Review

Song Review: NewJeans – Ditto

NewJeans - DittoLast time I reviewed a NewJeans song, we were still basking in the glow of their surprise debut. Since then, tracks like Attention and Hype Boy have gone on to define the year. It’s rare to see a K-pop group rise to fame so quickly. I’m interested in how their future music leverages that fame, and pre-release Ditto is the first taste of that next era.

Ditto adheres to the hallmarks that have made NewJeans such industry darlings. It’s a little lo-fi, a little throwback and a lot atmospheric. Like all their music, I expect it will be a grower. But, I can’t say I’m immediately grooving the way I was when I first heard Attention. Over a bed of synths and skittering percussion, the song unfolds at a languid pace. The fast-paced – almost trip-hop – beat makes an interesting contrast with the unhurried vocal melody that floats over the top. The energy is mellow, but constantly unsettled.

NewJeans’ performance compels even during the song’s quieter moments. Their vocals are reminiscent of the late-90’s/early-00’s – a pop era that’s seen renewed interest lately. Touches of harmony add texture, but throughout the bulk of Ditto the girls’ voices are placed front and center. This isn’t a showy performance, but there’s an addictive confidence in its nonchalant approach. Sometimes, it feels more like watching a drama than listening to a pop song. Time will tell if Ditto enjoys a chart run as impressive as their past singles (it’s already lodged at number one), but the track continues to build NewJeans’ unique musical world. For that alone, it’s a definite success.

Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

Grade: B


29 thoughts on “Song Review: NewJeans – Ditto

  1. What the producers did right is to deliver a mid-tempo that is that 10bpm faster than it should be, and overlay those fast 16th notes trap and claps.

    How many times this past year have I mentioned that ____ song would be faster at 1.1x. Yes, that.

    So it hits both a mid-tempo vibe while actually having a good pace to it.

    That said, it still sounds like an above average b-side to me.

    Liked by 3 people

    • This weekend, hubby was playing my old Pet Shop Boys albums. This NewJeans song here reminds me of the other tracks off the PSB debut album such as “Two Divided by Zero” and “Tonight is Forever” (link below) = Neil Tenant’s legato singing over a fast drum machine beat with their characteristic quietly subversive lyrics. It sets the tone and pace and gestalt for who they are as a group, without upstaging the main singles (eg “West End Girls” “Opportunities” “Suburbia”).

      That is what I am hearing here, is a b-side that adds to their image, but still has some depth to be a representative part of their early canon.

      Like

  2. I loved it from the beginning, including the MV, must have listened to it nearly 10x already. The beat is almost drum&bass/jungle. The MV reminds me of Borges and Cortazar, I’m quite taken with it. I’m hoping for big things from OMG, I suspect it’ll complete the storyline; and since OMG is the A-side, the Cortazar analogy might hold up (aka Hopscotch).

    Liked by 2 people

    • – by Borges and Cortazar, I meant their short stories in particular, their interests in doppelgangers (ditto can mean “copy,” or “same”), the camera lens/eye as a magic portal to an alternate dimension or reality (Axolytyl, Blowup, etc).

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    • “I like that they are building a sound we can expect from them.”

      I felt this with the song structure! Quite apparent in a lot of HYBE songs this year (Enhypen, j-hope, RM, and now NewJeans). They moved thru unclear verses/choruses, with closing part almost mimicking the opening. While listening, most of the time I forgot which part is I’m in, but it just flows very seamlessly so I can’t help but vibing…. and then the ooohs are coming back again, the instrumental are stripped, the song is ending.

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  3. Not for me, but they seem to have found their audience, so good for them. I like their deeper voices and could see myself enjoying future endeavers. This just seems a bit bland for my tastes.

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  4. This was alright! It may grow on me, but on a first listen, I kept wanting it to build bigger than it ever got. It’s got a nice vibe to it though, and I appreciate the focus on the vocals.

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  5. At this point, I barely have doubts that NewJeans is modeled after f(x) + Red Velvet + SHINee. If Attention gives a feel of SHINee’s View visual aesthetics & Best Place’s sound, the debut album as whole is a heavy reminiscent of Red Velvet’s Ice Cream Cake.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they’re doing it again with Ditto this time. Min Hee Jin brings back f(x)’s Electric Shock & 4 Walls’ beautiful haunting visual aesthetics with a drum & bass song that reminds me a lot of f(x)’s Red Light & SHINee’s Prism & Shift. The comparison would’ve been a bit of a stretch if Min Hee Jin hadn’t been involved with the three groups.

