After pre-releasing Ditto last month, NewJeans have returned with their first single album. With 800,000 pre-orders, it’s astonishing how quickly this group has gone from complete unknowns to K-pop megastars. I guess it’s the power of several viral hits and HYBE’s intense market force. But as usual, all the popularity in the world doesn’t mean a thing without great music to back it up. The subdued Ditto pointed at interesting directions for the group, but hasn’t had the same staying power on my playlist as their past singles.
OMG is slightly more upbeat, though that’s a very relative term when it comes to NewJeans. The girls continue to foster their laidback, vaguely-90’s sound. But this time, they struggle to find an addictive hook. The track opens with muted synths that slowly give way to skittering hi-hats and eventually a loungy brew of brisk percussion and washed out keys. The production is interesting, but fails to deliver the kind of effortless groove that highlighted tracks like Attention and Hype Boy.
OMG loops around several melodic themes rather than settling on one indelible hook. Its catchiest moment occurs during the call-and-response pre-chorus, which shifts between group vocals to solo lines and offers a nice volleying energy. OMG’s main hook is a little too sing-talky for me. It’s fun and expressive, but feels lackadaisical at parts. NewJeans’ sound has one foot firmly in the past, but much of OMG feels like it would’ve been at home in 2018 or 2019 when this style of mid-tempo trap pop dominated global charts. This is obviously a matter of musical preference, but I’d rather see the group push trends forward.