2013 is off to a fantastic start for K-pop music. Girls’ Generation, VIXX, Baek Ji Young, Tiger JK & Tasha… the list goes on. The latest K-poppers to come along and kill it is Nine Muses with their comeback single, “Dolls,” which is something we all knew was going to be bitchin’. After “Figaro,” “News,” and “Ticket,” there was seriously little to no chance of “Dolls” being even remotely shitty.
“Dolls” covers both old and new ground for Nine Muses. Producer Sweetune has brought back the chic, vintage disco sound of “Figaro,” but “Dolls” is much more than just a “Figaro” retread. It’s not at all a hook song like the latter or “Ticket,” and instead sells itself on its sophisticated style, and, as Star Empire so accurately put it, “the luxuriant and sexy atmosphere.” That puts it in the same category as the group’s biggest hit, “News,” which focused more on the lyrics and its aggressive vibe than on creating a traditionally catchy chorus.
You can hear that Sweetune has been influenced by everything from Donna Summer and Kool & the Gang to “Heart of Glass” era Blondie on “Dolls,” and has simply taken the sound and giving it a bit of a contemporary K-pop twist, without going too far and modernizing it too much. As a result, it’s not just Nine Muses’ most mature song to date, but also one that only they can pull off. “Dolls” is by grown women, for grown women — no little girls allowed!
I previously half-joked about the music video being an AKB48 knock-off when the teaser first premiered, but now that the full thing is out, it actually does look somewhat J-pop influenced. It’s also very KARA-esque, with the dark muses looking like they just stepped out of the “Lupin” MV, while the white muses are giving some serious “Girl’s Power” / “Winter Magic” realness. Funny, since the girly KARA could never pull this song off, despite Sweetune being their primary producer. And speaking of the “dark” and “white” muses concept, nothing has really been done with it other than the fact that some of the ladies are occasionally in different colored outfits. Either the Muses are planning something exciting for their performances, or the whole colored unit thing was just pointless media play that’s amounted to nothing.
The “Dolls” choreography is pretty basic by Nine Muses standards, but the subtlety of their moves perfectly matches the subtlety of the song. The entire thing is so melancholy and glamorous that anything too complicated could easily ruin the mood Sweetune worked so hard to create. And the fact that they haven’t tried to come with a signature dance move like SISTAR or KARA actually makes “Dolls” stand out more than it would have if they had gone down the standard K-pop performance route.
So, if we ignore “Ladies” and only go by official title tracks, is it safe to say that Nine Muses have now extended their uninterrupted run of perfect pop singles to five?
These divine goddesses really can do no wrong.