After an uninterrupted rise in popularity since debuting last year, Korea’s thirteen-strong girl group WJSN (or Cosmic Girls in English) have unveiled their very first album, Happy Moment.
WJSN is made up of four ‘sub-units’ (Wonder, Joy, Sweet and Natural) with all thirteen girls representing a star sign (including Ophiuchus) – hence the group’s English name, Cosmic Girls. Both the group’s downloads and fandom have shown steady growth since debuting with the Would You Like? EP last February, verified by the commercial success of their third EP, January 2017’s From. WJSN; the EP peaked at number four on Gaon and has sold just under 37,000 copies, a 108% increase in sales compared to previous release The Secret in August 2016. With the disbandment of Starship Entertainment’s flagship girl group, SISTAR, WJSN should automatically become the label’s priority and rocket to the very top of K-Pop’s charts – and Happy Moment will surely be the beginning of that.
Happy Moment is fronted by title track “Happy”, an irresistibly joyful opening. The rising synth drops and peppy pop beat are brought to life by the charming cheerleader aesthetic of “Happy”. Follow-up track “Miracle” is an elegant, sophisticated orchestral-tinged disco number which, while somewhat rehashing the similarly spectacular “It’s a Secret” from 2016, contains one of the most unforgettable hooks of the year in its chorus. “Mr. Bad Boy” is a vibrant combination of glistening synths coated over a booty bounce beat, whereas “Sugar” has the strong sound of a ’70s disco hit – served K-pop style, of course.
“Babyface” is by far Happy Moment’s piece de resistance; the sensual dance bop oozes allure, thanks to its UK house-style bass flicks and fleeting banjo melodies. Although “Babyface”’s dark, club sound is a shift from the sparkling neon sensations WJSN are much-loved for, the track demonstrates the versatility of WJSN while still managing to maintain the girlish charms stitched into the group.
Happy Moment takes a strange turn after “Babyface”. The intriguingly titled “Plop Plop” sets sail with a dreamy 8bit melody, and its tender R&B vibes serve as the first challenge to the Happy Moment ethos. “Follow Me”, despite all of its electric guitar glory, is Happy Moment’s only real dud. The happy party rapidly swings into gear again with more curiously called, yet utterly addictive, songs; “B.B.B.Boo” and “Geeminy”, both of which are iridescent, effervescent dance numbers truly playing up to the ‘cosmic’ aspect of the group’s brand, due to the heavenly layering of futuristic, spacey pads over glossy beats.
After all of the devastating terrorist attacks of the last month, one of which directly targeted our very industry, WJSN’s eclectic offering of ebullient dance music on Happy Moment is exactly that – a happy moment, among all of the world’s madness.