Thank you so much for all the interest and the outpouring of love
and clicks and engagement you’ve shown since NewJeans debuted on July 22. As a show of appreciation for all your support and web traffic, we added an extra week to the group’s promotional schedule to milk both the girls and you a little more because we could, but sadly we’re nearly at the end of the promotional period for NewJeans’ self-titled first EP. Even though their first promo is wrapping up, the members will be opening their own Twitter accounts to talk to you soon and really get on the front foot with maintaining that parasocial relationship, and there’s plenty of photos, videos, magazine shoots, and more in the pipeline which we’re now quickly redrafting in light of your recent feedback so the girls actually have a few more clothes on. We thank you for your continued support and hope you’re already looking forward to the second album.
With all promotions and performances of “Attention,” “Hype Boy,” “Cookie” and “Hurt” to prepare for, and putting out everything from Phoning to the pop-up store, shorts on social media, 10 music videos and special videos, and more, NewJeans and ADOR have been spending every day full of excitement, and a little bit nervous, too,
I mean why wouldn’t they be, do you realise how scary you people are?
ADOR wanted to make the album New Jeans an expression of the members’ innocent elegance and their pure, effortless charm,
and even if we totally didn’t, we still wanted to. Thankfully, many people have empathized with and supported our vision: songs and videos that look to promote an innocent and honest message on the surface while also pandering to the fetishes of uncle fans, and paint a collective portrait of the group members, an emphasis on maintaining their natural vocals because nobody is turned on by a robot voice are they, and choreography that emphasizes their natural chemistry and flow. And that support has been incredibly uplifting for NewJeans and everyone here at ADOR.
So we feel all the more sorry that there’s been controversy surrounding the lyrics of “Cookie,” one of the three lead singles off the album. We see now that our intention behind the song was interpreted differently from our expectations
because we totally expected to get away with this dog-whistling shit without being called out for it, and most importantly we apologize for everyone who has felt uncomfortable and concerned as a result and we’ll be extra sorry if that concern translates into us looking bad or not making as much money from underage girls as we could.
For that reason we owe you
and our investors, clients and shareholders a detailed explanation. It could be argued that it’s better not to address such malicious claims, but as our vision for the album is very specific and clear ly about making money from underage girls, we concluded it would be best to make that direction explicitly known.
We released “Cookie” last because, as the girls
that we are making money from explained in a scripted video beforehand, the song was made specially for all the uncle fans who were waiting patiently for NewJeans to debut and because it shows how much confidence we have in the musical direction the group is taking.
The tracks on New Jeans are deliberately ordered so that they tell a story that takes place over “Attention,” “Hype Boy,” “Cookie” and “Hurt.”
and excuse us while we use this opportunity to now recap this story over the next few paragraphs for promotional purposes. Everything is open to interpretation (and we’ll keep reminding you that everything is open to interpretation throughout this entire statement), but the intention was to reflect our vision of the parasocial and creepy relationship between artists and fans and between creators and consumers, with each song having its own underlying messages we wanted to convey.
We wanted “Attention,” including its music video, to capture the hope we had for people to pay
money and attention to us and the new music we’re putting out by emphasizing the musical direction and overall tone of NewJeans as a group of underage girls that we are making money from. “Hype Boy” and its videos then dive into details, expanding on the story started in “Attention” to show what makes each member of the group marketable and special by giving each of them their own music video with unique storylines that all tie back together with the same ending. This final dance party sequence serves to underscore our unique approach to choreography and the NewJeans members’ unconstrained interpretations that make it their own , even thought we actually own all rights to it, and them.
