Review: Nine Muses – “Drama” Is Incredibly Drama-Free

Nine_Muses_-_Drama

After a very long wait, Nine Muses is back with “Drama.” The most intriguing aspect of Nine Muses’ latest release was how the group would respond to losing/booting a third of its members and whether their replacements (Sojin and Keumjo) could help Nine Muses pick up right where they left off in 2013. The good news is that “Drama” is a fairly successful song which demonstrates that the Nine Muses train can run smoothly even as the roster never seems to stabilize. The disappointing news is that “Drama” plays things so safely that it’s hard to call it a smashing success either.

The production for “Drama” is conservatively smart. The brisker pace combined with lighter instrumentals, especially a very light snare and fairly high keys interplay with a bopping bass to create a fluffy dance beat that is remarkable even throughout and never threatens to overtake the vocals. The moderate approach makes sense but “Drama” never reaches the exhilarating highs of “Wild” or “Dolls.” Instead, it’s the musical equivalent of lob down the middle of the plate. Thankfully, Nine Muses doesn’t strikeout but it’s not like they’re swinging for the fences either.

On the other hand, this is a home run.

On the other hand, this is a home run.

The rap heavy first third of “Drama” is so promising but the latter part of the song doesn’t live up to the first minute. Euaerin kills the opener and then is barely heard from again. Sungah, appearing to take over Eunji’s old spot as “Nine Muses’ other rapper” does quite well for herself as well. But then Nine Muses’ other vocalists enter and the song sort of flatlines from there. To be fair, it’s not really the fault of any of the members, old or new. The decision to have every member sing in a similarly high and airy tone doesn’t do enough to add meat to “Drama.” It’s of little surprise that, outside of Euaerin, the highlights of the song often belong to Hyuna, who brings a lower register and a fuller sound to her lines that “Drama” could have used more of.

MVP! MVP! MVP~

MVP! MVP! MVP!

When it comes to making a quality music video, Nine Muses hasn’t missed a beat. The group has always displayed a nice knack for making visually pleasing and easy-to-follow dance-in-the-box concepts and “Drama” is no exception. The direction and editing is not imaginative but “Drama” sidesteps this by knowing that the strength of any Nine Muses video will often be the looks of the members themselves. And thankfully, unlike some other sexy concepts that have come out this year, that means a lot of solo shots of each member rather than heavily cut shots of disembodied chests and legs. Indeed, outside of brief dance-in-a-box set shots and a couple of group couch set shots that looks like it was pilfered from Candy Land, “Drama” is mostly solo shots. Given how stunning every member of the group looks and how on-point the styling and wardrobe is for each member, it’s a very defensible decision (having so many solo shots also helps hide the fact that the choreography doesn’t appear to be very interesting). It’s also an incredibly safe one and the abundance of nice, very pretty solo shots hinders “Drama” from a concept standpoint. It’s taken for granted that the members of Nine Muses are the “wow factor” but that in and of itself doesn’t help differentiate it from other Nine Muses releases which often tried to do a little more with their concepts, whether that be the black and white and slightly S&M concept of “Wild”, the latex-ridden “Glue” or the retro-western motif of “Gun.”

On the positive side; more Kyungri.

On the positive side; more Kyungri.

By itself, “Drama” is a fine music video but “fine” seems to be all that Nine Muses was shooting for with their latest comeback. And while it’s not that surprising that Nine Muses would err on the side of caution given their new lineup, “Drama” could have used a little more spark, especially given how hot it starts right out of the gate. Consistency is a virtue but it’s less admirable when one appears to be shooting for just-above-average. Hopefully, the group will try tackling new and more exciting things in the future as the various roles and individual talents of the members are solidified.

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8 comments

  1. Hopefully they can keep the roster stable for long enough to solidify and grow. I really liked “Dolls” and “Wild,” but “Gun” and “Glue” seemed weaker by comparison with “Wild,” so they seemingly lost some momentum in my opinion as I don’t think either of those two singles did better than “Wild.” You can only get so far on T&A teasing. I think this group suffers some from a seeming lack of anyone that can get on variety shows regularly to help hype the group such as Sunny, Bora, and Hyeri do, and they don’t have a singer that has a voice outstanding enough that people really take notice of her like a Taeyeon, Luna, or Hyorin. Though that could be botched marketing and management by their company that they don’t identify someone in the group who would shine in variety and get her cast as a regular on something other than a webcast or low-rated cable show, or get their best singer on a show like Immortal Song to showcase her voice or get her on an OST for a popular program. Taeyeon never sang on a competition show, but she made a name for herself as a singer on OST’s with her knack for feeling and expressing the song even if she doesn’t have the vocal chops of an Ailee or Hyorin. I don’t know if 9Muses has that kind of singing talent though that has great range or great feeling.

    1. No variety presence is probably the reason why they can’t rise any higher than they already are. Their vocals are unknown or just average so their songs don’t have enough power to remain above #30 on Melon for an extended time.

      From what I’ve heard, the group is very well-liked by people who know about them and their fanclub has been very loyal despite the lineup change. Having an 80% female fancafe membership definitely helps. They have to somehow media play and get their name known since they don’t have any particular shortcomings on stage except for Keumjo looking nervous but that’s expected. A solid performance group but with no one to really shine, it’ll be difficult to get more hype.

  2. Not bad at all. I think the song would grow on me. Sounds like a cross between something from Sistar and A Pink. MV is pretty good too. Kyungri and Hyuna alone can visually carry the group. Sungah (urgh, that short hair) is no light-weight either. Her bosom was literally trying to escape from that outfit and those faux mini-suspenders.

  3. “Drama” does not stand out enough for me. However, it makes some sense in the context of the album. I just listened to album listing of songs and they sort of fit together musically. I would consider “Choice” a little bit better than “Drama” having that disco dance floor vibe that I enjoy and it holds your attention from beginning to end. However, it would not necessarily work as the feature track in the Korean context.

  4. Wanted to give Drama a fair shake, so I’ve listened to the complete mini album a few times now. Really like this group and wanted them to slay with this comeback. Sadly it/they didn’t. Average to below average at best. The Drama video has great production quality, but it can’t save the fact that the music just isn’t that good. It’s not catchy. The company should be given 50 lashes for doing this to 9M.

    On a side note. After a couple of times though the album, I got to thinking that it was AOA. Had to stop and remember that the music playing was 9M. Now however, every time the rap parts come on, I think its Jimin, with ChoA doing the lead.

  5. Listened to the album and felt that ‘Drama’ was the best track to feature. ‘Choice’ was alright but didn’t seem to have much of a hook and lacked the playful nature of ‘Drama’.
    ‘September 17th’ sounds like (Yuna and Jimin) from AOA to me too 🙂

  6. Anybody else unknowingly drooled for these? No just me?……….cool.
    Kyungri is such a tease……..I love it

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