Song Review: Attention by NewJeans

NewJeans is a 5 member girl group under the newly established ADOR label, a subsidiary under HYBE. While they haven’t made their official debut yet (which is scheduled to be on the 8th of August), the surprise release of ‘Attention’, for the lack of a better word, certainly caught my attention.

Having Min Heejin, SM entertainment’s former creative director, who was responsible for the innovative and unique concepts of f(x) and early Red Velvet music, certainly helps NewJeans stand out. Attention isn’t only my favorite girl group debut song of the year so far (alongside Le Sserafim’s Fearless), but one of my favorite songs from 2022’s K-pop. Considering it hasn’t even been a day since the song’s release, it may be a premature evaluation, but knowing myself, regardless if I retract this opinion in the future, I will be coming back to this song a lot.

Hooks
The song’s opening line, as cliché as it sounds, grabs my attention with its syncopated vocal delivery. Its verses ride on an addictive beat, sporting a playful rhythm that quickly worms it into my brain. It has been a while since a K-pop song didn’t take more than 1 listen for me to be stuck in my head, and that is something I greatly appreciate. I didn’t have to think about whether or not I liked it. I knew.

The chorus opts for a wispy vocal delivery as its melody ascends, making me feel like I’m floating in the sky. It’s very pleasant, even if it’s threatening to be overly repetitive. I’m usually against one-liner choruses, but Attention does it right. I can’t be mad when it is so nice to listen to.

Verse 2 maintains the same syncopated vocal delivery and rhythm that made Verse 1 so good.

In the song’s outro, it spells out ‘Attention’, and as cringy, as it threatens to be, I am already sold by the song’s chill, laid-back, and easy-to-listen-to nature, and I can’t be mad at it! I find myself singing along with them on the second listen. The last word of the song is once more, ‘attention’, and at this point, I’m quite sure it won’t leave my head anytime soon.

Overall, its hooks are simple, yet effective. I got a very similar feeling when I first listened to Le Sserafim’s Fearless, and Attention sports a similar strategy. That is surely a win in my book!

10/10

Production
The song goes for a more sleek and straightforward production style. Harkening back to the early 2000s r&b/pop music, Attention maintains a very insistent beat throughout the song that acts as its backbone. It fuses very well with the playful rhythm in the verses. This is an example of the production and the hooks working together in perfect tandem to add strength and appeal to the song overall. Something about the production also reminds me of SHINee’s Replay: the refreshing, laid-back, and chill atmosphere that the two songs have are similar, yet they borrow elements from different genres of music. As a lover of Replay, it was inevitable that I would love Attention as well. Both songs are just very easy to listen to and appreciate.

Given the nature of the song, I didn’t feel the need for a climax or a grand build-up. The approach was kept consistent, and it ended up paying off.

One thing I especially appreciate is how clean the vocal mixing in Attention is. It is free of the autotune effects from HYBE male groups, and while I have learned to appreciate them, it is still a treat to be able to listen to a song that sounds so *clean*.

Overall, I can’t fault the song’s production. It knew what it was going for, and it achieved it with careful polish.

10/10

Vocal and Rap Delivery
The way the girls sung the song only helped create the chill vibe that the song was intending to portray. It sounded effortless, but at the same time, not lazy either. It sounded self-assured and confident. As the first song the public was going to be exposed to that came from them, the members of NewJeans ensured that they delivered.

From what I can hear, New Jeans is another girl group like Le Sserafim where the members aren’t technically competent with 1 or 2 exceptions (in the case of Le Sserafim, Yujin and Chaewon), but the material they get matches their skill level. That is always something to be appreciated. If an idol group gets a song that they aren’t able to execute properly, it brings the whole song down. Thankfully, this was not the case with NewJeans. The girls gave confidence, and I’m convinced

As a small nitpick, in the talk-rap verses, there were a couple times where the member singing it was slightly off beat. It isn’t obvious, but I can tell when I listen closely. Perhaps the girls aren’t proficient rappers, but at the end of the day, confidence wins. It still sounded great overall.
Vocal – 10/10
Rap – 8/10
Overall – 9/10

Final Thoughts
I strongly believe that Attention is one of the best debut songs in the 4th generation of K-pop. (even it it isn’t their official debut yet) There aren’t many k-pop songs that clicked with me on the first listen, yet Attention finds itself to be one of them. I will be eagerly looking forward to what the girls can deliver in their upcoming releases. From what I understand of the situation, there is another MV coming out today, and tomorrow. I will probably write more than one review to make a few exceptions to my one-review-a-day-rule for this group brimming with potential!

10/10

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