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Thursday, June 13, 2024

BTS’s RM, NewJeans in unintentional faceoff with simultaneous music release

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An unintentional faceoff began between K-pop’s biggest boy band BTS leader RM and NewJeans, the “hottest” girl group in town, as the two acts released much-anticipated music on Friday afternoon.

RM’s second full-length album “Right Place, Wrong Person” and NewJeans’ two-track single “How Sweet” were both released on Friday at 1 p.m. amid an ongoing battle between RM’s agency HYBE and its subsidiary, NewJeans’ agency ADOR.

The two tracks are “songs with a different charm so that our fans, Bunnies, could have a varied experience,” according to NewJeans. “We worked especially hard on the dance on ‘How Sweet,’ so make sure you enjoy the song with the dance.”

NewJeans returned with two summer jams that seems to be geared toward topping the charts. [ADOR]
Lead track “How Sweet” is a track with bright woozy synth and a spacious ambience with a flurry of light cowbell percussion accentuating the chorus. The skittering rhythm juxtaposed to a spacey atmosphere comes together into a NewJeans-flavored Miami bass record.

The B-side “Bubble Gum” sees the group stepping slightly out of its comfort zone, with a funk-influenced guitar section forming the backbone of the track. The song’s rhythm section is slower and punchier than “How Sweet,” making the song sound like a retrofitted disco jam from the 80s.

The music video for “Bubble Gum” was released three weeks prior to the song’s digital release on HYBE’s YouTube channel on April 27. The video had approximately 38.6 million views as of Friday as of 6 p.m.

The music video for “How Sweet” was released at 4 p.m. on Friday, three hours after the release of the song. The performance video on KBS2’s “Music Bank” will be released on Saturday.

RM returned with his second full-length album, “Right Place, Wrong Person,” with music that heads for a philosophical direction. [HYBE]
RM returned with his second full-length album, “Right Place, Wrong Person,” with music that heads for a philosophical direction. [HYBE]

RM’s 11-track album “Right Place, Wrong Person” stands in stark contrast to NewJeans, with a self-explanatory album that depicts the very sensation of being “the wrong person at the right place” — a stranger who doesn’t belong.

The first half of the album takes the listeners to a harrowing darkness captured by the jazzy hip-hop track “Domodachi,” which means friend in Japanese, as well as the songs “Right Person, Wrong Place” and “Nuts.”

The second half of the album finds the mood brightening up with lighter choruses and more sentimental lyrics. The lead track “Lost!” has an uplifting chorus with bright piano keys, steady clap drums and a bouncing rhythm guitar. The lyrics portray the message that as long as a person is with their friends, they will be O.K. even if they are lost.

RM enlisted many unconventional names for the K-pop fan in this record. Kim Han-ju, the multi-instrumentalist of the Korean indie band Silica Gel and Oh Hyuk, vocalist of the band Hyukoh, stands out among the list. U.K. rapper Little Simz, Jazz duo DOMi & JD BECK and singer-songwriter Moses Sumney from the United States also worked on this album.

“This album started from RM’s question, ‘If I hadn’t gone down this path, what life would I be living now?'” according to BigHit Music, RM’s agency. “RM worked on the album believing his honesty would move many people.”

RM will release music videos and live performance videos from “Right Place, Wrong Person” next Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and June 10.

The two acts’ agencies are currently embroiled in the biggest battle of 2024 K-pop. NewJeans’ agency ADOR is set to hold a shareholders meeting on May 31 at the request of HYBE, which has been demanding that ADOR’s CEO Min Hee-jin step down.

To find out more about them, visit Celeb Confirmed!

BY KIM MIN-YOUNG [kim.minyoung5@joongang.co.kr]