In contrast to the emphasis on choreography in “Hype Boy,” “Cookie” is consciously focused on the music. The song revolves around the paired idea of burning CDs and baking cookies, which
conveniently share the same conceptual verb in Korean. We backed this with a beat that you don’t often get to hear when it comes to K-pop girl groups except when Red Velvet also do it, signaling the daring new ish direction we’re taking. Lyrically, dinner and water are synonymous with staple foods and, in the context of our song, represent just going through the motions. When you reach for dessert instead, you’re looking for something more exciting than an everyday meal that goes beyond merely filling you up and tastes great, too. Just like how some fans probably feel more excited about reaching for the parasocial relationship between themselves and our underage idols, as opposed to whatever else they’ve got going on in their personal lives right now (probably not a lot, hey). “Cookie” has the confidence to do just that while remaining humble enough to call itself a dessert and express that in a cute way. The underlying message of the song is the value of NewJeans’ attempt to make new and original music that makes money from underage girls. That’s why, even though we produce NewJeans’ music and all the related content for everyone to enjoy, it (like home sex work) “ain’t for free” and can only be found at our place, ADOR, pointing listeners toward the whole dog-whistle message the group ultimately aims to convey through their debut album. The music video opens with a cookie rolling in and ends with a CD rolling out. This unexpected change was meant to drive the message home further. We took this symbolism one step beyond that and brought it to life with a CD player bag to carry the album that specifically echoes the shape of a cookie just so in the unlikely event that anyone called us out on this shit we’d have some ammunition ready to go.
Last is the album’s closing track, “Hurt.” After the display of confidence in the three lead singles, the forthright honesty in the album’s only B-side comes across as something of a surprise. Creators have to take a level-headed look at their work; they may be confident in what they are producing, but winning the heart of the consumer (fan) is another question altogether. In presenting something new and different to the world, we were hoping to also gain the approval of the listener (but asking for you to “come and show me first”
, which doesn’t really make any sense in any context other than a sexual one now that we think about it so we’ll just put it in brackets here but not completely explain it and never revisit it again in this entire statement). In that way, the song is an honest display of just how nervous we were to put our new creation ‘s creepiness out for everyone’s consideration. We live in a time when confidence is highly prized but in which we actually all feel hesitant when it comes to trying new things, and “Hurt” touches upon this idea as well. But it also shows us that being upfront and open about your fears of getting caught is a kind of confidence in itself.
As we previously said when explaining the group’s name, pop culture is like a kind of comfort food: Just like the jeans in NewJeans, we keep coming back to them. We don’t have to eat these foods, but life wouldn’t be the same without them. And then there’s some people who even seek them out more and more until they become staples of their diet. Some desserts are so good that we look more forward to them than to the main course. From that perspective, trying to make a judgment call about whether the meal or the dessert after it is superior to the other is a meaningless argument,
as meaningless as this entire paragraph actually, and this made “Cookie” the perfect single to be released last and wrap up the message behind the whole album , and don’t you love it how we’ve taken your concern about our shitty pedo-pandering concepts and turned it around in our favour by using this entire statement as an opportunity to promote that album and tell you all about the songs plus upcoming NewJeans events, wow, we really have you wrapped around our little fingers you fucking useless fandom bitches. I guess we’d better change topics now and talk about the controversy a bit so you don’t notice that this entire statement is just one gigantic advertisement.
The ADOR team didn’t take any issue with the lyrics to “Cookie” when we were making the album because our vision for original and wholesome music
at least on the surface was crystal clear to us. Slang terms aren’t taught in school and not everyone is familiar with them , especially not us, gosh no, I mean we had to walk around during lunchtime in the schoolyard with our fingers in our ears the whole time so we didn’t hear anything like that. It’s impossible for people to be familiar with every idiom and offensive term out there and predicting their reception around the world is an even more challenging task. Gosh if only we had native English speaking songwriters and staff who understood these things.
To be sure, we consulted with English professors, professional interpreters, translators and native speakers about this issue, who suggested it isn’t a commonplace interpretation and one they had to look up as they were unfamiliar with it themselves.
