[Review] NewJeans follow-up breakout debut with a subtle standout in pre-release “Ditto”

NewJeans burst onto the scene in July with a uniquely sudden debut schedule, and their eponymous mini was expertly crafted as a whole and produced two mega-hits in “Attention” and “Hype Boy“. That attention and hype was well deserved and seemed to prime them for further ascension. Of course, following that up was always going to be a tall task, but NewJeans get off to a nice start with their follow-up single album OMG and its pre-release B-side “Ditto“.

“Ditto” is an ideal pre-release track, as the girls are allowed to freely explore the Jersey club sound. It’s definitely less of a hook-y earworm of pop song like you’d expect from a single and instead is more of a vibey track that you can’t shake and enjoy more with every listen.

While it’s still decidedly groovy with an almost haunting touch behind it, it’s also quite aggressive, powered by an upbeat bass underlining the verses and the rapid drum break of the chorus as the girls sing, “Stay in the middle, like you a little, don’t want no riddle, malhaejweo say it back, oh say it ditto.” My initial reaction was to think it’s a nice little ditty but doesn’t quite reach the hook-y heights of their previous best, but on repeat listens the delivery and lyrics stick with you. There’s just an appealing and seamless rhythm to everything, from the production to the vocals.

And a large part of what makes this all work is the fact that the vocals of NewJeans remain unstained by the effects that their company became addicted to. The girls are allowed to turn in another great performance here, showcasing an ability to convey emotion beyond their years with a pleasantly smooth and pure delivery. It’s still a bit weird to have a nostalgic trip thanks to the vocals of teenagers, but that’s exactly what happens.

Almost as an added bonus, the concept for “Ditto” and the pair of accompanying music videos were arguably even better than the song itself, and are probably worthy of a deeper look. They mesh perfectly with the song and its lyrical content to enhance the whole experience. So NewJeans continue to be Vibes, The Group with “Ditto”, and normally I’d say that pejoratively, but they always manage to find appealing wrinkles in whatever direction they go that make it impossible to dislike.


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