Remember when Beyoncé surprised everyone with an album nine years ago, changing the music industry’s way of releasing music as we knew it back then? Nothing of the sort has ever made its tread into Korean pop waters until ADOR, a subsidiary label under HYBE LABELS (you know, the one that houses the likes of BTS, SEVENTEEN, and LE SSERAFIM), surprised us all with a gift of their own.
Enter NewJeans, a five-member girl group, and the first group under the label. On July 21, 2022, their label had dropped an MV for the pre-release single “Attention” without warning. It immediately became a hot sensation, with the group’s aesthetic and overall musical vibe being trending topics of that day and the following weekend. Of course, this came without any announcement that ADOR’s hotly-rumored group was even finalized… they just DID IT.
Following suit was the real announcements: the girls would be releasing each song from their first mini-album “New Jeans“, which takes the consumer through the aesthetics of the early 00s, now that that era itself is… ahem, 20 years old (yikes, I’m old). With “New Jeans”, the girls look to grab your attention with some cookie-cut tracks, but is this mini-album worth the album, or is the listener bound to be hurt by its tracks? Let’s get on some new jeans and find out…
“Attention“, everyone, because NewJeans has come steamrolling the girl-group comeback competition.
The overall aesthetic the girls have for this mini-album, right off the bat, is the early 00s, with their simplistic look but pattern-clashing wear; however, the songs all over are of the down-played R&B of the same era, with their easy-to-digest groove. It’s not as in your face as a lot of Korean pop songs today, and it is a welcome introduction to NewJeans.
Speaking on “Attention” alone, it’s a smooth track that does have a slight jarring introduction, but once that R&B groove hits, it’s on. From its twinkly verse lines to its jazzy chorus line, “Attention” asks and receives – you’re grasped onto its hook that you can’t help but keep your attention away. It also helps that the girls have the smoothest of vocals; no one sounds off-key or terrible, and… would you look at that? I’ve already hopped on the NewJeans train. Spell it out, because these girls have got your attention. ⬛
“Hype boy” continues to the trendy 00s aesthetic, but its track is much more along the lines of tracks you’d hear of recent times; but boy, is this track just as fabulous as their first track.
Once again, I have to commend these girls for the absolutely gorgeous way they incorporate their vocals into the track, and it really just has to do with how down-played the tone of the song is. Even with its frantic instrumentals of synth and distortion throughout the background, the girls are heard and the girls are good.
The R&B vibe is so tasty, as well, with its tinges of Western pop flowing all throughout. My only quip, and I probably could also say this for both “Attention” and “Hurt”, is that it’s far too short. Clocking in at just under 3:00 minutes, this sugary sweet confection ends too soon. That said, it’s ‘chemical-like’ feel and incredibly catchy sound make “Hype boy” all worth the hype. ⬛
“Cookie” is by far my favorite song on the mini-album, definitely for its musical composition.
Lyrics aside, considering these girls are just about minors talking about having their crush come taste their cookie, “Cookie” is crafted with simplicity, that it almost seems like it’s unreal. Its simple synthy distortion over a hip-hop/R&B beat is very much along the vein of your typical Western R&B song a la Ariana Grande, but it just works so well… how do you think Ariana gets everyone turnt? It’s a formula that I am here for.
Really, the lyrics are my only gripe, and perhaps maybe I’m looking too intently on it… but it is a little suggestive; that said, “Cookie” is worth listening to for its vocal prowess and melody that will have you on a sugary high. Now, where can I get my hands on some chewy Chips Ahoy… ⬛
“Hurt” closes the album with, of course, a slow jam, and this is one that I really adore.
With its doo-wop instrumental that’s topped with a twinkly piano melody, “Hurt” continues the trendy 00s R&B style that NewJeans has gone for with their previous three tracks. It’s a beautiful track that also feels quite short, but it is still worthy of a good listen. The girls continue to showcase the impressive vocal ability they have, even at such a young age. This is an easily digestible slow jam that I might find myself listening to more often with several more listens to the album.
It only pains me now that the mini-album is over following the track. ⬛
This is an absolute recommend.
While there are some gripes I have about the lyrical content of the mini-album, “New Jeans” is a formidable effort from a group that didn’t even have much hype to begin with (for real, it was only real speculation as to when ADOR would even announce the group, let alone having a surprise ‘debut’).
“New Jeans” is definitely riding on the trendy coattails of the early 00s, of which I’m most certainly familiar, and the nostalgic, twinkly R&B sound that they are going for only cements that this is a concept they most certainly fit. I’m excited to see what other future concepts they’ll be exploring, but if this is a sound that they are most certainly associating themselves with, then consider me on board.
Each song is worthy of a listen, and even with its mature content, NewJeans have my attention, they were worth the hype, they’ve delivered some great cookie-cut tracks, and my ears aren’t hurt at all… give those new jeans a try, girl!
MUST-LISTEN: every song on the mini-album
For more NewJeans reviews, visit the archive!