Welcome to Fan Chant, a weekly column for K-pop fans, stans, and newcomers alike. Every week, I’ll launch interviews, lists, and all kinds of content to keep you on track with the latest and greatest from our friends in Seoul and beyond. Also, make sure that subscribe in my companion newsletter!
This past fall in Seoul, the song “Hype Boy” by New Jeans nothing short of ubiquitous.
The song is played in Insadong market, Myeondeong shopping malls, restaurants and convenience stores along the Han River, and even the pulse from Hongdae’s brightly colored bars at night, hoping to attract customers like me It seems like people across the demographic are listening to NewJeans, the newly debuted group from ADOR, subsidiary of HYBE, but the hype doesn’t stay in South Korea.
In just a few months since their debut in July 2022, Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin and Hyein have started to go global, their series of incredibly attractive, optimistic, and young singles which attracts listeners with different levels of interest in K-pop. It’s been a while since Ariana Grande gave us new music; in the meantime, thinking of queuing “Cookie” in NewJean. Nostalgic for girl groups in the early 2000s? “Attention” is the way to go. For movie buffs with a keen eye, their music videos are a treasure; the latest, “OMG,” deftly references director Park Chan Wook’s 2006 I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK.
“OMG” is the focus track for an album of the same name, which was released on January 2 and was preceded by the equally invigorating “Ditto.” Both tracks, “OMG,” with its irresistible bouncy vibe and “Ditto” with its deconstructed club beat, manage to deliver high-energy sounds and choreography while keeping the quintet planted comfortably in a suitable youth space. The girls, whose ages range from 14 to 18, remember stateside showstoppers like The Cheetah Girls and Miley Cyrus, acts that defined coming of age for many millennials; while many K-pop girl groups offer a high-octane scene, NewJeans is the classic, grounded return to form we didn’t know we needed.
I linked up with Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin and Hyein to talk about the new single album, OMG, their new team dynamic, their favorite winter soundtracks, and more. Read the full group interview below.