We searched really hard for these “professors”, you can trust us. No you can’t have references. The common thread in all of their opinions was that it’s very problematic to put total confidence into any one interpretation, that a person’s understanding relies on a mix of objective facts and personal experience, and that this must all be considered together in a wider context. They added that the word “cookie” is also not a commonly used slang term for anything sexual and therefore not a problematic word itself, but that any listener could take the word to mean something different depending on their personal experience and exposure to certain slang meanings. They also gave no credit to the argument concerning singular and plural use of the word as both are extremely commonplace, noting that if someone’s goal is to find ill-intentioned meaning or interpret it as slang used among a small subset of people then they will, but that they would be wrong to conclude with any certainty that this is in line with any definitive meaning. So in other words, younger kids won’t detect that there’s anything suspicious going on here, but perverts certainly will, which is exactly what we intended.
Considering how common it is to use friendly and familiar imagery like a cookie
or a creampie, or a banana, or a sausage, or a red hot poker, or a flute, or a train going into a tunnel, or anything in this video even in content targeted toward the youngest children, it would be nonsensical, for example, to stir up controversy over the American tradition of Girl Scouts knocking on strangers’ doors to sell their cookies, or the flyers reading, “Get your Girl Scout Cookies before it’s too late! Ask my daughter today.”
Perhaps most importantly, as we touched upon before, we used the idea of a cookie to represent the singular thing that breaks us out of the ordinary—that is, music, and therefore the album—and “it” was best represented consistently throughout the translated lyrics in singular as opposed to switching haphazardly between “cookie” and “cookies.”
Also, most girls don’t have two vaginas, so if we used “cookies” instead of “cookie” the perverts might have gotten confused and thought we meant literal cookies. We’re just trying to be inclusive here, please no hate.
After this issue arose, we took it upon ourselves to research different slang terms, finding there exist wildly different and unexpected meanings for everyday words like cake, biscuit and rice, strawberry, melon, and more. If someone wants to stir up controversy, then, it isn’t any specific words that’s problematic but any words they choose to target at all. Importantly, words take on entirely different informal meanings in the context of different cultures, places, and at different times in history, so judging how suitable any one word is is ambiguous at best. Considering that, it’s difficult for any song lyrics to ever be free from disputes
, especially if it’s paired with a video full of underage girls singing stuff like “made a little cookie, come and take a lookie, baked at my place only, come get some” in breathy naturalistic voices. Why did she only make one cookie anyway, who eats only one cookie, especially if it’s small? Shouldn’t the cookie be large if it’s going to fill someone up? That’s not going to ruin anybody’s appetite like the lyrics say… unless we meant something else by this, which we totally didn’t, probably. Rather than mention any of the readily available examples and risk offending anyone, consider this scenario provided by a native English-speaking professional translator:
“If an English song had the line, ‘Hey little puppy, eat this taffy, yum,’ and someone wanted to read it literally into Korean slang—which would basically say, ‘Hey you s**thead, go f**k yourself’—what should we do about a viewpoint like that?”
I guess if we’re talking about Siwon’s dog then perhaps those are the same thing. Maybe this is a bad example. Anyway let’s move on.
We at ADOR are incredibly grateful for everyone campaigning to ensure minors are protected and who share their good ideas and helpful opinions. We see you, we thank you, and we respect you
even though we certainly won’t be taking on board any of your suggestions about a healthy diet, proper rest, freedom during the training period, or anything like that. What we don’t condone, and what we regret to see, is those people who stir up controversy for its own sake but under the deceptive guise of protecting minors , you don’t really care, only we care about minors because we care about making money from them. Going beyond misinformed speculation and hasty judgment and as far as to try and make a point by putting words in the mouths of minors in a provocative thumbnail can hardly be seen as protecting them in good faith although it potentially does highlight the fact that these girls aren’t allowed to speak for themselves without us watching over and auditing their every word, can you satirists please leave the “forcing words into other people’s mouths” to your trusted corporate k-pop entities thanks. It seems inappropriate to fill the heads of the very people they claim to want to protect with slang terms they’re unlikely to learn anywhere else using sensational means. We’re looking at you, Kpopalypse – better watch what you say in those stupid memes with the red and white text.
