Despite having more lineup changes than Jewelry, never winning first place on a music program, and coming from one of the shittiest, most abusive agencies in Korea, Nine Muses have never been anything less than stellar. Even their controversial J.Y. Park-produced debut “No Playboy” worked with its trashy charm, while the group’s following Sweetune singles have all been nothing short of perfection.
The group’s new single, their ninth, is their first since “Figaro” not to be produced by Sweetune. Lesser known producer Jeong Chang-wook steps in instead, and despite having impossibly large shoes to fill (the Muses x Sweetune pairing is one of K-pop’s greatest), he delivers so strongly with “Drama” that it manages to be just as good as everything else the group has ever put out.
The “Drama” arrangement is really surprising, with an explosive opener courtesy of rappers Erin and Sungah and a sudden, abrupt ending that makes the song feel much shorter than its 3-minute runtime. The obvious wow moments are specifically placed at the start and the finish instead of on the chorus or the bridge like they would be in most songs, which is a really fresh approach for K-pop.
“Drama” sounds like carnival muzak, which is weird because it’s also incredibly funky and chic. I never thought elevator music or fairground tunes could be called “chic,” but somehow the Muses managed to make it happen.
There’s a lot of other odd touches to “Drama” too, specifically the vocal arrangements: the Muses’ voices often ping high or drift off like they were just thrown down a deep gorge, and sudden mini-raps unexpectedly burst in random places.
“Drama” is the kind of song that only K-pop –where the super commercial collides with the super creative– could produce. Even the lyrics are interesting, with the group comparing a real-life love triangle where two friends are in love with the same guy to the drama of a soap opera.
I think a lot of the inventiveness of “Drama” could easily be lost on people who might be too quick to write it off as another typical girl group pop song, but if you really listen to it, it’s a very different, nuanced piece of pop music–it’s just not as immediately obvious as something like an f(x) single.
“Drama” is so amazing that I don’t even wanna dwell on the visual aspect of this comeback too much, but I know it’s my duty to. First of all, I don’t really *get* the concept (what is this whole old Hollywood meets bondage meets German cabaret thing?!), and I don’t know why they bothered copying Rainbow Blaxx’s necktie choreography when they haven’t even bothered to bring the damn ties on stage for half of their performances so far.
Also, new member Keumjo a.k.a. KumJoop needs to GTFO ASAP. She could probably work in certain girl groups, but the legendary Nine Muses ain’t one of ’em. She looks like a premature Muse who was delivered too early so she never fully developed into the womanly supermodel-dol that the Muses are supposed to be. She needs some damn oestrogen shots or something. She’s half-finished and half-baked and she needs to go back to the incubator crib for another three months until she’s ripe and ready for public consumption.
As for Sojin, she clearly listened to AOA’s “Short Hair” because her bob cut has made her blossom into a doll-like beauty and nation’s new first love.
All the regular Muses are fantastic as always, but a specific shout out goes to Hyemi who got prettier somehow, Erin who gets more flawless by the second, and Kyungri who is clearly one of the top five hottest female idols in K-pop today.
Minus KumJoop and a confusing concept, “Drama” is EVERYTHING and further proof that the Nine Muses can survive and thrive no matter who the members are or which producer is making the music.
EVEN THE DRAMA B-SIDES SLAY FOR FUCKS SAKE.
If you’re a K-pop fan and Nine Muses are not one of your biases, then you need to seriously re-evaluate your choices in life. That is all.