Review

Song Review: NewJeans – OMG

NewJeans - OMGAfter 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.

Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75

Grade: C+

32 thoughts on “Song Review: NewJeans – OMG

  1. During the listen, I was unsure what to think about this one. Yes, the subdued bop Ditto grew on me really fast, but OMG doesn’t hit, tbh. Its hook is lackadaisical and quite forgettable, and the production seemed to be somewhat messy for me. Rating feels just about right.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I was surprised this is a single. If Ditto sounded like a really good b-side (one that will stay on my playlist for the foreseeable future), OMG sounds like a forgettable one. The only other NewJeans track I haven’t cared for is Cookie, yet some consider it their best tune. I’ll be interested in seeing how OMG is received.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. While I don’t dislike it by any means, it’s one of those songs that you finish listening to and can’t recall a single melodic line from. I know a couple of the lyrics, but I could not for the life of me tell you how they delivered them. Better a pleasant, forgettable song on every radio station than a grating one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I mean, what do I know, me at my age. To state clearly upfront, yes, I find it dull. And it will probably be a hit anyway among a certain (mostly young) demographic.

    I was at my folks over break, and an old friend came over with her young darling daughter, who brought a bag of her kpop loot of all things BlackPink. Friend saying how you wouldn’t believe how much this damn light thing cost me, the concert, the everything.

    There is the state of contemporary kpop, filling the void in the market left behind by other possibilities.

    I am still in the bargaining phases of contemporary kpop. I hope the music itself will revert to form, will surprise and delight me again, all the unusuals from the Swedes that get put aside just for kpop. But in the meantime, the target on the back of all the kids and their moms buying this bland stuff is right on its mark.

    Liked by 7 people

    • And that’s why luxury brands are scooping up idols like crazy. They know kids want to style themselves like their favorite group members, and the cost of even being a K-Pop fan (I’ll have to look up the article since it was from several years back, but it was a study into how much on average a K-Pop fan spends annually, and for BTS and most likely BP now as well, it’s around $800 US a year) is pretty staggering. But it’s the perfect target for luxury brands, since they actually mainly target the middle class who might buy 1 – 4 items a year rather than the already wealthy. It’s blatantly obvious that the target is impressionable young people with parents that have at least some disposable income, ideally turning them into occasional buyers for life. And since these brand deals are more lucrative than the actual musical content, it takes a back seat. It also tends to lock a group into a holding pattern where they constantly release safe music in the genre fans associate them with. It wouldn’t even surprise me if they have to run some of the releases by their endorsers before choosing it as a title track to release.

      Sadly, modern K-Pop seems to primarily be an oversaturated market where the biggest competition and focus is landing endorsement deals or hosting and variety gigs, etc, The vast majority of fans preorder the album before even listening to it. It’s no wonder that the creativity and sound of yesteryear’s K-Pop is getting harder and harder to find. There is just no financial incentive to do anything musically that’s more than just mediocre or trendy that will satisfy fans just enough to keep them coming back for more.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the spectacle of the MV carries a lot of the song if you heard it for the first time through that, but I dig the consistent chill-yet-catchy vibe they keep going for so overall it’s another hit for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Finally for once there was something about a NJ song that caught my attention…. sadly it was not the song but the MV. I really honestly enjoyed the concept they were going so. Like that “I’m an iPhone”, the giant ear, the whole mood, 4th wall break and everything – The whole MV was really fun. I feel like generally gg really don’t do weird fun that well compared to bg that embody that vibe more easily – so whenever I see gg doing funny/weird concepts I truly appreciate it.

    I enjoyed every minute of that MV and I felt the song itself truly wasted the potential of what they were going for. As my sibling who was watching with me said – “It’s almost like the girls in the MV are performing a NJ song.” I wish they had come up with something more peppy to bring about better harmony with the song. All their other songs so far have been very in touch with the mood of the MV even if I hadn’t really got into them. This time it was so frustratingly close… well, I might rewatch this – they were damn adorable in the MV and it brought a smile to my face. I guess at some points kpop isn’t always about the music… there are other stuff that make me happy and I can feel enthusiastic about! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Ditto really grew on me, so I was hoping this one would not be a grower but knock it out the park from the first listen. Unfortunately, I must agree that it is a very forgettable song. Here’s to hoping that NewJeans and other new Gen groups release their signature songs this year and really find their footing in the industry.

    I have a question for you Nick: if you could choose any element(s) from the 2nd generation music scene and bring it to the new generation what would you choose?

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  8. I love this group a lot. This is really good and the video concepts are really interesting. All their songs, minus Cookie, work for me on every level. This one does too.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Yeah, unfortunately, this is the first New Jeans song, that for me, didn’t immediately worm into my brain and keep me humming along afterward. this feels too much like they were combining ideas from their other songs, where the other songs succeeded in their single-mindedness. a bit messy, I think.

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    • I somehow felt, with the Twitter post thing at the end of the MV, it feels like gaslighting the fans/haters who didn’t like the concept: ‘yeah we used this concept for this MV, we know you’d complain like this’.

      It’s just… depicting mental asylum imagery with such young members is, a bit creepy/ uncomfortable. Instead of focusing on the actual music, it got me thinking Min Heejin’s brain can cross some unnecessary boundaries at chances.

