For SM Entertainment’s latest Station release, the agency give us a duet between artists from two of their most successful groups. First, we have Bada, who was part of their mega-successful, late 90’s girl group S.E.S. Joining her is Super Junior’s Ryeowook, who had a strong solo earlier in the year and is a self-professed S.E.S. fan. Cosmic becomes even more meaningful now that Ryeowook’s announced his impending military enlistment, making this the last song we’ll hear him on for two years.
So, with all of this weight behind it, Cosmic is bound to be a stunner, right? Well… yes and no. Its dramatic, ballad-with-a-beat template will be familiar to listeners of Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love or any similarly produced Ryan Tedder track. The production mostly stays out of the way, providing a chest-beating momentum to support Bada and Ryeowook’s impressive vocal performance. The melody is similarly straightforward, aiming for anthemic but never feeling quite propulsive enough to scale those lofty heights.
What we’re left with is essentially a battle royale between two incredible vocalists. Had Cosmic been performed by less explosive singers, it would have felt slight and forgettable. Luckily, Bada and Ryeowook meet as equals here, complimenting each others’ tones perfectly. When they harmonize, we get the sense of how incredible the song might have been had its melody and production lived up to their potential. There are moments where the two go off-script with a dynamite ad-lib, but the rigidity of the songwriting keeps pulling them back. Cosmic is strong, especially for a Station release, but it would have been absolutely stunning if it had truly let its performers loose.