Nine Muses is one of the longer lasting groups in K-pop. Despite their famously lackluster debut, they have survived for 8 years, through member changes, sound changes, and sub-units. Now, they have launched their first solo debut, with Kyungri’s “Blue Moon.” This provides an ideal chance to look back at Nine Muses’ discography, and highlight some of the hidden gems they have released in nearly a decade in the music industry.
Prima Donna is one of the most overlooked albums of the last 10 years. I could easily have picked only tracks from this album, and it would be valid. That said, “Miss Agent” is first among equals. Desperate and passionate, the song hides heartbreak under glitzy synth tones and gentle cooing. As Nine Muses are confronted with the truth of their boyfriend’s cheating, they head straight for emotional whiplash as they simmer in the corner. Denial, anger, love, misery, they go round and round in a heady whirl. The clean, staccato synth lines serve as perfect punctuation, in addition to being catchy as all get out. “Miss Agent” knocks you out and pulls you in, all with one smooth blow.
“Koong Chit Dak Chit,” off the EP Lost, is a song that makes an entrance. From the first bass riff, you know this is a track that means business. The funk groove, amplified by the brash brass section, give “Koong Chit Dak Chit” an aura of untouchable class, an air that is pushed farther by the lyrics and delivery. As Nine Muses find themselves faced with inferior men, they waste no time telling them off, mocking disdain cushioned by softer, restrained vocals. Except for Euaerin’s raps, which are delightfully blunt and abrasive.
One easy choice for this list is the drama-laden “Choice,” from Drama. A high-energy foray into the manic world of nu-disco, “Choice” runs far closer to sugary than most of Nine Muses tracks. However, the tune is less sweet and more sugar-rush, with multiple synth layers and runs coming in and dropping out during the build to the chorus. The energy levels are off the charts, with the entire track practically vibrating as Nine Muses attempts to ensnare their prey during a night out. Frantic, fast-paced and fun, “Choice” never fails to make its audience smile and dance the night away.
On the other hand, sometimes nights out don’t go well. Such is the case with “Action.” A vengeful track filled with condescension and seething rage, “Action” is girl drama at its best. It is a takedown of every girl who has ever decided to chase after a boy with a girlfriend. Nine Muses aren’t pleading, they aren’t passive; they are vicious, calling out the attention-seeking behavior, and pointing out that such antics will only ever make enemies, with a warning to knock it off before Namyu gets angry. The pity-wrapped judgement is paired with a dark, thudding track that makes you feel as if any moment a cat fight or make out might start, possibly both. Sera’s quiet yet foreboding runs in the chorus are merely the cherry on top of a killer track.
Rounding out the list is “Rumor,” an ode to the sixties. Languid and seductive, “Rumor” is a coy, biting takedown of girls who insist on spreading rumors about others. The true magic, however, lies in the production. “Rumor” is a magnificent blend of surf rock guitar licks and delicate strings, adding a touch of elegance and righteousness to Nine Muses’ plight of being surrounded by rumors. Sera’s magnificent delivery on the pre-chorus, combined with the flawless strings, give “Rumors” the feeling of being a lost James Bond theme from the Sean Connery days. It is delicate and knowing, with a wry smirk in every note. “Rumors” is a track that screams how much the rumors are false, because the truth is even wilder.
An honorable mention goes to “Prima Donna”, which sadly doesn’t qualify for the main list as it is a one-minute intro track and features little of Nine Muses actually performing. That hardly stops it from being a bluesy, burlesque-esque piece that should really have been a full track.
Nine Muses’ career has been both long and varied, and has thus had many highs and lows. The high points listed here are merely my favorites of what they have given the world. If you have any Nine Muses tracks that you adore, leave them in the comments!
(Images via Star Empire Entertainment. YouTube)