As 2022’s most successful K-pop debut with the triple-punch release of surprise singles “Attention,” “Hype Boy” and “Cookie,” NewJeans have followed up with the new track “Ditto” that shows off a cooler and more subtle pop approach suitable for the winter months.
While their NWJNS EP was more focused on effervescent pop hooks suited for the sunshine, “Ditto” is more subtle while remaining true to the sweet style NewJeans established at the start. Over a soft, chopped-staccato beat somewhat reminiscent of the Baltimore club style, members Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin and Hyein mix eerie, dulcet harmonies with fun and fast melodies to match the breakbeat. The quintet spill about the rush of hoping to take the next step in a relationship and having their feelings reciprocated: “I don’t want to stay in the middle, like you a little/ Don’t want no riddle…/ Say it back, oh say it ‘ditto’/ I want you so I want you/ So, say it ‘ditto.’”
While Danielle wrote on “Attention” and Hanni wrote on “Hype Boy,” this time eldest member Minji helped write “Ditto,” giving three of the five members songwriting credits just five songs into their career. As the group told Billboard in an earlier interview, NewJeans label CEO Min Hee Jin gives the group “plenty of opportunities to participate” in different ways in their music despite being so new in the industry.
Just like how “Hype Boy” and “Attention” were released in multiple music video versions to help tell the group’s stories, “Ditto” comes with two different visuals. The video’s “Side A” and “Side B” versions both focus on a look back to the five NewJeans members playing and dancing in younger school days alongside a sixth, faceless friend in an arm cast who tends to record their dance rehearsals. While the viewer never gets to see the sixth friend’s face fully, we follow her journey which includes a crush on a schoolmate and reminiscing on her time with the girls by looking through old VHS tapes as an adult.
Visually, the “Ditto” video does a fantastic job in capturing not just the technology middle ground of the ’90s/’00s, where memories lived on fuzzy video cameras and grainy VHS tapes, but in the loneliness and awkwardness one can feel in adolescence, even when surrounded by friends. Lyrically, “Ditto” might be initially thought to be about a romantic crush, but the visual offers the possibility of hoping a new friend reciprocates your feelings to take a friendship to the next level too.
As previously reported, “Ditto” is NewJeans’ pre-release buzz track ahead of the new single “OMG” dropping on Jan. 2. Check out both the “Side A” and “Side B” versions of “Ditto” below: