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Chart-Toppers & Heartstoppers: XG & NewJeans

By: Naomi Rodriguez | 9 August 2023

xg & newjeans
XG “GRL GVNG” & New Jeans “Cool With You” Concept Photos

Taking one look at the charts, you’ll notice that girl groups have taken almost every winning spot and are one of the highest risers in 2023. However, a lot of these groups are quite literally a year old or even less than that. So, how do groups like NewJeans and XG gain such popularity in just under a year?

Despite the multitude of concepts, the common link is the surge of Neo-Y2K. This subculture aesthetic can be represented across stage styling, album presence, or even the genres of music these groups blend. Neo-Y2K embodies the fear and fascination of modern technology from the early 2000s while incorporating modern art such as Glitchcore and Vaporwave. It embraces the rise of technology while paying homage to the colors and themes from the year 2000. And the thing with Neo-Y2K, it appeals to a wider, growing audience as most of those born in the early 2000s are now in their 20s. Millennials and Gen-Z are reacting to a world that they want to change; the little time we have to find joy in small things allows music to thrive. The girls of XG and New Jeans remind us of a world where things are bright, we’re in control, and everything will be alright.

XG, a seven-member Japanese girl group, is one of the biggest risers in music right now that fully embodies Neo-Y2K. They made their debut in early 2022 and since then, captured the attention of fans all over with their striking performances and styling. With over 5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, XG has established their artistry through singles and remixes. XG invited RICO NASTY to remix their most streamed song, “SHOOTING STARS” and Ciara, and Jackson Wang to remix “LEFT RIGHT.” Aside from this, “LEFT RIGHT” has been charting in the U.S. Airplay Charts for over 10 weeks.

From this success, XG has been a part of 88rising’s “Head in The Clouds” Festival this May and soon to be owning the stage for KCON LA’s festival this August. This rise of XG has been purely based on their indisputable talent from dance, singing, and rap.

Their GALZ XYPHER, made of the four main rappers, went viral for their insane flow and unique voices they bring to their music, and now it sits at 24 million views on YouTube. Their concepts focus on a technology-driven world and the mix of human life and the unknown; their style sticks out so strongly with a dark and neon palette along with constant altering of the face. This technique is so successful for the girls as it allows listeners and watchers to enjoy their pure talent rather than their visuals. Their growth has been organic and with their unique concept and incredibly talented performers, I envision XG to be the global girl group they aspire to be.

New Jeans embodies a different version of Neo-Y2K. The nostalgia and colorful palettes of New Jeans amplified their success. Looking closely at their production, the members of New Jeans are actively involved in the making of their music and choreography; this autonomy allows the girls to feel more connected to their work, especially at such a young age. Their 2nd EP “Get Up” beat the Barbie film Soundtrack for Number 1 on the Billboard 200.

This success on the charts is seen with their awaited stage at Lollapalooza Chicago; and proves their massive popularity in the U.S. The crowds were already singing along to their just released songs and even showed up with New Jeans Bunnies merch such as Bunny hats and their light stick! Many were baffled by their unprecedented success, however, if we look from the beginning the hype was consistent. ADOR, a subsidiary of HYBE, had released “Attention” ahead of their proper debut stage. The music video is adorned with the members in jorts, white tees, and butterfly clips, which is a classic ensemble of girls in the early 2000s.

To keep the hype, they soon released “Hybe Boy,” and this time, their choreography captured the world. They were undeniably talented and carried the nostalgic aesthetic so well while bringing in their own fresh style with it. Since then, the hype stayed, and New Jeans is carrying a new side of music across the globe.

As the American market becomes one of the largest consumers of Korean and Japanese musicians, I’ve begun to notice their marketing tactics mimicking those of American musicians. Groups usually release their lead single and EP all at once with quicker turnarounds for comebacks; lately, groups have used lead track releases as a tease for a full comeback showcase. XG often releases one lead song before composing them into a short EP. NewJeans slowly releases all their tracks before their full comeback date. Despite this being completely different from the usual for K-Pop, it works for these girls.

Aside from new marketing tactics, they used their traditional forms of marketing such as collectible albums and YouTube shows, which fans will love all the same. But this form of combination tactics has truly worked in the favor of the new generation of girl groups across the globe.

It is no mistake for these groups' unprecedented success, and they are only about a year in their career. Girl groups like XG and New Jeans are the next big thing in the industry, and it’s only a matter of time before we see the fruits of their success.


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