The K-pop industry must finally be moving at rate so fast that I can’t keep up. I hadn’t even heard of NewJeans until today. This is even more surprising when you realize they’re debuting under a subsidiary of HYBE, our new overlords of K-pop. Between partnerships and audition shows and subsidiaries, the HYBE empire threatens to buckle under its own weight. Hopefully this won’t become a “quantity over quality” situation.
Anyway, NewJeans hale from the newly-established ADOR label. The group is made up of trainees discovered through 2019’s “Plus Global Audition” (another venture I’d never heard of). Following on the heels of May’s LE SSERAFIM debut, HYBE Labels is quickly making up for its lack of girl groups. Their challenge will be establishing a unique musical identity for each group, but judging by the laid-back debut (pre-debut?) single Attention, NewJeans’ potential is there. Having former SM creative director Min Heejin in their corner certainly helps.
There’s something to be said about emerging with a more subdued track. Hey, it worked for SHINee! Attention doesn’t burst right out of the gate, but its insistent beat keeps the song aloft. The production feels very mid-00’s pop/r&b and this straightforward nature is appreciated. There’s not too much of a song thrown over the top, but Attention does a nice job spotlighting the group’s vocals. NewJeans aren’t saddled with the overbearing vocal effects that plague many of HYBE’s male acts, and it’s a joy to hear their harmonized blend during Attention’s wisp of a hook. There’s an ease to the groove and delivery that should play well over time. Apparently, this is only the first music video in a series of releases leading up to NewJeans’ debut EP on August 8th. I’m eager to see what they deliver next!