With the click of insertion of a VHS tape, the music video for Ditto by NewJeans, a five-girl K-pop group formed in 2022, opens with a retro video being recorded by an unknown person. After that, the music video plays, accompanied by a nostalgic tune. Together, the video and song make Ditto by NewJeans the center stage for hidden themes and messages.
The video opens with a montage of seemingly happy friends and their adventures throughout a 1990s school. While moving on to the choreographed video, the video still keeps its nostalgic motif while depositing clips now and then that are in a similar retro style to the ones we saw at the beginning, keeping the video itself retro, yet dreamy.
To understand the entirety of the music video, we must first understand the song. With its lyrics of, “My feelings for you, like the memories we share, have grown so big. . . You smiled at me but, do you think about me now, yeah?”, the song can be interpreted as a longing for someone, but never knowing if they will ever feel the same way about you. It begins and ends with a soothing melody sung by the members, which expands into a softer pop song for the listeners, creating an addictive soft pop sound with its inspirations from Bmore and aspects of R&B. As an enjoyer of slower songs in any genre, plus the added bonus of it being an unrequited love song, and soothing melodic beginnings and endings, the scoring for the song alone would be a 5/5.
Now, on the surface, the music video is a montage of the lives of these six middle school girls having fun, but if you pay attention to the ending scenes of the music video, there is more than meets the eye.
The six girls that the video focuses on are the five girls in NewJeans as well as a sixth unknown girl, who’s seen recording them throughout the video. However, we never get to see her face or ever really participate in the other five girls’ activities. For my very first viewing, I didn’t give that aspect much thought. To me, girl six had always been there just recording, that’s why there were so many clips of the other five.
The last minute of the video puts all of this into perspective. The sixth girl, Heesoo, is still recording in the same exact situations, however, none of the five other girls are to be seen. This can be seen as simply for shock value with the level of eeriness that comes from this final minute. But when viewed in the context of the lyrics, the music video can now be seen as a metaphor for idol-fan behavior.
Fans often get infatuated with idol groups, companies are aware of that, and many take advantage of it. With the combination of the song and music video, Ditto shows what being into an idol group is like. Heesoo smiles whilst recording the girls, in her head, they’re there with her and she is having a blast with them, being able to enjoy all the things that the other five are enjoying. In many ways that’s how the idol industry operates as well, wanting fans to believe that their favorite idols are friends with them, that they know them, and in short, get the fans to spend money.
I’m not here to talk about the ramifications of these actions by the idols, fans, or companies, but the way it was presented through the combination of video and song was ingenious. Ditto brought in the fresh concept of nostalgia and mixed it with how the modern idol industry works, creating a product that is both a video that has been masterfully produced and a song that makes you travel back into the days of your youth, receiving a score of 5/5 for production and message.
Together, the wonderfully crafted song, video, and message sewn in between both, all became two sides of a coin, one of which shows a simple story of unrequited love, the other showing what happens when that love is falsely perceived to be requited. For anyone wanting to watch it, the easiest avenue to watch the music video and to listen to the song would be on Youtube, even if you don’t enjoy Kpop, I can be certain that you will appreciate the video’s message and the (obviously) 5/5 song.