Of all the girl groups in k-pop, few are as underrated as Nine Muses. Though the group has released a string of super-solid singles, they’ve never been able to break through to the big leagues. Some of this might have to do with the seeming instability of the group itself. At various points in their career, Nine Muses has consisted of anywhere from five to nine members. And when you’ve got a specific number right there in your name, this can be a bit of a branding problem!
Moon Hyuna departed the group last October, and has now released her first solo single Cricket Song (크리켓송). Those expecting the track to sound anything like Nine Muses will be surprised. In fact, k-pop fans in general will likely be taken aback by the song’s quirky composition. K-pop has long since been enamored with heavily repeated earworm hooks, but not in the way Cricket Song presents them. The track bobs along a simple electro beat that meshes elements of lounge and trip-hop with a trendy tropical synth sound. Hyuna’s vocal performance is restrained, rarely rising above an airy whisper as she coos the breezy melody.
The song’s cyclical “cricket” hook feels reminiscent of chill, western indie pop like Peter Bjorn & John’s 2007 hit Young Folks. Rather than overblown, it relies on an understated, offhand kind of repetition that’s actually quite rare in mainstream k-pop. This works to the song’s benefit, striking the balance between instantly catchy and beguilingly cool. A steady dose of it might be too much, but as a debut single, the song positions Hyuna as a solo artist worth paying attention to.