/or refreshing. I also expected a track that had more oomph or changed momentum once in a while. Instead, we are provided with a box with limited amounts of fat synths, trap elements and a paced beat. It didn’t go anything further, which is the source of my frustration. There was a bit of a change at the bridge of Cookie, which inserted some dynamic energy. But that was pretty relative and short-lived. Vocal wise, I didn’t get anything impressive out of Cookie. However, I do find the mature vibes and the cutesy lyrics to be an interesting and abstract combination, and the vocal work is charming. To avoid an overwhelming song, I liked that the hooks weren’t too bold or stood out too much. This complimented the minimalistic style in which Cookie was aiming for and paired well with the vocals. I wished there was more to the song, just to give NewJeans that launch they need to show KPOP their potential.

While the minimalistic vibes of the song didn’t work, I enjoyed the minimalistic aspects of Cookie‘s music video. There wasn’t too much to the video. The most we got were some CGI during the bridge, and a large cookie/CD rolling in the background. Other than that, we got a very big room and a bench, which was utilized in the performance. Interestingly, the video was shot in a way where the sets did not feel empty or spacious, despite it clearly being empty and spacious. Clever. I also liked the retro tinge we got from the visuals in the video, which helped add a bit more substance to the video than had it been without it.

Performance-wise, the choreography looked great. It wasn’t too energetic, but it wasn’t a drag, as well. I did enjoy the dance break that we got, which help provide a bit more energy to the entire comeback package that is Cookie. I also like the hip and cool vibe the member brought to the performance, which helped make it engaging for me to watch from start to end each time.

Song – 6.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10