The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | ‘NEW DNA’ by XG signals bright future for girl group

Courtesy of Genius
Cover of “NEW DNA” by XG, released Sept. 27

Following a string of successful singles, hip-hop and R&B girl group XG released their first extended release, “NEW DNA,” on Sept. 27.

Despite its brief 15-minute runtime, each of the six tracks packs a distinctive punch and leaves the listener reeling for more.

XG — short for Xtraordinary Girls — has captivated from its conception. The unapologetic confidence of members Jurin, Chisa, Hinata, Harvey, Juria, Maya and Cocona on “NEW DNA” hardly indicates that the group debuted just a little over a year ago. Their debut single, “Tippy Toes,” was met with international acclaim following its release in March 2022.

Each successive release — “MASCARA,” followed by “SHOOTING STAR,” “LEFT RIGHT” and now “NEW DNA” — has further cemented the group in the global music scene.

Amid speculations on how to label a Japanese, K-pop-based, English-singing girl group, leader Jurin classified XG’s music as its own genre in an interview with Apple Music, coining the term X-pop. “NEW DNA” brings that concept to perfect fruition. 

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To begin, “HESONOO” translates to “umbilical cord” in Japanese, an apt name given the album’s title, but also with regards to the nature of the track. It’s more of a short skit than a song, illustrating a landing sequence in XG’s alternate universe and immersing the listener in a new world. 

Hypnotic dialogue performed by the group’s executive producer, Simon Jakops, is underlaid by sound effects evocative of a science fiction movie to accompany the listeners on a journey to a new planet.

“X-GENE” continues the saga of XG by rightfully stamping their unique brand on everything from a music genre to a piece of genetic information. The members deliver potent and pointed lines over a fast-paced beat, proclaiming their manifesto of world domination and breaking boundaries. 

“GIRL GVNG” is heady and intimidating. Lingering sirens and vibrating bass complement the lyrics as they dictate what it takes to be a group as ambitious and assured as XG. 

Cocona, Jurin, Maya, Harvey and Hinata come on strong with powerful rap verses while Chisa and Juria’s slower, more deliberate vocal cadence allows the song’s message to sink in. 

“TGIF” is a refreshing play on the usual saying “Thank God it’s Friday,” transforming it into a more relevant “Thank God I’m fly.”  Whereas “GVRL GVNG” presented XG as a united front, “TGIF” lets each member shine. 

The song’s continuous deep house beat akin to that of a high-fashion runway sounds bare at first, but as the members vocally strut through their verses and revel in their self-avowed sublimity, the track fills out.

“You call it cocky / I call it true,” Harvey and Hinata chirp after each chorus, and it becomes apparent that criticism bounces off of XG as swiftly as their addictive lyricism. 

“NEW DANCE” gives listeners a pleasant breather with its beachy, upbeat simplicity. We’re reminded that, despite their moody side, XG still knows how to let loose and have fun. The catchy instrumentals and lighthearted message paint warm pictures of dancing with friends and carefree days out.

Finally, “PUPPET SHOW” is one of the more thought-provoking tracks on “NEW DNA,” with its thematic complexity compensating for the relatively simple melody. 

The song describes a relationship with a power imbalance, where one person, the puppet, is controlled by the other, the puppeteer. XG makes the unique choice of singing from the perspective of the puppeteer, featuring sugary-sweet vocals that blur the line between control and empowerment.

The bridge showcases Chisa and Juria’s heavenly vocals and culminates in a strong last chorus, serving as a rousing conclusion to the album.

With its engaging range of sounds, seemingly effortless quality of production and electric performances, “NEW DNA” is a promising sign of XG’s bright future. 


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