Despite not being the most popular girl group out there right now, WJSN or Cosmic Girls, as we Ujungs call them, has showcased their unending potential through their consistently-delivering comebacks, and their most recent comeback with their first album HAPPY MOMENT is no different.
13 is Just a Number
People are easily overwhelmed with large K-Pop groups, whether they are aimed at a male or female target market. Most of the time, they are met with criticism, but amidst the negative responses, these groups become some of the best-selling groups in the industry. Take Super Junior and Girls' Generation for example: those two are arguably the largest groups during their time, but they each spawned trademark hits one after another. Today, Starship Entertainment and Yuehua Entertainment's WJSN is currently the female group with most members, and while they aren't quite up there yet with other A-class acts, people must know that they are a group that consistently delivers, nevertheless.
At the beginning, the respective agencies didn't plan for a girl group this large. Starship Entertainment was rumored to have been planning to debut a 7-member girl group in 2013, being the female counterpart of BOYFRIEND. This line-up first included Soobin, Dayoung, EXY, Seola, Bona, and Eunseo. Plans fell through and Luda, Yeoreum, and Dawon started training with the group. After the agency formed a partnership with Yuehua Entertainment in 2015, the latter company's trainees Xuanyi, Meiqi, and Chengxiao entered the picture. Completing their line-up was former I.O.I member Yeunjung's addition in late 2016, after she rose to fame through Produce 101.
While there are cons to having more group members, there are definitely more pros from a marketing standpoint, especially when the group's value has gone up. Also, with each of them representing a certain zodiac, the girls are more likely to draw more fans as people might feel that there is a member for every type of person. A very smart marketing twist, if you ask me!
WOULD YOU LIKE?, SECRET, and FROM WJSN
After years of preparation, the girl group finally debuted with "MoMoMo" in February 25, 2016. The accompanying mini-album WOULD YOU LIKE? was released on the same day with tracks like electro-bop "Catch Me" and the Nam Kisang written "Take My Breath." The album was met with lukewarm responses and was digitally unsuccessful; however, the group showed its potential to be big physical sellers through selling a total of 12,700+ copies. The group bounced back with a high quality song and music video with their 2nd single "Secret." It debuted at #49 in the Gaon charts in its first week, 98 spots higher than "MoMoMo" did. By this time, interest for the girls was growing big, which was reflected by the great results achieved by their next mini-album, From WJSN. It shifted 36,600+ copies, with "I Wish" charting well digitally. It even became their best selling track digitally.
Hoping to put a solid ground on their achievements, the group quickly came back with their first studio album HAPPY MOMENT, just around three months after wrapping up promotions for their last mini-album. The album is the group's most upbeat and colorful release to date, and it successfully showcases the group's energy. The title track "HAPPY" is also their fastest tempoed title track to date, which shouldn't be a surprise since it was released during the start of summer.
HAPPY MOMENT’s Best Cuts
While I usually end up loving every single title track the group puts out, I must admit that I remain iffy with some of their B-sides. Don't get me wrong, I love me some "ROBOT" or "Take My Breath," which are undoubtedly some of the group's best album cuts, but there are a few tracks from their albums where I find their compositions less eventful than the others. For HAPPY MOMENT, I'll say that the first half easily beats every single mini-album they have put out. You have "HAPPY," a Black Eyed Pilseung production which is another great title track from the girls. B-sides "Mr. BADBOY" and "SUGAR" are also amazing tracks, each leaning towards the sugary and catchy side. While not being in the first half of the album, "B.B.B.Boo" also deserves a special mention. It sounds like something Dal Shabet would've done in 2011, and it shouldn't be surprising since E-TRIBE is the producer for the track.
However, the two best tracks from the album are "Miracle" and "BABYFACE." A lot of people have criticized "Miracle" for sounding like a disco remix of "Secret," but I actually think that it is the reason why the track sounds good. It's no surprise that "Secret" is the group's best title track so far, so it's only natural for the group to do another track with the same formula, especially when it is their first studio album. It would be a risky move by the agency if they made this a title track, but you can tell that they know that showing something new this time would be better.
"BABYFACE" on the other hand, blows every single track from the album out of the water. It doesn't sound like any WJSN track we've heard before, bringing a new formula to the table. The track almost sounds sexy, despite the track talking about unaging beauty, because of the whisper-esque manner of the group singing the track. Producer Armadillo successfully arranges a unique track that features a very acid-influenced beat, writing in very catchy lines along the way. I personally love that my bias Xuanyi gets the most lines in the track, too
The Group’s Secret Weapon: The MVs
While the group has continuously blessed us with well-done title tracks, it should be mentioned that one of the biggest reasons why the group successfully delivers every time is because of their music videos. I’d actually like to think that this is one of the strongest selling points of the group.
From "Secret" to "HAPPY," their music videos have been done by production team FANTAZYLAB. It is them that the girls have to thank for creating very fitting visual shots, especially when they have been known for their music videos for "Secret" and "I Wish.” Because of the outer space themes they had, they were able to live up to the "cosmic" aspect of their team name. The videos' visuals all had the trademark smooth motion in the shots, as well as that pink color scheme going on. "HAPPY," on the other hand, was a lot more varied in color compared to the the other two videos, but it still looks as well thought-out as the others
Right Now and What’s To Come
The girls have also been scoring a lot of endorsement deals since their debut, and they recently released a summer single "KISS ME" in collaboration with cosmetics brand Kiss Me. The song actually sounds really good, especially for a CF song, and that’s all thanks to producer Shin Hyuk. Right now, a few members have been carrying out solo promotions while juggling their commitments to the group. Meiqi and Bona are both carrying out their acting careers with Bona being part of the drama The Best Hit and with Meiqi being the lead in a Chinese-produced Step Up film. In addition to this, Chengxiao also continues to promote the group through her own interviews and magazine shoots.
Now that the group has proven that they are a force to be reckoned with, I honestly believe that they should make another comeback before the year closes, or during a time similar to their promotions for “I Wish” so that they can remain in the limelight. After opening with their biggest first month sales for HAPPY MOMENT, it is no doubt that the girls are slowly starting to build a solid fanbase. That being said, all the girls would really have to do each time they come back is to just deliver. They are on their way to the top of the pack, and if they continue their stellar efforts, it would be no surprise if they became the next favorite girl group of a lot Hallyu fans.