Following the critical success of their last title track, “Love So Sweet,” FNC Entertainment girl group Cherry Bullet are officially back. Their long awaited comeback is “Love in Space,” accompanied by their second mini album, Cherry Wish

Like “Love So Sweet,” “Love in Space” almost reads like a veteran track rather than a comeback from a fairly fresh-to-the-scene group. With its combination of powerful vocals from all seven members and retro, synth-based pop sound, “Love in Space” takes each of the trending elements in today’s K-pop soundscape and packages them up into a concept and sound perfectly suited to Cherry Bullet’s own energetic, cute-meets-girl crush charm. 

While not outright space-themed, an intergalactic-inspired title track comes at a fitting time for Cherry Bullet — three of the members, Jiwon, May, and Bora, recently participated in Mnet’s survival show, Girls Planet 999. Although none of them progressed to the final round, given that this is the group’s first comeback since the trio’s stint on the popular program, many fans were eager to see what these three would bring to Cherry Bullet’s next release. 

Naturally, their return to the group and the group’s own return have signaled even more improvement since their last comeback. Although the title of “Love in Space” may suggest a literal reference to some sort of romance happening beyond Earth, the track’s lyrics and MV suggest otherwise. Both lyrically and visually, “Love in Space” takes on more of a metaphorical reference to the word ‘space,’ instead conveying the feeling of a prior love so exhilarating that it transcends other worlds and universes:

I met you when I was walking by myself

The streets of a glittering city in the dark

It felt like I was on a spaceship crossing the universe (I fall into you)

I ran millions of light years to meet you again

The moment we pull into each other, no need for gravity

Like we’re the only ones trapped in a black hole (In se, se, se, secret),

With lyrics like this, it would seem obvious that the MV for “Love in Space” would very literally take place in a space setting. However, the MV instead emphasizes the song’s metaphorical aspect by instead being set in a series of dreamy, loosely futuristic locations that accentuate more of the lost lover part of the track rather than the space-related lyrics. 

The MV opens on a futuristic, CGI cityscape. Viewers are swiftly taken between buildings from a first-person point of view until the camera quickly settles on one particular window, soaring through that window and spinning through a doorknob until it lands on a shot of the members in a retro-themed party venue. The members’ outfits have a tinge of intergalactic flare, mixed with retro party dresses and silhouettes to highlight the contrast between the track’s retro-inspired instrumentals and the MV’s space-related metaphors. 

As the MV progresses, the space-themed elements, if there ever were any obvious ones to begin with, are mostly replaced by dreamy CGI visuals (like when Bora opens the curtain of her window to look out onto a sparkling sky with a CGI butterfly and stars) and glitzy costumes and sets that signal a more nostalgic, whimsical concept for the group. When the second verse begins, the girls have another costume change, this time wearing glittery pastel pink and blue prom dresses with cowboy boots. The members’ styling and makeup is delicate and girly, giving off a celestial vibe that fits neatly within the rest of the MV. 

Although the MV hinges on the fairly typical formula of switching back and forth between straightforward choreography scenes and slowed-down scenes of the members looking wistfully into the camera or participating in blips of action that are meant to convey portions of a larger abstract plot, its visuals and enchanting aesthetics certainly make up for its vague narrative. Several plot-related elements are more so meant to be left up to interpretation, like the cat that the members follow into the elevator, which then brings them to a lushly green landscape with a magical sprouting tree. These elements don’t entirely make sense or match up with the lyrics of the track, but as they’re portrayed through heavy CGI, they’re aesthetically pleasing to look at and fit with the song’s dreamy vibe and hypnotic melodies. 

What’s more is that even though “Love in Space” relies on this tried and true formula, that doesn’t mean the MV isn’t alluring. This formula is commonly used for good reason. Switching back and forth between choreography scenes that showcase the entire group in one frame in their formations, and scenes semi-related to the plot that have more of an artistic flare, often ends and begins in cadence with the beat or elements within the song. This keeps the MV fast-paced and magnetic from start to finish. “Love in Space” is no different in that sense, as scenes are kept short and sweet, moving in rhythm with the track and its melodies.

“Love in Space” doesn’t really bring anything new or novel to the table compared to what we’ve seen in K-pop in recent months and years. However, it’s still a glowing example of Cherry Bullet’s versatility and ability to try out and master concepts outside of those they’ve already presented in their MVs and music. With a dreamy, ethereal concept under their belt, along with their cute-meets-girl crush roots, Cherry Bullet have a whole world of new concepts awaiting them next.

(YouTube. Lyrics via Genius. Images via FNC Entertainment.)