Cosmic Girls – 'WJ Stay?'
1. La La Love
2. You Got
6. 12 O’clock
Cosmic Girls has a brand new release to warm up your winter, called 'WJ Stay?' The EP is a special project featuring only about ten of the members. Mei Qi, Xuan Yi, and Cheng Xiao are busy with activities in China, and so aren't part of this one. The mini-album features 7 tracks, including the title track "La La Love," and UJUNG, a song co-written by Dawon. The title refers to the letters in their Korean name, WJSN.
The album kicks off with a bang, or rather a banger, "La La Love." This one is an interesting beast, with some rather angelic voices during the main verses. Very soothing. When it gets to the chorus we're treated with more of those vocals together with a pounding beat. I like the rap ad-libs, too, though the actual rapping isn't anything to write home about. It's still an awesome high energy song. "You Got" is am '80s disco-inspired extravaganza. Fortunately, it takes more of their cue from now compared to the past. With a filled out backing track and some variation in the chords, it's better than some of where it takes its inspiration from. I also like the rapping, which is always a plus with an idol band.
"Star" is a sweet, cute ballad. The song isn't bad as ballads go, and they seem to have some restraint here. In some ways that ends up more effective than a lot of emoting all over the track. Some of the voices are simply angelic in this tune. "Memories" fooled me, as I thought it was going to be a ballad. Instead, it ended up as a bright, cute pop tune. There's nothing amazing about this one, but it is nice, refreshing, and catchy. And sometimes there's nothing wrong with that. "Cantabile" is kind of a retro track, hearkening back to a simpler time. It's bouncy and painfully innocent -- until the breaks. Then some darkness intrudes, as well as some nice synth flourishes that resemble orchestral arrangements. At the end of the day, it doesn't really know what it wants to be. But it continually managed to surprise me, and that's a good thing.
The playful "12 O’clock" can be played anytime. There are some retro elements in this one, but it really is a club-banger at heart, with easy hooks and a catchy tune. And there's some of that adorable rapping here, too. Last, we come to "UJUNG," which is the name of their fandom, meaning "friendship." This is kind of an R&B ballad, and it has a sugary chorus, with those golden harmonies. They play up the cute aspect on this track, too. It transforms something that might otherwise be ordinary into a series of "aww" moments.
So, if we're to judge from what we have here, there's still a lot of "cute" left in the Cosmic Girls. With each successive outing, they've grown as a band, even crossing into more mature concepts. With this one, it seems like they've gathered those two strands of their career and woven them together successfully. You've got really solid songs punctuated by cute moments, and that's a really good sound. If you like Cosmic Girls (or even if you've never heard of them before), then you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
The girls are apparently at a carnival (which you'd know at about 17 seconds in). There they have fun things which you would normally expect to see at a carnival, like a white horse (usually seen with a carriage, though you can't find one here), bubbles, and cotton candy, as well as tarot cards.
A note on those Tarot cards: The tarot set they're using is the Thoth Tarot, authored by the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley. I'm not sure if they knew that, though. The backs of the cards are colorful, which is likely why they selected them in the first place.
Then you'll see things that you wouldn't normally see there, like hanging lights, a swing that apparently lets you dangle in space, a floating platform surrounded by clouds (and later, stars), and an 18th-century style lantern (western 18th century, of course). The mishmash makes for an odd affair that works quite well.
The girls' outfits are interesting. At first, the dancing outfits are all black, or mostly so, some with designs. When they switch outfits, the lead has on a silvery outfit, during the pre-chorus, and they finally end up in all white during the chorus. It's an interesting switch and it looks like you're walking into an area where they're performing, which makes it even more organic. I like that.
While the CGI effects are few and far between, what they do is quite well done, from Harry Potter-style newspapers that have moving pictures to CGI butterflies and a moon on a field of stars.
Combine all this with a song that I really like, and you end up with a pretty good MV experience.
MV SCORE: 8.0
ALBUM SCORE: 8.0