    I do like their sound as it stands out from the rest of HYBE’s groups (a yes for bringing back the clubby-like sound), but it’s starting to feel bland as they keep plucking elements from the same sources. Kind of lack of originality?

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    • I think the drum&bass influence probably comes from PinkPantheress, a student who went viral on TikTok and released an album last year. Most of her tunes were about a minute and a half long, and tapped into a nostalgia vibe. It’s a really good album. I don’t hear any f(x) or Red Velvet influence in NewJeans personally, but what do I know, haha 😉

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      • When I first heard the song yesterday morning, I immediately thought of PinkPantheress. I just did a Google search to see if others made the connection, and it seems others heard this as well. There are even Youtube videos already comparing them.

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        • My assumptions came from the Min Hee Jin connection. It might’ve been not. I just checked PinkPantheress and though she does have a similar sound, the vibe is quite different imo.

          Another comparison I can think of is Key’s Guilty Pleasure which was also said to have a similar sound to The Weeknd’s Sacrifice, while in my opinion I think it sounds more like EXO’s Gravity (both are composed by LDN Noise)

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  6. I might be the only person on here who thinks this song is kinda boring. It’s nice but I can’t imagine me listening to this as much as any one of their songs from their debut album. At least it’s only a prerelease so hoping for the actual title track to be better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with this. It’s pleasant in the sense I don’t feel irritated or anything but I can’t think of any reason to actively want to listen to this song. I’m not even against slow songs or anything but there’s like 2 parts in the whole song and they are just repeated exactly like that and I agree with the other comment about their vocals being uninspired – that’s the perfect word really. It’s not something that can hold my attention span at all – in fact if I’m honest, at around 1:10 of the chorus something about that tune reminded me of Fiction and I went off humming that lol.

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  7. The song is nice but the problem with these types of songs is its more suited for soloists than groups, it doesnt have enough diverse parts to showcase members individuality, beginning to end it sounds like sung by a single person, not 5.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Right before hearing ditto i was listening to ‘one last kiss’-hikaru utada and suprisingly the two songs had a similar beat and for me i really liked that. I think some may find this song possibly “boring and monotone” but i love the structure and i guess the staticness(?) of the song, hence a bside type song and in general very different from kpop which i like (probably why im not that big of a kpop listener anways huhu)

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  9. I just can’t get over the beautiful MVs, they have a quality that reminds me of Coppola’s The Virgin Suic**es movie, with teen girls idealised through a camera lens. A few dark moments, very subtle. I can’t even get to the song because it is such a perfect OST to the MVs that I find it hard to separate it from them!

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  10. This track is track is definitely a good day listen, but it’s also forgettable. It really does sound like a b-side or background music. While I can here the Baltimore club dance music influence in the beat, it does little to lift this track and make it more dynamic. I get what Min Hee Jin is trying to accomplish with NewJeans with their music being easy listens and fits nicely on anyone’s playlist, but just like their previous singles you can be an easy listen and memorable too. Here’s hoping that their lead single will be more dynamic.

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  11. such a strong grower for me. so many extremely quiet details in the production that have been popping up on repeated listens (vocal samples, risers, and shifts in the main pad). I love when subtle production is loaded with even subtler ear candy.

    to me, “ditto” is a beautiful song at its core. Even tho dreamy and lite, the verses and chorus have hooks that stick w me from start to finish and repeat in my head afterward.

    New Jeans and ADOR continue to impress me w music choices, their stylish and filmic MV’s, and sublime vocal performances. Very close to “Attention” as my favorite from them so far, I look forward to stages and the whole comeback.

    Like

  12. Initially, I wasn’t too sold on NewJeans like everybody else was. Their past releases were fine but I didn’t find myself going out of my way to listen to them.

    In contrast to that, this song has me addicted. I really like the empty / spacious feeling this song has to it. It’s got a simple but effective melody. This is great

    Like

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