20160227_seoulbeats_cosmicgirls[3]Hailing from the home of Hallyu stars SISTAR and rising stars Monsta X, Starship Entertainment’s new girl group, Cosmic Girls, made their official debut this week. A joint collaboration with Chinese agency, Yuehua Entertainment, the group of twelve consists of both Korean and Chinese members, each representing a zodiac character.

Split into four sub-units, the rookie girl group has been compared to their seniors EXO, mostly due to their similarities in terms of numbers, their outer space concept, as well as their addition of Chinese members. While it is a little pre-emptive and premature to make such a comparison, it is undeniable that Cosmic Girls has made an indelible impression.

With multiple members having made appearances in their seniors’ music videos as well as in various reality shows such as Superstar K Season 1 and Unpretty Rapstar even before their official debut, they are no strangers to the industry. It is thus with great anticipation that Cosmic Girls debuted with their first mini-album, Would You Like.

Starting off with the introductory track “Cosmic Cowgirl,” the girls make a seamless first impression. In line with their name, this first track makes use of synths and effects to create the impression of being in outer space. I’m not quite sure as to why the track is titled as such — the ‘cosmic’ part is very apparent, but not quite so the ‘cowgirl’ bit. Nevertheless, the editing of the chorus of their title track “MoMoMo” into the background makes for a nice segue into the second track.

[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRJqH0Plqg8]

As their debut song, “MoMoMo” does the perfect job highlighting the girls’ youth and innocence. In line with the ‘cosmic’ theme, the song starts off rather similarly to the previous track in terms of instrumentation, with a heavy reliance on electronic effects that produce an atmosphere of magical-ness. The chorus is extremely catchy as Dayoung contemplates the secrets that she wants to tell her object of affection.

Should I say it one by one, just me and you

The things we have to say, only between us

Embarrassing things, braggable things

It’s a secret somewhere else, just me and you

Its cute, fluttery lyrics paired with the youthful vocals of the Cosmic girls make for an addictive track that reflect the nervous, excited sentiments of young love — highly suitable for a debut song.

Immediately after “MoMoMo,” we have the second title track of the album, “Catch Me.” Distinctly different from “MoMoMo,” “Catch Me” starts off strong with an air of assertion. What is most interesting about this track is that it does not have any solo vocals at all. Apart from rapper EXY, the entire track is performed either in unison or at the very least, by a trio of voices. This choice of production structure serves to emphasize the colder concept that the song is attempting. At the same time, the bass drop at the start of the chorus further confirms “Catch Me” as a dance track, allowing for the girls to show a different side to themselves.

With two such strong tracks at the beginning of the album, “Tick-Tock” has rather large shoes to fill. But this third track manages exceed expectations, keeping up with the rather high standards that have already been set. Following on the tails of “Catch Me,” “Tick Tock” continues in theme with the assertive concept, where the girls demand for their crush to stop playing games and be honest with them, lest they continue wasting their time. Somewhat milder than “Catch Me,” “Tick Tock” takes on a slightly jazzier feel, complete with an electric guitar riff. This song not only allows for the vocalists to demonstrate their prowess, but also allows brings out yet another side of Cosmic Girls – one that is simultaneously playful and sassy.

20160227_seoulbeats_cosmicgirls[4]Finally, the album wraps up with “Take My Breath,” where the girls return to the more cutesy, flirtatious concept reminiscent of “MoMoMo.” Going straight into the chorus right from the get-go, this track is particularly fitting as the final track for the album, with its harmonious, almost celebratory sound. As the girls return to the breathless, feverish excitement of having a crush, there is no better way to end off the album than to remind the listener that Cosmic Girls is a fresh, young rookie group whose innocence and energy works only to make you smile.

Also included in the album is the bonus track of “MoMoMo” in Mandarin. This is a nice touch given the emphasis that Starship Ent. has been putting on the intentional inclusion of Chinese members in the group. It also works in the groups favor, seeing as they are simultaneously promoting in both Korea as well as China.

Overall, Would You Like is a safe but undeniably solid debut album for Cosmic Girls. It might have been better if the album had included at least one ballad song, just to provide a little more contrast and variation. Nevertheless, the tracks worked well together; there was just enough dissimilarity amongst the songs to render them distinct from one another, while still being able to stay in theme. At the same time, the heavy use of unison and the downplaying of individual voices within the group allowed them to promote themselves as a united entity, aiding them in establishing a group identity at first instance. With a relative strong debut as this, it is now up to Starship to promote the group well, and hopefully in their next comeback, Cosmic Girls will have even more to offer with their music.

Album Rating: 3.75/5

What did you think about Cosmic Girls’ debut?

(Starship Entertainment, YouTube, ColorCodedLyrics)