Release Date: August 1, 2022
- Hype Boy
NewJeans are HYBE’s second girl group to be unleashed on the always thirsty public in 2022.
This five-member group was formed through the Plus Global Auditions in 2019, with their training period starting at the beginning of 2020.
Initially, on the Source Music label, NewJeans was moved to the new label ADOR and put under the care of former SM creative director Min Hee Jin. The woman who was responsible for the branding of other girl groups such as Girls’ Generation, f(x) and Red Velvet.
The members of NewJeans are:
All the members have no official position, and there is no assigned team leader.
On July 22, 2022 the video for their song Attention was released with the videos for Hype Boy and Hurt following on July 23 and 25.
Lastly, the entire EP titled NewJeans 1st EP New Jeans was released on digital platforms on August 1, 2022, along with the video for Cookie. The physical version of the album came out a week later, on August 8.
Now that you have the basic information about the group let’s get into the review itself.
It is highly recommended that you listen to this album in order at least once as it tells a tale of the various stages of young love starting with infatuation and ending with heartbreak in its short 12-minute, 52-second run time.
There’s no problem listening to it on random play, but I believe you lose the flow of the songs by doing that immediately, and you should have an idea of the story the album is trying to tell first before skipping around to whatever you want to play on repeat.
And that brings us to the elephant in the room, the third track Cookie. It’s a part of the story that has brought up much discussion. Based on how you interpret the lyrics, this song could be inappropriate for a group whose average age is 16.4 years.
One side of the coin assumes you are of an “impure mind,” then the “cookie” they are speaking of is not one that you cook in the oven and is instead a part of the body that rhymes with cookie and is a word usually used to describe a cat.
To put it more within the context of the period that NewJeans’ music is emulating, it’s the last “P” in O.P.P.
The other side of the coin assumes you are a puritan, then Cookie is only an innocent song about lovingly creating baked goods to give to the one for whom you have feelings. And all of you dirty-minded bastards out there should get your minds out of the gutter for thinking these young ladies would ever perform a song beyond their years.
ADOR has explained the ideas behind Cookie below:
“Cookie” is consciously focused on the music. The song revolves around the paired idea of burning CDs and baking cookies, which share the same conceptual verb in Korean. We backed this with a beat you don’t often get to hear when it comes to K-pop girl groups, signalling our daring new direction.
Lyrically, dinner and water are synonymous with staple foods and represent just going through the motions in the context of our song. So when you reach for dessert instead, you’re looking for something more exciting than an everyday meal that goes beyond filling you up and tastes great.
“Cookie” has the confidence to do just that while remaining humble enough to call itself a dessert and cutely express that. The song’s underlying message is the value of NewJeans’ attempt to make new and original music.
That’s why, even though we produce NewJeans’ music and all the related content for everyone to enjoy, it “ain’t for free” and can only be found at our place ADOR, pointing listeners toward the whole message the group ultimately aims to convey through their debut album.
The music video opens with a cookie rolling in and ends with a CD rolling out. This unexpected change was meant to drive the message home further.
We took this symbolism one step beyond that and brought it to life with a CD player bag to carry the album that explicitly echoes the shape of a cookie.
Whether that is an acceptable explanation of the song’s lyrics has been debated on various K-Pop-related social media and discussion forums.
Me? I don’t buy it, especially considering the era of R&B they are taking inspiration from is known to have creative (and sometimes thinly veiled) ways of describing subjects of an adult or sexual nature. While the word “cookie” may not necessarily mean something dirty, the innuendos surrounding that word make it feel like it does mean something not so innocent.
So it doesn’t surprise me that some may find Cookie a bit risque for a young group, and I believe that ADOR is protesting a little too much, only adding more fuel to the fire.
Despite the controversy about a group of minors’ alleged pink cookies in a plastic bag getting crushed by buildings or not, the song itself is a solid composition. So if you can’t separate the perceived issues with the lyrical content from the music itself, perhaps you should only listen to the instrumental version or skip the song altogether.
With all that out of the way, let’s move on. As you can hear from the music videos, NewJeans have a sound that is a throwback to 1990s to early 2000s R&B and Pop and is atypical of modern K-Pop girl group fodder. I found their sound very refreshing and something that will make them unique among the other fourth-generation female groups.
Also, unlike typical idol debut releases, every song on NewJeans 1st EP New Jeans is a winner, and I think one would be hard-pressed to find a weak track among the four.
Similar to Le Sserafim, HYBE has done a great job establishing an identity immediately for NewJeans, and hopefully, they stick with the kind of vibe they have established on this debut for their future releases.