So, yes, “O.O” is all that it’s accused of: shouty, abrasive and abrupt. It’s a song that hasn’t got a fuck to give, and is all the better for it. Heavy bass, EDM brass and a piercing vocal hook (“Watch out, baila, baila, baila!”) transition you with a wild exhilaration between what’s best described as sonic chapters. It was prophetic of its reception and misconception (“Come in, cross those arms, sit down. Can almost hear the roar, it’s just a teaser… Don’t be surprised yet, calm down, down, down”), a showcase of NMIXX’s sweet to spicy vocal duality that happens to drive with its foot to the floor on a wet highway and pulls U-turns so sharp they’ll snap your neck. One listen was never going to be enough to endear “O.O”, and in 2022 that’s the biggest, bravest risk a pop song can take.
When NMIXX first heard their songs, leader and vocalist Haewon says, “because it was new, we all thought it was fresh”. Their sound is dubbed ‘MIXXPOP’ because of the simple ethos that carries it, the mixing up of sounds and genres, a practice K-pop at large is renowned for. That the production team behind NMIXX might have pushed the envelope too hard for some listeners hasn’t deterred the group themselves. After all, if no one steps up to create a so-called ‘niche’ now, the mainstream of the future recycles itself into a coma.