Due to their unique debut rollout alongside their status of being the latest girl group to join the ever growing number of HYBE subsidiaries, NewJeans have been all the hype over the past few weeks. And though controversy has surrounded the group due to the members age alongside debut single Cookie‘s oddly provocative lyrics, the groups musical output has been mostly potent. Their laid back, Y2K inspired sound is an incredibly fresh jumping off point and one that’s instantly helped carve a nice little niche for the group. But while Attention was a great introduction to the group, Hype Boy feels like a perfect encapsulation of their intended soundscape.
What I love about both Hype Boy and Attention is their sense of focus. I probably sound like a broken record at this point but 2022’s k-pop landscape has felt so fractured, aiming for loud, often fractured performance pieces that often come across as obnoxious and faceless. Sure there have been a few noisy exceptions to that rule but most of 2022’s more successful efforts have all had an undeniable sense of focus. Hype Boy and (to a less extent) Attention fit that bill perfectly. But as this is a review for Hype Boy, I’ll keep my thoughts reserved for that song from now on.
Opening with an instantly intoxicating warped vocal loop, Hype Boy presents its initial soundscape from its first few seconds and stays committed. It’s got a very nostalgic atmosphere, recalling the simple, yet melodic nature of Y2K era pop music without feeling like too much of a throwback. The light, electronic thump that powers the verses is countered by a wispy synth line that traces the melody to create a very dreamy listening experience. One that’s only furthered by the clear and incredibly impressive vocal performance that stands as one of the years most memorable. NewJeans are evidently very proud of their vocal line and are not afraid to show off the great variety of vocal tones and strong vocalists they have within their ranks. They imbue the track with a tonne of personality that helps sell the youthful longing and laidback buoyancy of the track so well.
But I can’t possibly talk about Hype Boy without raving about the fantastic chorus. It’s a complete ear worm, flowing seamlessly from the spiralling, disorientating pre-chorus to give us one of the most memorable centrepieces of the year. Hook after hook lands, harnessing an incredibly addictive melody that feels both at once celebratory yet slightly melancholy. Bittersweet you could say. The percussion grows more pronounced, giving Hype Boy the necessary weight it needed to really shine. I adore how the entire segment is fully sung, devoid of any momentum killing drops or spoken word catchphrases. Just plain, old, singing. Post-chorus and all! And while it may just be one of the most westernised k-pop songs to pop up in the past few years, there’s no denying just how successfully it pulls off its intended sound.
Final Rating: 9.25 / 10
*Yes I know there are 3 more mv versions but I’m only going be linking the Minji one for simplicities sake. (Also because she’s very very pretty)