Random Shuffle Review: Nine Muses – Figaro

Nine Muses - FigaroWith 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: 2011

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: producers make all the difference.

Nine Muses debuted in 2010 with the serviceable (but boring) No Playboy, which was actually co-written by JYP. I’m not sure how Star Empire scored that coup. But despite the big name attached to the song, No Playboy did nothing for the girls. So, a year later they moved onto hitmakers-of-the-moment Sweetune – a pairing that would last over two years and bear countless musical fruit. The first track to emerge from this partnership was 2011’s Figaro.

Talk about a difference! Figaro’s overall vibe isn’t even all that different from No Ladies, but the song nails every single element. The production is crisp and focused, melding disco guitar with blasts of funky brass and a beguiling electro beat. Nine Muses’ vocals are touched by that familiar Sweetune magic, arranged with the force and care of a symphony. The layering on the chorus is pure aural bliss. It’s so full and gorgeous.

It helps that Figaro is forged from one killer hook after another. Its rhythmic verses give way to an ultra-smooth chorus, with a refrain that simply rushes in. And just when you think the track has unveiled all its tricks, a bombastic bridge pulls the rug from under your feet as electric guitar joins the arrangement and pulls us toward a mighty key change. Figaro knows exactly what you want and delivers. There’s no ‘let’s play it cool’ minimalism, here. This is pop music at its most celebratory.

 Hooks 10
 Production 10
 Longevity 10
 Bias 10

13 thoughts on “Random Shuffle Review: Nine Muses – Figaro

  1. Actually, ‘no playboy’ was going to be a wonder girls song. JYP let the girls choose between ‘No playboy’ and ‘nobody’ as their comeback single and the girls chose ‘nobody’, so Jyp then sold no playboy to star empire. That’s how nine muses got the song.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. if i was a music producer, i’d definitely try to make something that sounds like Sweetune, because if they’re gonna continue to produce bops like this, i might as well recreate their sound.


  3. There’s underrated girl groups and then there’s 9 muses. How they NEVER got a single win when pumping out hit after hit still really hurts me. This line up is my second favorite (1st being the 2013 line up) but so so impactful. And this video is really fun too, featuring choreo I wish they kept in/for the performances. My favorite, literally hidden, detail is Euaerin’s pirouette in the first chorus that was barely showcased in any of the performances and not even in the official video:

    (incidentally the reunion performance is a little murky with Sera saying she wasn’t invited and her & Hyuna unfollowing each other shortly after on instagram. another break to the mine’ heart TBQH)

    Even having followed them officially from 2013 forward – as well as going back to see what I missed before hand. Spoiler alert: MAJOR SONGS like this, News and Ticket – they really carved a space in my heart and I miss them quite a bit.


    • Sera still follows Hyuna, but Hyuna does not follow Sera (but she follows all the other members). Sera also doesn’t appear to be following Sojin, and she is not followed by any of the members (who all seem to be following each other).

      Also, it wasn’t just Sera, but LeeSem and Eunji (I believe) as well. LeeSem called out Hyuna for not only not telling her that they were having this reunion song (she’d heard about it through Kyungri instead), but also, when LeeSem questioned her, Hyuna purposefully left out the fact that they had chosen “Dolls” as the song (there were some other comments in there about their relationship in the group, but I’m not 100% clear on the context so I shan’t bring it into the mix).

      LeeSem got a HUGE amount of backlash from netizens, made a public apology and deleted her IG account entirely.


  4. The 10 is so deserved here. It is sad to know all the back-stage drama and tragedies that rocked 9Muses, a terrible agency did not help, as their music was really good. Figaro (Or, due to the MV title, I knew for many years, ‘Single Figaro’), is one of their best songs ever, and one of K-Pop’s best songs from the second generation.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. wow!….i would not have expected you to like “Figaro” so much that it got a ’10’ ratign from you….i love the song and loved my Muses to the maxx!….i miss them so much!



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