Review

Song Review: NewJeans – Zero

NewJeans - ZeroWhen writing about my favorite rookies of 2022, I mentioned how excited I was to see where NewJeans’ music would go after their breakout year. Sadly, the path it’s taking is not for me. NewJeans don’t need my help, as their incredible chart success has proven. But as their brand of muted pop starts to inform overall industry trends, I’m worried it will wear thin over the short term.

Zero is an advertisement for Coke Zero, so it’s unfair to approach it as a legacy-establishing title track. But, K-pop acts have delivered standout CFs before. It’s rare, but not unheard of.

However, if NewJeans’ overall sound already gives me pause, a song like Zero doubles down on personal pet peeves by incorporating childrens’ rhymes into the fold. This time, it’s the omni-present “Rose of Sharon has Bloomed” (from Squid Game and a million idol variety segments). As far as interpolations go, it’s a very obvious – and lazy – one. It’s muttered here as some devilish incantation – capitalism as seen through quirk.

The rest of Zero is what we’ve come to expect from NewJeans. The instrumental has a skittery sense of aloofness – cool bordering on cold. The melodies have a stream-of-consciousness phrasing, borrowing elements from hip-hop but delivered in a placid manner. You won’t find any showboating here. The verses are fine on their own, but that chorus threatens to turn Zero into a meme instead of a song. In other words, it’s perfect for advertising!

Hooks 6
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 6
 RATING 6.75

Grade: D+

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43 thoughts on “Song Review: NewJeans – Zero

  1. This broke my brain. I don’t even know what to say. NewJeans, the coolest/hottest girls in kpop, doing a full-out music video advertisement for Coke Zero??? What hold does this drink have over the kpop industry? 😂 I just… I can’t with this. I am losing my mind. NewJeans have lost their supercool image now that they have done this. It’s over. Call the whole thing off. 😂

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  2. Yeah the experience of the song was made worse by the music video, way too many pauses. I think I would’ve liked the song if there was a melodic hook, not necessarily in lieu of the one they use, but right after it. Just a c, so I wasn’t expecting much. Does chocolate love by snsd count as a cf? I quite like that one (not the fx version)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I really hope their next comeback has a different sound, an evolution to the sound that they have created. That mellow, kinda laidback got boring really quick, so I hope MHJ learned to switch up from SM.

    Also, I must say that SNSD are the Queens of memorable CF songs: “Chocolate Love,” “Visual Dreams,” “Galaxy Supernova,” and “Soul.” No one has been able to beat them in that area.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Didn’t you like Ditto?
    I found it their best song to date
    For this, bah I found it meg
    It’s only a promotional song that will forget in three four weeks so don’t worry!

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    • I don’t dislike Ditto, but it’s not the kind of song I’d choose to put on my playlist if that makes sense. I guess I can admire what it’s doing, even if it’s not my preferred style of music.

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  5. I found the production really interesting especially in the verses. The way it plays with rhythm and off beats gives the verses a sense of propulsion that isn’t something I see in a typical Kpop song. I also like the percussion it used quite a bit. The interesting percussion is kind of NewJean’s trademark at this point, as apparently as early as Attention.

    While the chorus is nursery rhyme, I was one of those who actually liked Young Dumb Stupid so you guessed it: I didn’t mind the chorus too much. It doesn’t fit that well with the rest of the song, but over all, it is quite from being the worst thing ever.

    I think I’ve disliked a lot more songs that have a 6.75 to 7.5 rating from the blog.

    Personally, I’d give it:

    Hooks – 7
    Production – 9
    Longevity – 7
    Bias – 8
    Overall – 7.75

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly what I was thinking. The overly negative reaction that this is getting is kinda confusing to me to be honest. Like, this is just a commercial, there shouldn’t really be any expectations for it. I actually think that as far as commercials go it was pretty good. The MV felt almost like a parody of one of their own MVs with all of the overdramatic cuts and confusing storyline, all leading up to the punchline of it just being a stupid coke commercial. I found it very funny which made me like it, but at the very least, it’s just an ok song.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Also, this production style reminds me of one of my favorite bands at the moment called Frost Children. Idk if Nick has ever included them in his global pop roundups, but just incase, here’s the song I was reminded of.

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  6. “Rose of Sharon has Bloomed” it’s similar but not the same. The “Coca-Cola is Tasty” part is the Korean equivalent of “Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe”. I grew up using the Korean version so I recognize it.

    Also, I don’t like this song but it’s just an advertisement song so doesn’t matter I guess.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. wtf is this chorus man 😭 . In all seriousness, the song itself besides the chorus sounds great. I don’t know why the producers decided to change the chorus.

    Than again, if Coco-Cola approves its, its their choice, not mine

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve actually come to really love NewJeans. Ditto seemed slight at first, but there’s some magic there. It, along with Hype Boy and Attention, are 10’s to me.

    As for Zero, the production, the verses and melodies, the skittery drum & bass beat, and the music video itself, are all great, only to be wasted on that… godawful chorus. O-M-G.

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    • Hmm… That’s how I felt this morning. But re-listening now, the chorus starts to make sense. Bloody hell, I might end up liking this one.

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  9. I was gonna say something but then the chorus is “Coca-Cola is tasty. See you looking, catch it, here’s your Cola” and that’s it. That’s all you need to know. I can’t add anything to this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That being said its a cute advertisement. Its kinda fun in the lamest not supposed to be taken seriously way ever. I will hopefully never think about this again but its kinda fun exactly one time. I laughed at least. That’s something. They look like they had fun and hopefully they were paid well for it. I can’t wait for their next real comeback. I love them a lot.

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    • plus given that their entire brand at this moment is evoking a sense of nostalgia, the chorus does makes sense. It’s funny, but I can see why it is that way

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  10. My favorite cf is Big Bang – 2NE1 “Lollipop” for some cellphone , though you would never quite know it from the song.

    My problem is that this sotto voce skittering style has already grown old for me. There is just not enough musical meat to grab onto for me. Also, I am not in the core demographic anyway, as I am neither a young teen nor an older guy who should know better than to stan underaged girls.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The chorus actually ruins the song. The verses are nice enough and very NewJeans like, but that chorus is actually so bad it makes me not want to listen to any part of the song. A very hard skip for me tbh.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think that y’all are being too harsh on NJs for this advertisement song.In my opinion, the song is great, but it could have a few adjustments. I rate this a 8.5/10.

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  13. I reckon anyone who isn’t familiar with the traditional Korean children’s song the chorus is based on might just brush it off as being “lazy”, when this is a specific quoting of both lyrics and melody of a liberation-era game song with dozens of variations found all over Korea, and frankly (as a commercial soundtrack composer living in Korea) I find it to be a brilliant use of it at the right time, for both parties involved, especially since it’s very much a public domain folk motif.

    And the traditional mi-sol-la mode it comes from encompasses so many Korean children’s songs, that it’s one of the most essential characteristics of Korean playground game-song melodies.

    Not unlike why T-Ara made good use of the same mi-sol-la melody in [어디에서 왔나] in Roly Poly, and why 소규모 아카시아 밴드 used the traditional 두껍아/Toad song in their own version, both of which have the exact same mode used in the melody for the Zero song.

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