9Muses has always bee on the periphery of my K Pop vision. They are not exactly unknown, but they are not rolling in fame and popularity. They were in that documentary that exposed the demands of trainee life. They were the group that were just scraping by with a nice collection of songs. There were continuously losing members. It wasn’t until 2014, that they got hit hard by the loss of three popular members, including main vocalist Sera. Come 2015, they have replaced the three with two others, and tried to move on with the less than satisfying Drama. Needless to say I was not impressed. It wasn’t until Hurt Locker that the group won me over, and then their album really made me see the light.
S/S Edition is short and sweet, providing different genres and breezy pop. The first two tracks make an impact that sadly the remaining don’t. Still the album is very much worth it.
The album starts with a short electronic intro called Muse. I have a love for intro tracks because they can easily set the tone for an album. Muse does just that, feeling like a voiceless extension of Hurt Locker. In fact it maintains a lot of the elements found in the title track, even part of the chorus sung by the group. Muse is perfect and gives off a summer vibe in a different genre. The only complaint I have is that I wish that the bridge between Muse and the actual song Hurt Locker was bridged a lot more smoothly. Imagine at the end of Muse you hear vauge sounds of the intro of Hurt Locker, only for the song to immediately to turn into Hurt Locker. I’m so extra so that is my little thing. But Muse is perfect as is, doing the job it was give better than anyone could have wished for.
My feelings on Hurt Locker remain the same (make sure to link review post). Hurt Locker’s verses and pretty much the rest of the song sound so different in my opinion. The beginning of the song is just so divine in my opinion. It sounds like summer, but not the summer that K Pop has created. There is no horn section, or lazy R&B pop connections. Hurt Locker belongs on the dance floor instead of your car radio. Even after several listens the song still remains one of the best this summer.
Unfortunately the distinct sound the first two tracks have are immediately removed on the next track A. A conforms to K Pop’s love of horns and vague connections to Funk and disco. Disregarding that though, the song is still fun. 9Muses themselves sound sweet and floaty over the bouncing beat. K Pop’s love for disco related motifs is one that is fascinating and . The song kinds of starts tripping over itself a little during the section right before the final chorus where (get names) are rapping.
Fancy is kind of divisive. On one hand, I like the song, and it maintains the momentum the album has created, while also providing something different. The beat moves forward, uptempo and bright, but then 9Muses themselves are simply cooing over the beat as if it was slightly slower. There is something sensual about it. But then…the song is rather generic. That is something about this album that I consider a negative. And it only gets worse (as much as it can anyway) with the next song.
Yes/No becomes even more typical. I can probably sift through any and every K pop group to find a song just like this. The song is flirty, R&B obviously meant to act like a pallet cleanser. It’s slightly bright with the least amount of electronic based sounds. It even has one of those typical key changes at the end. That song does it’s job for the most part, albeit it is not a strong album finisher in my opinion. It is a sound effort to what is a very common kind of track.
Special Summer Edition is probably one of the better releases of the summer so far. Of course being a summer album, it does not take anything seriously. At it’s most dangerous you have the fast paced, singular pop track Hurt Locker, which has become the clear standout in the summer of 2015. After that the album loses those qualities and becomes a typical girlgroup release. That is the true downfall of this album. What Muse and Hurtlocker created in the first five of six minutes of this album, is destroyed as soon as the listener is captured. I was hoping for more electric pop insanity, but I got pop based in disco, funk, and light R&B. Of course none of the songs are bad, and this being the album’s only negative is in fact a minor one says a lot. S/S Edition maintains a consistent energy up to the very end. The album only slows down on the most forgettable track Yes/No which is designated to the end of the album.
Another thing that helps this album is that 9Muses are not a bad group. Of course they are not all some sort of musical geniuses, and you can tell who is doing the heavy lifting. But I found them to be flexible when the track needed it. I don’t know every member of this group, nor can I tell who is who outside of possibly the rappers and main vocalist. But they manage to keep it interesting. Also props to their rappers who didn’t make me want to stub my toe on the side of a door.
S/S Edition is a very simple pop album with some good efforts in it. 9Muses may not see a great boon in popularity (here’s hoping), but they do need to get props for giving what will more than likely be on of the best albums of the summer (and one of my favorite songs of 2015).