Best songs: Nine Muses

Hey friends, how are y’all doing?

I’ve finally decided to do the first post of ‘best of artist’ format and to open it in great style, I bring here the best songs of whom I consider one of the most consistent k-pop groups: Nine Muses!

In case you don’t know Nine Muses, you should. They are a confusing group in the least, in terms of format and administration but that has graced us all these years with quality material. Fact that makes doing this list so difficult.

The group debuted in 2011 and it works on the graduation system format. Right at the year of the debut, the group lost 3 members going to 6. 1 member was added in 2011, 1 in 2012 and 1 in 2013. This year, the group had for the first time 9 members on it’s line-up (which made the already awesome 2013 for the group even more awesome.) But in 2014, the group had one of the most drastic losses, of 3 major members. At the beginning of 2015 the group added 2 new members and made their best comeback sales-wise in three years. I’ll leave this Timeline from Wikipedia here that summarizes it very well:

 

Source

 

Unfortunately, the group is always in the zone of groups that could suffer the imminent disband. The pop industry (in this case, the south korean one) is rootless with acts that don’t bring the expected financial performance but specially with women. If the sexism they naturally go through wasn’t enough, girl groups on kpop face premature disbands and indifference by their companies, since the groups seem to have some sort of ‘expire date’, when they have a considerable time on the industry or the members are not that young anymore. Absurd.

In spite of all this, Nine Muses is undeniably one of the most current groups of k-pop. They manage to suppress current references into their sound and still keep their songs dialoguing with the big references of pop. Intl fans of the genre tend to see acts like BLACKPINK, EXO, BTS and K.A.R.D. as groups that have the most current sound (read westernized.) But I always thought that groups like Nine Muses and F(x) were the ones that truly converged the contemporary references onto their music and at the same time experimenting wit it, but in different ways.

Despite all these years of intense turnovers, constant disbanding and additions, the group managed to not have a single member that wasn’t at least memorable. It is in fact a group compounded by Muses that earn this statuses. Their charisma, talent and charms exhale and it’s a shame that the group has never geared the way it deserved. For our luck, this never stopped them from making quality music.

Gif source

 

PS: After much thought, I came to the conclusion that 12 songs were a number that could contemplate groups of medium and high quality, with large and small discographies and I ‘ll go with it. Enjoy!


 

12 – Miss Agent (2013)

Album: Prima Donna

I’m opening this list with this amazing b-side from “Prima Donna”. Nine Muses always had a massive 80’s influenced catalog, hence their main producer was for the longest time  Sweetune, including in this album and consequently Miss Agent. As this list makes it clear, I love many of these type of releases from them and this track is one of my favorites favorite. The instrumental that seems to have come out from a police tv series OST from the 80’s matches Nine Muses vocals, sexiness and vixen vibes perfectly.

11 – Glue (2013)

Album: Glue – Single

To be honest, there’s a similar track to this one from 9muses that emulates this concept better imo but the reason I put Glue on the list instead of other was for the visuals, I confess. The group always managed to look like goddesses in every MV they released but in Glue, they literally look like muses coming out from Mount Olympus. The scenario is actually too simple but their presence gives Glue a whole other value that goes beyond the sound.

10 – Dolls (2013)

 

Album: Dolls – Single

The Muses always had a classy sound. Their songs goes for what is in the charts, but the final product always manages to sound sumptuous. Dolls is the best example of this. The production has a touch of Big Band influences somewhere that makes the listening at least nostalgic and at best vibrant, just like it’s colorful and casual MV.

9 – Ticket (2012)

Album: Sweet Rendezvous

Talk about catchy! Ticket it’s one of the most fun songs from Nine Muses. The chorus sticks in your head just like the arm routine from the choreography. This is the second most commercial single from them (will be there soon) and I love how it get’s me right in the first seconds with it’s progressive instrumental.

8 – Fancy (2015)

Album: 9Muses S/S Edition

From beginning to end, Fancy sounds like a lost track from Sistar. And one of the best. The sensuality of the track is incredible. It’s climatic and round. It’s everything I wished Drama to have been and more.

 

7 – Secret (2015)

Album: Lost

There are people that think that Secret should’ve been the single instead of “Sleepless Night” and I’m not one of them. Both are somewhat similar but SN is more commercial since the melancholic concept is more literal on it. But Secret is better. This song is more upbeat, has the face of a Nine Muses release and the urban atmospheric backtrack is so, so good.

6 – Ping (2013)

Album: Prima Donna

Ping is part of the good Prima Donna, their first (and only) full album from the single “Gun”. The chorus of this here is so good. The track is a mid-tempo with nothing outstanding on it’s production, except for the great use of the acoustic bass in the backtrack that brings the vintage vibe of the album and group to life but effectively: not only in concept but in sound. I feel like if this track didn’t have such a simplistic instrumental, it would have been the single. But it’s fine with me being another one of their great b-sides.

5 – News (2012)

Album: Sweet Rendezvous

For the longest time, News was my favorite single from them. I’m an immense sucker for electro-synth acts on k-pop and surely this is one of my all-time favorite. The dramatic tones of the vocalists (at the time Kyungri, Hyuna, Hyemi and Sera) always worked so beautifully with most of the group songs and with this 80’s electro-synth wasn’t different.

4 – Action (2013) 

Album: Wild

Nine Muses true masterpiece! Action embodies the group quality I’ve been talking about since the beginning of this post. The powerful instrumental catches us off guard right at the first seconds, keeping itself present throughout the entire track. The vocal addition of each one is made in such a good way; the pace of the song doesn’t stop for one second and the chorus of dramatic vocals makes this whole experience of quality pop music even more complete. Bravo.

3 – Figaro (2011)

Sweet RendezvousAlbum: Sweet Rendezvous

After their very much criticized debut (unjustifiably cause I love it), the group needed a comeback to “clean up” their image and Figaro couldn’t be better for the job. The crescendo is amazing, the retro, the evoking vocals. Amazing. This vintage act is so well put together that it gets what’s best of the whole trend of rescuing the past of disco music without modernizing it to the point of losing it’s theatrical and conceptual purpose but modernizing it enough so it could be a hit on today’s radio. One of the most triumphal comebacks of kpop, Namyu’s phoenix.

2 – Wild (2013)

Album: Wild

2013 was a turning point for Nine Muses career. They released three iconic singles, added the goddess (or muse?) Sungah to their line-up and made a overall impeccable year. And Wild was the cherry on top. Even though it’s not at the top of my list, Wild production is the most meticulous crafted one out of all their tracks imo. The balance between the vocals is perfect and the use of rap here is great. Usually rap on kpop groups, even though is a almost mandatory position, often comes out as random, throwing a few lines here and there without much thought behind of it, being quite lost in the final product. But with Wild this is not the case, since the rap here comes to life and gives more dynamic and quality to the track. That goes without saying how the heavily loaded synths makes the song so memorable.

1 – Hurt Locker (2015)

Album: 9Muses S/S Edition

In terms of technicality, I would say Hurt Locker is far from being Nine Muses’s best song. But when it comes to feel, we have a champion. It’s their most commercial single and I don’t usually go for these type of tracks (with massive EDM or any other that put too many gibberish overused current trends in a single song) but with Hurt Locker is different. I love everything about it: the intense summer vibe, the way the song comes to life as it goes and the immense replay factor. But mainly, I love the chorus. Does it sound like it came out from a crowded playboy club from Ibiza? Yes. Is it a little bit too extra for my taste? Yes. But there’s something about this magical banger that I just can’t get over. Blame it on me. Amen Nine Muses.

Honorable mentions: Sleepless Night, Remember, Time’s Up and Gun.

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