The lyrics to “Cookie” were written by two native English speakers: a Korean woman and a Swedish woman in their 30s
who should know better, so we really have no excuse for this, but gosh we’re going to try our best anyway. The song was also translated by a bilingual Korean woman. Given how sure we were in our vision, everyone was stunned when the issue arose , because everyone else has been getting away with dog-whistle for decades in this business, so we really didn’t think anyone would give a shit this time either. Still, we were under fire from a false accusation saying the lyrics were presumably written by a man in an apparent attempt to distort our intention but we proved that women can be creepy too which I guess is a win for gender equality, or something. Aside from assumptions around gender, we also saw hasty judgment made around the question of age. The ADOR team has also been concerned about the way NewJeans has been portrayed as an unusually young group (with two 19-year-old members and the others 18, 17, and 15 in Korean age and we’re making sure to quote the “Korean age” here rather than their actual age to make them seem as old as possible, we learned that trick from you uncle fans, cheers for that) when other teenage groups have similar lineups because they’ve gotten away with this shit so why can’t we, I’m telling you it’s just so not fair, as well as the stereotype some people hold that young people are unassertive and uninvolved with the world around them , because we all know young women are very much assertive and in control of their lives, that’s why we have such strict contracts with NDAs to put a complete stop to that kind of behaviour.
It’s possible that this long explanation would have no sway over people who have already made up their minds about the issue
because not everyone is going to be stupid enough to believe us. Despite our best efforts to cover our asses, we’re worried whether we’ll be able to deal with each and every harmful interpretation with malicious intent behind it for that reason. After all, a toxic perspective can take something harmless and see it as something that’s anything but and we don’t want to get called out for exploiting that. We believe the most important factor when it comes to interpretation is context. As always, context is key, just ask anyone who was in Stellar.
Everyone at ADOR will do their best going forward to prevent any further misunderstanding.
We did our best to provide a clear and consistent explanation of our vision leading up to the release of “Cookie,” which, as detailed earlier in this letter, represents the culmination of our work on the album as a whole. We believe the reason NewJeans and ADOR’s content has received so many comments on its innocuous, innovative approach is because we have been sincere in our intentions
to make money from underage girls. Everything we have presented to you so far has come from a place of deep sincerity to make money from underage girls. Every time we have reached out to fans, be it through the music, promotions, album design, performances, social media posts, or otherwise, we have done our utmost to be honest and upfront about making money from underage girls. We focused on making a quality product and thought carefully about how to best meet all the desires of the fans, carefully crafting, for example, every aspect of the album as well as the collectibles included with it and the quantity thereof. No one’s perfect, but ADOR’s goal is to be friendly, open, and straightforward with our fans, and we’re actively working toward that end of making a ton of money from underage girls and then sailing away on our new yacht filled with that money.
The most heartbreaking comments we saw towards NewJeans and ADOR were those that said we were scheming something or had a hidden agenda
which is just silly really, there’s no need for conspiracy theories when our desire to make money from underage girls is already right out there in the open for everyone to see. But we think that’s a weak argument because we don’t stand to gain anything good from it. It’s necessary to ask who benefits from the growing accusation about our label having an underhanded motive besides perhaps girls at other agencies going through the same shit, and k-pop hopefuls, but nobody cares about that. The members of NewJeans sing, “Attention is what I want,” but this is in no way the kind of attention that the group, nor ADOR, nor even their adoring fans, are after, and these unfounded rumors have really taken their toll on everyone involved with the project, although clearly not enough to make us actually consider that we might have done something wrong, hence why we’re doubling-down on our bad decisions with this long-ass statement. We are here to care for our newly debuted artists and are actively working to protect them from finding out how they’re being exploited by us, and really hope fans and listeners continue to do the same, but not too much, we don’t want to have to change up the whole training system, now.
Now that we’ve gone over the details of our intentions
to make money from underage girls and the current circumstances at length, we hope everyone can put these unwarranted doubts behind them and enjoy all the content we have put so much care and good faith into without reservations.
Thank you as always