Release Date: September 27, 2023
- GRL GVNG
- NEW DANCE
- PUPPET SHOW
XG started the beginning of 2023 with their third single, Shooting Star. The two-track single consisted of the title track and its more popular b-side LEFT RIGHT and allowed XG to ride the wave of momentum it generated into early summer.
At the end of June, XG’s official Twitter account released a teaser of the group’s upcoming mini-album and the pre-release single GRL GVNG. It was great news for thirsty Alphas, who wanted more new music from XG.
My first impression of this song was that it differed from their previous releases by leaning into a tougher sound. It took numerous spins for me to get acclimated to this version of XG, and eventually, it grew on me. But at first, I was not too fond of GRL GVNG.
At the end of July, the official announcement of New DNA was made with a release date of September 27. What followed were the digital singles TGIF and New Dance in August. Unlike GRL GVNG, these two songs have XG working with different styles of dance music. TGIF is similar in style to MASCARA, opting for an aggressive dance floor filler.
New Dance has a more joyous pop appeal and is one of the more sonically distinct tracks than the songs before it.
The other song, with a unique identity, is the album’s title track, Puppet Show. It switches between fast-paced, pumping beats during the verses and slows down to slick R&B during the chorus sections, almost like current songs from artists on SM Entertainment. Considering everything, Puppet Show is by far the best song on NEW DNA, in my opinion.
By the time the whole EP was released at the end of September, almost all its songs were well-known to listeners. This isn’t necessarily bad since the same formula worked for NewJeans’ first EP. It’s not hard to get into the album when you’ve already heard almost all of it ahead of time.
The only issue I have with NEW DNA is X-GENE, it’s too damn short. It has the makings of something good but gets cut off too soon. If it serves more for a transition to GRL GVNG, then it’s okay. But I would have preferred it to be a longer stand-alone song. Adding another minute or two would have been nice.
Overall, NEW DNA is a tight EP that gives listeners a good idea of XG’s vibe and the type of music they perform, especially if they are new to you.
It’s probably a bonus for overseas English-speaking listeners that all the lyrics are in English, so there’s no straining to understand what they’re saying. But even if everything was in Japanese or Korean, the quality of the music is enough to overcome any language barriers.