With over 3,000 songs on my iPhone’s “K-Pop Singles” playlist, I thought it would be fun to add a bit of unpredictability to my song review posts. So as a result, we have the “Random Shuffle Review” feature.
The rules are simple. I fire up my playlist, press “shuffle,” and whatever song plays first gets the full Bias List treatment!
Year Released: 2013
Back in the early 2010’s, there were four idol groups who turned to producers Sweetune for the bulk of their material. At the top of the pack were Infinite and Kara, but Boyfriend and Nine Muses were just below them. Compile the material from this quartet and you have a road map of Sweetune’s greatness. The producers worked with many other acts as well, but I’ve always found these to be the “core four” (until Snuper debuted, of course!).
Nine Muses’ Gun (건) arrived as their sixth Sweetune-produced single, and acts as the title track for their first full album. Prima Donna is well worth listening to all the way through, and Gun is a great place to start. The track includes plenty of Sweetune’s trademark vocal layering and synth accents, but the song stands on its own thanks to a catchy blues guitar riff and punches of brass. As with so much of their work, Gun not only gives us a chorus, but a knockout post-chorus that’s even catchier than the refrain that precedes it.
The entire track has a splashy appeal, harnessing big, showy energy that has more in common with 60’s girl group pop than the EDM sound of its era. But, these retro influences never feel like a pastiche. And unlike so many of today’s K-pop acts, Nine Muses never strain themselves toward a “cute” performance. I love just how unadorned and unaffected their performance is. They know their song is dynamite, so there’s no need to dress it up in aegyo. Instead, their lush vocal layering gives the hook plenty of depth and texture. I’d love nothing more than a return to this performance style when it comes to this new generation of girl groups.