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A year on, NewJeans continues to shift K-pop paradigms

NewJeans celebrates 1st anniversary with 2nd EP "Get Up"

By Choi Ji-won

Published : July 21, 2023 - 17:21

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K-pop band NewJeans (Ador) K-pop band NewJeans (Ador)

NewJeans began their career last summer with the hopes of sharing their timeless music with their listeners.

The past year has seen the five-piece group reign supreme on the music charts, both at home and abroad, with its debut EP, "New Jeans," as well as its following singles.

The act's four-song debut EP saw its three title songs land on the top of local music charts, marking the biggest girl group entrance into the K-pop scene since Blackpink in 2016.

Like a pair of jeans, "daily yet timeless" suits NewJeans' music, as their songs never seem to grow old, with "New Jeans" eventually surpassing a million streams this February as the first K-pop debut album to mark the feat.

With the release of single "OMG" and its pre-release "Ditto" earlier this year, the band made its milestone debut on both US and UK song charts. The group took the shortest time to land multiple songs on the Billboard Hot 100 among any other K-pop groups.

In May, NewJeans became the fastest Korean artist to garner a billion streams on the world's biggest music streaming service Spotify and landed its first Guinness World Record.

Celebrating the remarkable one-year journey, the quintet is unveiling yet another batch of its trend-setting music on Friday with its second EP, "Get Up."

"Get Up" is fronted by three title songs: "Super Shy," "ETA" and "Cool With You." Along with "Super Shy," side-track "New Jeans" had been pre-released on July 7. On Thursday, the side A version of the "Cool With You" music video and the side B version of the "Cool With You" and "Get Up" music videos were unveiled.

The album also composes the interlude track, "Get Up," and an epilogue track, "ASAP."

An image from NewJeans' An image from NewJeans' "Cool With You" (Ador)

Ahead of the global release of its new album on Friday, NewJeans' members shared their thoughts through a press statement to the local media.

The new paradigm that NewJeans brought to this world has been its music, according to Hyein.

"What makes NewJeans special is its music. We thought hard about how the voices of the five members could be heard comfortably. We want to continue making music that can be enjoyed easily by everyone," Hyein said in the statement.

Such music is not just about the sound but the efforts and the intent behind it. For the bandmates, their understanding of their own music, the connection with the people they work with and the empathy shared with their fans and listeners are what characterizes their work.

"There was a time before I was a part of NewJeans when I was disappointed at myself for not being perfect. CEO Min told me then that 'NewJeans was not made to be perfect. NewJeans is a group that will continue to grow and dream on with its fans,'" Danielle said, referring to the group's producer and label chief Min Hee-jin.

"We still have much room for growth. And I feel our fans empathize with our mistakes and our efforts like a friend. There are moments when we can just understand each other even without talking. Those moments when I connect with Bunnies (NewJeans' official fanbase) make me happy and grateful," Dannielle said.

With its "Get Up" comeback, the rookie act has already started to push the boundaries and is continuing their unstoppable momentum.

"Super Shy" debuted at No. 66 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, marking the band's third song on the highly competitive chart and the band's highest rank on the chart. The song also renewed the act's record on the UK Officials Singles chart to No. 59.

The group may be in for its first double-million-seller title with "Get Up." Ador on Friday announced the package racked up 1.72 million units in orders as of Thursday. Considering the lasting popularity of NewJeans' music, it's likely that the album will eventually pass the two million mark.

An image from NewJeans' An image from NewJeans' "Super Shy"(Ador)

Hustling through the flourish of new projects, NewJeans members say they appreciate all the opportunities given to them.

"I have been having so many wonderful days recently (and) I'm trying to live everyday to its fullest. I want to relish this moment now," Minji was quoted saying in the press release.

Hanni added that the group has "so many days in the future" and that "there is so much they want to do."

"Just thinking about it excites me and I'm working harder for (the future. ... Although we don't know what will be in store for us in the future, we want to connect with people and share our thoughts with them through various activities."

Among the members, Danielle said she was most looking forward to the band's first global concert series. The rookie girl group has not yet held a standalone concert.

"I look forward to that magnificent day when we hold our first tour, where we will meet the global Bunnies and connect with them through music. I hope that day comes soon," she said.

Hyein hoped their music could deliver happiness to their listeners. "I think of this every time I record a song. My biggest wish in the upcoming journey is to deepen our relationship with Bunnies and make more memories to last forever with them," Hyein said.

All still in their teens, such busy schedules and unprecedented events may weigh on the girls sometimes. The moments the five girls share together, training, working and having fun, are what help them to soldier on.

"I feel us getting closer. Every moment we share in our daily lives turns into cherished memories. We understand each other no matter what, and I hope we can stay like this, trusting each other," Hyerin said.

The girls also reminisced on their first gathering with fans, "Bunnies Camp," which took place in Seoul in early July. The band performed one of the new title songs "ETA" for the first time at the event.

An image from NewJeans' second EP An image from NewJeans' second EP "Get Up" (Ador)

"It was so fun to showcase so many songs at the fan meeting. We were on fire for every song, but I felt the most thrilled when we unveiled 'ETA,'" Hyerin said, to which Hyein added, "We corrected ourselves even more meticulously during our practice as it was going to be the first song we performed in front of our fans. I was really surprised when Bunnies cheered for us and sang along during our performance."

Every album is a challenge and a new journey for the girls, Minji said. Shooting a music video for each of the six songs was one of the big challenges for her, she added.

The three title songs, each accompanied by different dance genres, was another step to overcome for Hyein.

"Before debut, I used to feel proud of myself when I improved learning various choreography sequences, and I felt that again when preparing for this album," she said.

Hanni recommended reading the list in which the tracks are ordered, as that itself carries a message.

"The album's story unfolds according to the track order," she said, adding, "All the songs carry different moods and emotions. They also stray from the vocal colors we've shown before. I think the airy timbre of the members resonates more beautifully."

The novelty the group presents with "Get Up," the girls say, shows the growth of the members.

"'Get Up' shows so many new sides of NewJeans that it's hard to mention them all, but the biggest among them would be the bandmates' maturity," said Minji.

Danielle agreed, adding, "The album consists of songs of different genres and formats that everyone can enjoy. Even my mom said she wanted to dance to 'Super Shy' after watching the music video. It's also a good song for a group dance at school. ... I think the diversity (of the new album) breaks down the boundaries for everyone to enjoy, and that is where NewJeans' music stands out."

Wrapping up the interview, the bandmates shared their thanks to fans.

"The members are all super shy. It was a grateful moment, and a surprising one, for us to meet Bunnies. As we've become closer, hopefully we can spend more time together and become even more intimate," Hyein said.

NewJeans' second EP "Get Up" came out Friday at 1 p.m.