For some strange reason, there’s been a surprisingly high number of references in media towards Marilyn Monroe over the past few weeks. Most notably in the form of Netflix’s incredibly controversial Blonde (you can read my thoughts on the film here), the former American icon has been almost everywhere, continuing to be peddled as a sexual icon despite the way she was treated during her life time. A notion furthered by (G)I-dle’s latest single, the aptly titled Nxde. And though I can see an argument being made for the potentially distasteful nature of this concept, there’s no doubt that it sells.
Musically, Nxde is a little all over the place, moving from one disparate element to another in ways that sometimes point towards some truly dynamic soundscapes but most of the time, simply falter. The pitched strings and pounding percussion alongside the skittering hi-hats help build a tonne of atmosphere but most of the time feel like clashing elements rather than complimentary. This results in a listening experience that just doesn’t feel as satisfying as it should. I understand this musical cacophony might have been intentional but that doesn’t always mean it’s good. As I said in my review of the groups Oh My God back in 2020, just because it’s aiming for some “high art” spectacle, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good. I can appreciate the artistic direction but don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully embrace it. The performance is also very inconsistent. There are moments, such as the vocal driven portion of the chorus, that absolutely soar, providing a genuinely powerful display of the girls skills over a melody that stretches itself a little too thin but gets the job done. However, these highs are contrasted by some vocal affections that I just can’t stand. The opening hook delivered by Soyeon instantly grates and though it’s bolstered by some potent percussion during the climax, it doesn’t lead to the best of introductions.
However as I said previously, Nxde does have a few highlights. The production though messy does earn points for being inventive and playing around with differing musical textures. I appreciate the constant percussion and sprinkles of horns that bring the required vintage flair and the consistent pace is appreciated. The slight touches of electric guitar during the standout pre-chorus is great and easily help make it one of my favourite parts of the track. Nxde also builds to a pretty strong climax, bringing all its elements together to form a soundscape that feels right in line conceptually without feeling overstuffed like the rest of the track. Though it ends a little too prematurely, a problem I’ve had with some of the groups other singles. Miyeon and Yuqi once again remain the standout performers and elevate almost every moment they’re given. But though I do appreciate Nxde for what it is conceptually, I don’t think I’ll be replaying this single all too much.
Final Rating: 7.25 / 10