NMIXX fails to mix multiple genres with their debut album “AD MARE”


Shreya Jagannathan

NMIXX’s debut, despite its musical risks, fails to present the group’s true potential.

Anaisha Das and Mayukhi Katragadda

On Feb. 22, 2022, Korean entertainment company JYP’s new South Korean girl group NMIXX released their first single album “Ad Mare,” consisting of two songs: the title track “O.O” and B-side “Tank.” The seven-member group has undeniably received attention from fans since their inception, with “O.O”’s music video garnering over 50 million views on YouTube as of March 16. However, with numerous controversies, disarranged music production and shallow lyrics, this newfound attention does not reflect the debut’s quality. 

Since JYP’s announcement of a new girl group, NMIXX has been embroiled in a collection of mostly minor plagiarism controversies.The most notable one involves boy group ATEEZ’s “Wave.” Immediately after NMIXX’s music video for “O.O” was released, fans were quick to point similarities between the video and K-pop group ATEEZ’s video “Wave.” Twitter stans united to allege that JYP had stolen ATEEZ’s pirate storyline in the “O.O” music video. 

Stirred with controversy, NMIXX’s debut tracks do not do them justice, and they fail to properly introduce the group. The members’ voices and skills are outshined by the terrible mixing and production, and the song lacks an impactful concept. 

The most polarizing aspect of “O.O” is undoubtedly its attempt to combine two different melodies around the one-minute mark. Following a boisterous first chorus, the song takes a saccharine, bubblegum pop turn. With a drastic key and tempo change, one can’t help but wonder whether a completely different song is playing. 

With a drastic key and tempo change, one can’t help but wonder whether a completely different song is playing. 

This isn’t the first time a K-pop song has attempted to transcend genres. “O.O”’s ambition mirrors Korean girl group Aespa’s “Next Level,” a track with a similar tempo change. Yet, what makes “Next Level” succeed in its shift from a forceful hip-hop influenced track to a funkier interlude is a smooth transition verse, a portion that “O.O” lacks. Instead of replicating the bravado of “Next Level,” “O.O” falls flat with its poor execution and lack of a singular vision. 

Not only is the song sonically disjointed, but it’s also lyrically nonsensical. “O.O” is filled to the brim with onomatopoeias, such as “shoog, shoog, shoog” and “dam-da-ra-dam-da-ra-dam.” Almost every single line contains these types of phrases, so much that it’s shocking that the 11 songwriters who worked on the song couldn’t come up with proper phrases that convey meaning. The few lyrics that aren’t gibberish are generic cliches, and the song lacks a coherent message. 

What the song does feature in the midst of its randomness is explicit product placement. Following “O.O”’s bombastic opening, the first verse begins with the line, “check out, popcorn and Zero Coke.” While advertisements, even in song lyrics, aren’t completely uncommon in K-pop songs, the fact that Coca Cola is featured very prominently in both the music video and lyrics results in a cheapened first impression of the girl group. 

“O.O”s music video is just as messy and haphazard as the song itself. Like the costumes switched by the members, concepts are also switched with the snap of a finger. Yet despite the variety of concepts used, the song becomes confusing and colorless. The music video also  fails to highlight any of the members and fails to convey any meaning or story. Rather than showcasing the members’ charms, the music video is extremely flashy and attempts to display overwhelming visuals without being cohesive. 

Compared to “O.O,” the group’s second single, ”Tank” seems to have been the better choice.  Despite its unusual lyrics (“I’m so freaky fresh fresh”), the repetitive chorus is less grating and even somewhat catchy. The track properly utilizes the members’ heavenly vocals and outstanding rap skills and offers a proper introduction to the group’s talents. The music production is high quality compared to “O.O.”, as it grows on you after multiple listens. 

Despite the bad production of “O.O”, its choreography has grown increasingly popular. For example, a new TikTok trend emerged recently in which K-pop fans try to recreate a kick move present in the official choreo. The song may not live up to our expectations, but its choreography does a good job at highlighting the members’ performance skills and years of training. 

NMIXX’s debut made a splash in the K-pop and music industry as it highlights the growing trend of creating “noise music.” With illogical lyrics and a clashing of concepts, their album is somewhat representative of where the K-pop industry is going; songs with no meaning but high production value and extensive choreography.