After JYP Entertainment seemingly ditched trying to make MIXX-Pop work a year into the experiment, things appeared to be settling in nicely for NMIXX in 2023. Releases like “Love Me Like This“, “Party O’Clock“, and especially “Roller Coaster” had them headed in comfortable direction, even if a well-worn one. But suddenly for Fe3O4: Break, JYPE brought back the changeup for “Sonar“, which was still sort of a mess. On the upside, NMIXX got closer to making it work, and now “DASH” sees the experimentation mostly come to fruition.
“Dash, I wanna dash, I wanna run it” is a strong hook to lead with and makes an instant impression. To drop the track from there into a verse that features a throwback* hip-hop beat and R&B groove that’s vocal-centric gave “DASH” close to a perfect start. Floating with attitude over the funky riff and the aforementioned old school feel, the stabs of brass help complete an excellent production package. This is maybe a weird comp considering they’re rookies, but it’s as if a KISS OF LIFE song was given a bit more edge to it from a production standpoint, and NMIXX are better off for it.
*00s are retro now, I suppose, fuck me.
At first blush, the chorus of “DASH” didn’t quite get there for me because it seemed to be just the repetition of the hook. However, adding Lily vocal parts in the back half compensates for that and gives it a melodic flourish that has been missing from a lot of other songs in this mode recently. I’m not quite sure how well the chorus ages to my ear, but so far so good. Meanwhile, NMIXX themselves really help to elevate this song, as Lily thrives as usual but the rest of the members acquit themselves well throughout as well.
Oh right, time to address the elephant in the room: yes, the changeup for MIXX-Pop still exists. However, it isn’t nearly as out of place anymore. I still feel like declaring it in lyrics instead of just letting it happen sorta indicates they know it isn’t the best decision, but transitioning the changeup element to just a bridge helps it become less of a distraction. The brighter lift it provides and the drum-and-bass flourish also connects with the main track better thanks to the aforementioned vocal peaks of the chorus leading into it, which all helps make it less discombobulating.
So with that element now at least in not-song-ruining territory, NMIXX truly seem to have found something here in “DASH”. I still think it would’ve been even better if they had not almost stubbornly stuck to their MIXX-Pop guns — and if they had also extended the song by about 45 seconds — but “DASH” is such an easy song to get addicted to, and its hook has stood out among the most to me so far this year. Promising stuff.
Meanwhile, the music video accurately depicts a generic rebellious image, and it appropriately reflects the lyrics of “DASH”. The members want to forge their own path rather than walking the well-worn one, which is where forcing the changeup makes conceptual sense at least. However, it’s also pretty standard imagery being presented, and especially the changeup portion of video is basically them aping NewJeans styling (the rest sorta does as well). None of this is NMIXX’s fault, of course, but it’s become noticeable that JYPE does seem to be struggling in being forward thinking and creative in terms of concepts and outfits more than other major companies. All of that is less important if the music hits, though.