4 Female Quartets Bringing the Heat this June

Entertainment, Music

This month has delivered some fantastic comebacks by K-pop girl groups. If you’re looking for a summer jam, check out these four new releases by these four-member groups! 

Kpop Summer Playlist 2015

Music

Kpop Summer 2015 Playlist!-2

As we near the end of July, the back-to-school commercials begin and fall fashions start filling the shelves of stores. But summer isn’t over yet! There have been a lot of big name comebacks lately from Big Bang, Girls’ Generation, and more. Here are my picks for the best Kpop summer jams of 2015:

Nine Muses return with a full-length album full of sass and style.

Entertainment, Music

220px-Nine_Muses_Prima_Donna

This review is a couple of weeks overdue, but the 9 lovely ladies of Kpop group Nine Muses are back with their second full length album, “Prima Donna.”

Their featured track “Gun” is another catchy creation of Sweetune (the composition team behind Rainbow’s “A”, Infinite’s “Nothing’s Over”, and Boyfriend’s “Don’t Touch My Girl”, as well as tons of other ridiculously catchy hits).

Nine Muses have been working with Sweetune since coming back with better vocals and a fresh new image in 2011 with “Figaro.” Every single since has become a personal favorite and have gained the girls a growing group of fans both at home and abroad.

I’ve followed the Muses since their debut in 2010 with “No Playboy.” I liked the song and saw potential in the group, but my opinion was in the minority. What I admire about this group is that they didn’t give up despite a rocky start. After a year of intense training and a shift in the group’s lineup, Nine Muses returned with a disco era throwback sound, an addictive tune, and their perfectly-synced choreography.

At the time of “Figaro,” the group was down to just 7 members. Member Kyungri officially joined the group in 2012 with their next single “News” on January 10. They followed up with “Ticket” in March 2012 and continued to gain new fans with each comeback. The 9th muse in the current Nine Muses, Sungah, came along earlier this year with the jazzy single “Dolls.

“Gun” marks the group’s third round of promotions this year following a successful run in May with “Wild.

“Gun” is a positively addictive song full of Wild West style guitar and a hint of the jazzy saxophone found in “Dolls.” The girls all sound fantastic on their singing parts and Erin once again does a great rap.

In an unusual move for the group, 3 members (Minha, Lee Sem, and Eunji) are without real solo lines in this single, though they each take center in the dance during the chorus and sometimes sing the chorus as solo lines in the lives.

The next track on the album is a sassy song titled “Rumor.” The electric guitar makes a good transition between “Gun” and the more instrumentally diverse “Rumor.” The “yoohoohoohoo”s will have you singing along while the strings add a mature, slightly dark feel to this song in which the girls tell gossipers to back off and mind their own business. Sera’s soulful voice especially suits this track.

The electric guitar continues in the fourth track, “A Few Good Men.” This upbeat, rock n’ roll-esque track turns the energy up on the album. Eunji resumes the roll of rapper while Erin seems to sit this song out. The song contains a similar message of seduction to “Gun.”

The album makes a sudden turn from fast and seductive to slow and sad with “Last Scene,” a break-up ballad. Hyemi opens the song, followed by Hyuna. The quality of their vocals shine through in this song with a particular innocent charm to Hyemi’s parts. Sem and Sungah also show their softer side and sound great doing so in the verse lines. Kyungri and Sera’s beautiful airy vocals carry the refrain which translates to:

“I’m so stupid, I’m so foolish

it’s over for you without even a speck of dust

But all I can say is,

I love you forever .”

Both Eunji and Erin sit this song out, which I’m OK with. Both are good rappers, but I think a rap in this track would have sounded forced and out of place. Minha makes a surprise appearance by closing the song out. Minha is known by many as the weakest of the group’s singers, but her soft, controlled notes lend a fitting vulnerability to this song’s end.

“Just a Girl” follows the pace set by “Last Scene.” The acoustic guitar and slower tempo create a laid-back tune which suits both the powerful and softer vocalists in the group. “Just a Girl” is a story of a self-conscious girl who’s unsure if her significant other’s feelings match her own deep love. Eunji and Erin return with 2 fitting raps that maintain the mellow feel of the piece. The closing “da da da”s give the song a sense of summer drawing to a close.

The beat picks back up with “Miss Agent,” which has a sexy sound reminiscent of European dance tracks. This song turns the tables on “Last Scene” by having the girl dump the guy with words like

“Even without you, I’m OK.

Even if I leave you, I’m OK.

I don’t care.”

“Time’s Up” follows the flow of “Miss Agent,” but is less memorable. The best part of the song comes with Erin and Eunji’s powerful raps which are immediately followed with adlibs by the lead vocalists (I think I hear Sera and Hyuna, but someone please correct me if I’m wrong).

“OMG” is just a little too aegyo-generic for my taste. That and Girl’s Day’s song of the same name has pretty much ruined the already-overused saying for me forever. I could more readily see Apink or Hello Venus (both of whom I like) singing this song than Nine Muses. It’s not that the girls sound bad on it. Not at all. It’s just the cute, innocent style doesn’t seem to blend with the rest of the album. Perhaps if we’d wedged it in between “Just a Girl”  and “Miss Agent” it wouldn’t sound so out of place.

The album closes with “Ping.” I feel like “Ping” would have made the perfect coupling track to “Figaro.” It’s got a laid-back retro flavor to it that I’ve come to associate with Nine Muses. It’s all-in-all a good conclusion to the album.

While the album isn’t perfect, I can’t complain too much because I’m just happy Nine Muses finally have an album with more than 2 new tracks on it. The girls have worked hard through their 3 rounds of promotions in 2013 and I’m so glad to have had so much Nine Muses this year.

What did you think of the album? Of “Gun”? Of 2013 as a whole for the group, or of Nine Muses in general? Share your thoughts in the comments below!