Seven months after the release of their polarizing debut single, Nmixx are back to roll the dice with a bold and ambitious number.
After receiving many negative reactions from the general public, some wondered if JYP Entertainment would opt for a safer, more conventional song for the septet’s first comeback. On the contrary, “Dice” is a daring follow-up to “O.O” that fits in the group’s ‘mixx pop’ genre.
Like their debut, “Dice” is an intense combination of various genres, styles, and structures all in one track. While the tune will definitely gain mixed reviews, the concept of playing with dice from a board game acts as an effective base for an incredibly vibrant and entertaining music video.
Entering Nmixx’s fictional world dubbed ‘Mixxtopia,’ we begin in an eerie circus with the group performing in an elegant theater before promptly taking us to an outlandish realm as the girls play a strange board game together.
Filled with numerous fantastical props, the bright neon set draws inspiration from the surreal world of Alice in Wonderland and includes some odd elements that one would expect from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or a Dr. Seuss story. As cards are played and the dice is rolled, we are again swiftly transported — this time to the inside of the small, six-sided object.
The dice-inspired sets for the members’ individual scenes are diverse and whimsical, appearing disorderly when placed next to each other. This acts as an analogy for Nmixx’s unpredictable musical direction. From the lyrics, Nmixx embrace their genre-blending style despite the many difficulties to make it work:
Let, let, let’s roll thе dice, yeah
Change thе game inside out
Throw it, nice shot
Destiny’s in this hand, babe
In the world open before you, yeah
Get ready for us
So tell me what you want, where you wanna go
Whatever sides the dice land on, or whatever concept that the audience wants to see, the girls express confidence in executing any theme or genre. The cube-shaped sets also complement the lyrics like the boat amongst the clouds during Kyujin’s line “Surfing over that sky / Flying through the ocean” and the nonsensical, cat-filled space for Sullyoon’s line “So what if it makes no sense? / No more waitin’.”
For the chorus, the group performs on a black and white illusion stage with fun paper cut-out effects to fill in the dark background as the song suddenly switches genres in the second verse. This, as well as the zany, colourful CGI throughout the video help to enhance the eccentricity of the concept. On the whole, the music video is a quirky adventure with vivid, in-your-face visuals that, despite being off-putting at times, greatly amplifies the tune’s bizarreness.
However, while the video was entertaining, its accompanying track leaves much more to be desired. Compared to “O.O,” “Dice” is a smoother listening experience with seemingly less forceful transitions between soundscapes but still follows a similar method that, in turn, brings about similar frustration as their debut record did.
“Dice” starts off with a theatrical jazz-inspired segment before quickly switching to the first verse that incorporates a hip-hop rhythm with uncanny trap tones. As we enter the chorus, the song returns to the jazz sound with enjoyable brass instrumentation but having the girls sing-rap here and frequently throughout the rest of the tune seems like a weird direction to take considering the group boasts members with imposing vocal skills and unique timbres.
Without giving listeners a chance to really take in the atmosphere, the number whisks us away to a darker, discordant second verse that is not developed enough to leave a lasting impact, a factor that also applies to other sections of the track. A lot of ideas in “Dice” are genuinely intriguing, but they’re often cut short with no opportunity to lead to any sort of climax. The moods and sounds change so often that there isn’t a memorable hook or notable melody, making it tiresome for listeners to follow the song.
Doing a near 180, Entwurf offers a more mainstream B-side. “Cool (Your Rainbow)” is a soothing pop ballad that features trap sounds in tandem with a graceful brass and string instrumental. With a light, alluring vocal arrangement, the members’ singing shine the brightest here than any of their other tracks. The opera-like outro is especially striking and evocative.
With this, it seems like Nmixx is set to be JYP Entertainment’s designated ‘experimental’ group, focusing on targeting a specific niche rather than appealing to the general public.
Though “Dice” isn’t the most pleasant listen, the group’s genre mixing concept can still work with some more polishing. If they are given tracks that mix sounds more cohesively and effectively use the members’ vocal skills, Nmixx has the potential to be an incredibly interesting group to look out for in the increasingly saturated K-pop industry. Whether or not JYP Entertainment can achieve that ideal balance, only time will tell.