When it was announced that former SM Entertainment creative director Min Hee Jin would be debuting a girl group under HYBE‘s sub-label ADOR, I expected the standard big company long teaser cycle over like the course of a month before we got anything relevant.
Well, instead that girl group, NewJeans, just went and decided to make a surprise debut by dropping the music video for “Attention” right off the bat.
Credit where it’s due, this did feel like an innovative release, at least in K-pop. Min Hee Jin just mini-Beyonce‘d us and the result is paying more attention than usual to the music video (and the song) due to having no familiarity with the members and not knowing really what’s going on. Smart.
Aside from that, it’s paired with a track that’s basically all vibes. Normally I’d use this pejoratively, but here they’ve been given a chill soundscape from R&B two decades gone and it creates a nice backdrop for the members to feature. Unlike almost all of HYBE’s other efforts, they allow the girls to sing without a ton of effects, and they prove themselves clearly capable as a result. A surprise within a surprise, really. While ostensibly about getting attention from a boy, it’s also clever way to introduce themselves to us and what they want from us as well.
Of course, it does indeed feel like somewhat of the intro it’s supposed to be. If you listened through the first chorus then you’ve basically listened to the whole song as it effectively repeats, and it seems more designed to be put on in the background for certain moods than to be any kind of chart-topping pop smash. There’s nothing wrong with being put on a vibes playlist as long as what follows is more impactful, and given my current intrigue level for this group, I’d say the primary goal of this has been accomplished.