      Liked by 5 people

    • Yes!! I totally agree and cannot believe that more people aren’t talking about this. With mental illness being such a serious issue, especially for adolescents, depicting a cartoonish and oversimplified version of severe mental illness is irresponsible. It upset me to watch.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I struggled to listen to OMG with the MV on. Playing the song by itself, I feel the MV’s extra and plot-twist-y narrative covers up the song’s lack of oomph.

    OMG’s biggest struggle is that, it doesn’t have parts that stick in your head instantly. As Nick said the catchiest part of the song is the ‘dekipoeskingmihuishi’ part, and that even sounded like a sample.The other sections of the song don’t have staying power, considering I’ve played it 6 times now and I didn’t have a full grasp on the song.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. New Jean’s debut album feels carefully crafted and each song picked was well thought out and deliberate. The producers had all the time in the world the work on that album and it shows, but under the pressure to constantly be relevant and releasing music in the kpop world, this single album feels like these were throwaway tracks that didnt make it onto the debut album. I wasn’t in love with Ditto and unfortunately I think I like OMG even less. I love their 90’s inspired sound. Hope they can harness that Hype Boy/Attention energy for their next comeback.

    Also, while the MV is cute, I am not always watching an MV, esp when I am driving so the song is as important as the MV if not more so.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I really really liked ‘Ditto’ and I’ve had it on repeat since its release but this doesn’t have that same effect. I like some part of this song but then I don’t like others. The song is quite boring. Same energy throughout the whole song. It’s not bad but it’s not great.

    The MV however was interesting. I was surprised to see Kim Joo Hun in this.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. The song itself is… alright. It feels more like an average b-side than anything, it’s definitely not bad, though I can see most people liking Ditto more because of the atmospheric feel. I could write a mini essay (or rant, more like) about that music video though…

    Liked by 4 people

  14. I’d have to agree with a lot of the people in the comments. After watching the MV, i feel like the song doesn’t really stand as strong on its own without the concept of the video distracting me from enjoying the song compared to “Attention” or “Hype Boy”. It’s a cute song but the music video aids a lot to the overall experience.

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  15. This is my 1st time commenting here,I’m from Cuba,for that reason,sorry for my English.Before I wrote a message but I don’t see that message.
    I talked about that still I didn’t hear this song but I think that could like the song,because I love Newjeans’s songs from the day 1 and I love the retro vibes.
    Even if I am such a baby, I’m just 17.

    I expect make friends here that really love kpop music and K-culture like me

    Liked by 2 people

  16. While listening to this song, I felt like I was listening to American R&B in the 1990s, including TLC, Immature, and Aaliyah.

    This song has a lot of charm, including the quiet killing off the background and clearly highlighting vocals, the slightly slow offbeat, the construction of continuing to change the rhythm, and the unique singing style of the chorus part Haerin and Hyein.

    The conflicting reaction after hearing OMG is that the top line is much weaker than Ditto.

    In the case of Ditto, the top line matched well by reducing the buzz of the jersey club but keeping its basic gist, but in the case of OMG, it felt a little messy for me.

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  17. Very much agree with this assessment. I listened to this without the MV to decide whether my interest was being sustained by the video rather than the song, and realised that without the MV the song evaporated from my mind very quickly. Despite having listened several times, the only scrap of the melody I can summon is the call-and-response in the chorus. I end up sliding into one of their other songs if I try to hum any further. That being said, the members’ voices sound wonderful, and I was impressed by Hanni’s voice and performance in the MV, in particular.

    Finally, as anticipated by the video, I am one of those internet dwellers uncomfortable with vulnerable-unstable-teenage-girl-as-aesthetic. When coupled with the lyrics of their past songs, as well, I think the creative direction of the group is, in a word, “icky”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That horrible gaslight of an ending made it even worse for me. That the person who writes a comment not about the group but its creative direction winding up in the mental hospital, brought there by Min Hee Jin herself. PR wise it would have been a smarter move to just leave that controversy with Cookie and Hurt along with MHJ’s history in the past. Clearly they have enough of an audience already without sticking a grenade at the people considered with the ages companies are training and debuting kids at. As a cosmetic and surgical dermatologist, it bothers me to no end when I see barely 14 or 15 year olds debuting with invasive cosmetic surgery procedures, since that will affect their body image and self perception for the rest of their lives… and that’s not counting all the other trials you undergo as a celebrity, let along a child celebrity. It seems like MHJ prioritizes aesthetics and “edginess,” and it’s sad to see so many people buy into that. We had two videos both tangentially related to mental health, and while some people might think it’s creative and oh so different, they forget that this is being peddled through impressionable kids. At the rate the environment is changing around the group, I think they might alienate their audience if they continue in this direction. People were fine with it so long as it seemed like “kids acting their age,” but with the these bleary, dark MVs combined with all the luxury band endorsement deals, they are edging closer into Blackpink’s sort of territory as primarily being influencers… they just have a different sound, and given my age, so many of their songs just sound like weaker, DJ mixes of the music I listened to constantly when I was growing up. I think Ditto was great, but OMG is missing that sort of laidback but fizzy, feel good lightness of their better songs like Attention or even Ditto (I might just be the only K-Pop fan on the planet that actually didn’t like Hype Boy, and it never grew on me either… musically, I actually liked Cookie better, but the thought of someone who is young enough to be my child singing it makes it reallllllyyyyy off putting.

      Like

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