Cosmic Girls (WJSN) debuted with a pretty airtight sound, melding the trends of the day with a spacey, synth-filled style in keeping with their group name. Over the past two years, they’ve briefly dipped into muddle waters, with last year’s Twice-esque Happy being the most jarring detour. But with Save Me, Save You (부탁해), they’ve doubled down on the musical hallmarks that made many fall in love with them in the first place.
This is always a smart move, especially in moments of transition. Save Me is released without the participation of Cosmic Girls’ three Chinese members. And like EXO before them, the future of this pan-national group is looking more and more like it will end up in some sort of division. Still, a thirteen-member K-pop act offers a seemingly endless supply of voices and talents. Save Me doesn’t suffer too much from the group’s reduced size.
Instead, the song plays like a streamline of their greatest hits, pulling heavily from Secret’s mystical instrumental while incorporating the electronic sparkle of I Wish and the wistful power of Dreams Come True. Its opening verse is tentative, drawing back after the cascade of synths that opens the track. However, the melody quickly builds energy as we head into the chorus. Like Secret, this is not a song driven by an instant, catchphrase-ready refrain. Save Me unfolds gradually, and its beauty is in its majestic details. From the haunting brush of filtered background vocals to the delicate percolation of icy synths, it’s the kind of soundscape that’s easy to get lost in. That has been Cosmic Girls’ strength all along, and the calling card that makes them unique among today’s girl groups.
As usual it severely lacks Dawon – for some reason with them down three members I was hopeful she’d get more than the usual two lines but alas: it just ment Seola and the others got more. Remember when being a main vocalist meant something? – but this song overall felt a lot more balanced than the usual and it’s growing on me a lot.
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