[Review] DICE – NMIXX

Starting off the week is NMIXX, the latest rookies under JYP Entertainment. For those who missed their debut (it was very hard to miss, but just in case you did), NMIXX made their debut with O.O in February this year. Yesterday, they returned with their first comeback – the single album is titled Entwurf, while the title track for the comeback (and focus of this review) is titled DICE.

Given the likes of O.O and hearing that DICE would be of a similar formula, I think the bracing yourself for the likes of DICE would be an appropriate response. The mash up style that NMIXX is going to be known for at this rate begins from the very beginning, with a short-lived and unnecessary theatre-like beginning. I thought it was an opening for the music video, but it made its way into the actual song. Things started to look up ever so briefly for DICE, with the first verse and chorus being perfectly fine. The first verse, which brought a hip-hop tinge to the song, flowed well into the Latin inspired chorus. I found the two parts used similar deep tones, which might have been the common string. The rapping in the first verse was fine and dynamic. The delivery in the chorus, on the other hand, attempted to hype you up by being shouty and loud. While there was some charm to this, it disabled any attempt for a hook to form. Instead, I find DICE‘s chorus to be memorable thanks to the instrumentation. The second verse is where DICE starts to crumble for me and become erratic. At least, they were being explicit with their change with the ‘NMIXX Change Up‘ transition. We are initially treated to a different, intensified and darker rap verse. It had potential to be good on its own (Kyujin’s ‘Big Wave, Big Wave‘ line was quite memorable). But its presence in DICE just didn’t click for me. We then continue back to the Latin influence with an overly explosive set of vocals from Lily. Again, this was pretty good. It is the flick between the rap to the Latin influence that doesn’t sit well with me in this section. The second pre-chorus bypasses the chorus and goes into an instrumental break, which is a whole different style altogether. I am not surprised by this difference, but the synths (one of them reminds me of ITZY’s WANNABE) was a bit sparse and weak. Something tighter, more intense and exhilarating would have served DICE better, just so the momentum of the song is continued. Similarly with the final chorus. I loved that we returned to the Latin infusion, but as it is the final chorus, it needed a bit more to end DICE on a high note.

I quite liked the circus -like machinery at the start of the video. It was definitely intriguing intro and looked very cool. The video then takes us through MIXXTOPIA (another universe in KPOP), which has its own theatre, a colourful Dr. Suess-like outdoor and a dark whirly location. The latter is quite cool, but I feel like this is a bit mixed up. I would expected the hip-hop and rap parts of the song to feature in that dark whirly location, while the Latin influence segments of the song (as they are brighter segments of DICE) to be associated with that Dr. Suess like outdoor set. Not the other way around. But to each their own. Not exactly sure what the ending signifies. But overall, it was a visually pleasing video to watch.

The choreography aspect of this comeback was top notch. No particular move really stood out, but I liked the routine as a whole piece. Just like the song, there is a lot going on. But all showed potential for the group in the performance aspect.

Song – 5.5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 6.9/10

[Review] O.O – NMIXX

A new player is on the playing field! JYP Entertainment’s latets female group, NMIXX, make their debut today with O.O, which is featured on the group’s debut single album, Ad Mare. NIMIXX is a seven members female group consisting of Haewon, Lily, Sullyoon, Jinni, BAE, Jiwoo and Kyujin. While the release dropped today, NMIXX unfortunately hasn’t been able to start off their careers as planned with a debut showcase as some of the members have tested positive for COVID-19. Unsure what that means for their promotions for this week, but hopefully the affected members recover quickly to be able to perform O.O on stage for us soon.

Hang tight, as there is a lot of unpack from O.O. When I listened to the song, it sounds like three songs were mashed into one. We have heard this before and sometimes it works (unexpectedly). O.O is one that doesn’t not work for me, and is not a good first step for a debut. I have listened to it a few times and I just can’t get over how distinct each section of the song. The first third of O.O was this edgy and powerful sound that I was not a fan of. It was quite overwhelming on many fronts, such as the vocals and rapping. They were poorly processed and sounded quite strained for the most part. It was a bit ‘try-hard’, if you wanted me to be direct about the sequence. The second third of the song was much more likeable and enjoyable, in comparison to the preceding sequence. It was a lot brighter, taking on a pop profile with hints of rock. The vocals and rapping were better here, but they still felt they were pushed too far. If there was a takeaway from this middle sequence, it is that they are youthful. The final (and third) sequence went down more of the hip-hop route. This also wasn’t that bad, but it lies in between the first and second sections of the song in terms of likeability for me. It was noisy, it was intense, it was overwhelming as well. It sounded like they were competing with the music, and I wished the producers had went with a slightly milder sound so we could hear more of NMIXX. Attitude and sassy also come to mind. When you consider the three parts as a whole, as intended, it felt like the whoever put the three pieces together were trying to fit three puzzle pieces together that were never going to fit. I am hoping that with time, O.O becomes a bit more bearable and that I find myself enjoying it more. Time after time, my reviews have turned up side down as a result to second chances and repeat listens. I personally think that O.O has a lot of warming up to do in order to recover, but who knows.

Like the song, it made sense that the music video would be in three segments as well. To match that edgy and powerful tone in the first sequence, we got a mysterious visual piece. Members are running into walls, colours are all very neutral and dominos are falling throughout the city. Personally, I found this sequence to be the coolest of the three when it came to the visual aid. In comparison to the first sequence, the second sequence of the video (for the second segment of O.O) felt like a unicorn did its business. It was super colourful and really encapsulated an innocent and youthful vibe (just like the song). For the third part of the song, the video adopted a darker vibe to compliment the noisy hip-hop sound. I do wonder what the final scene to the video is about. It is a bit ambiguous, but also very mysterious at the same time.

The choreography aspect also felt promising. One of the perks of having what felt like three different songs in one is that you can do a fair bit on stage. The start of the performances looks very cool, while the swing in the second sequence looks quite unique. I also liked how powerful the routine looked.

Song – 4/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6/10