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.
Not my favorite Nine Muses single, but a good one nonetheless.
Yes, those are my thoughts as well… but the fact that “not my favorite” still warrants an 8.75 just shows how great their singles run was!
I know! My personal favorite song from them is News, closely followed by Figaro. I though I know you prefer Hurt Locker, another great song!
God, I miss them and this kind of sound. Sara’s beginning part is one of my faves.
Sera’s* (my autocorrect was not having it lol)
this is an easy 10 for me, I’m too biased when it comes to them.
I do totally agree with your grievances of overused aegyo in kpop, this industry still is just really bad towards for women. I’d almost rather have that than singsong tik tok trap that sounds like Psycho by RV but given that kpop picks up on trends a bit later and it’s a market they haven’t tapper into I think we’re gonna be seeing a new trend soon…
It’s so sad that’s nine muses is probably remembered more for how badly their company treated them than for their great singles. Nine muses was one of those groups in which I would be playing just one of their songs over and over again until I couldn’t anymore. Gun, Glue, and Figaro in particular were on repeat for very long. Those songs can still get listens from me despite the fact that I really should be sick of them.
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Nick, what’s your favorite song from PRIMA DONNA? Mine is Time’s up.
Oh my god, so many favorites!
My crown probably would go to Miss Agent, but Time’s Up, Ping, Whatever and A Few Good Man are right behind it as far as b-sides go.
it is pretty hard to pick, I just went with time’s up cause I sought it out the most back when the album dropped. PRIMA DONNA doesn’t go all over the place which I think makes it really though to pick.
very nice review, Nick!….i came into kpop at the end of 2013 and Nine Muses were one of the several kpop girl groups that hooked me on kpop….SungAh was my bias….as with most “Mines” i literally despise Star Empire Entertainment for how they royally screwed this group up and mismanaged them….Nine Muses should have been the second-coming of Girls’ Generation, with a fiercer edge, but instead we had to painfully watch them get mistreated one-by-one until there were only 4 and then no more….4 major bops in 2013 alone (“Glue,” which is my personal favorite – “Dolls” – “Gun” – “Wild”)….how in the hell do you make mega noise like that and not take over kpop?….frickin Star Empire Entertainment, that’s how!….
yet, thank you again for the beautiful review….i really do miss them because that 2012 – 2013 Muse lineup should have reached kpop stardom.