Cosmic Girls – “I Wish” Review

(Dance Practice)

Cosmic Girls/WJSN – I
Wish

Reviewed
on February 17, 2017

Finally,
this takes us to our review. Although Cosmic Girls is flourishing with their
choreography and have solid stage presence for “I Wish,” I argue their weaker vocal
execution in the song is what greatly holds it back. The song in theory does
play out decently as we will discuss, but in application with how the vocals are
delivered, the song loses much of its appeal.

Personal Message:
It has been almost two weeks since
the last review—this being perhaps the longest delay the blog has seen. To
explain the absence of reviews, I have been incredibly busy with university.
Moreover, though, I have been using my “review time” to instead subtitle a few
videos along with preparing a lesson that I taught to seventh graders and
indeed, all of this took up the time that would have been for reviewing songs.
(On the random note of teaching seventh graders, it should be clarified that this
is not due to the fact that I am officially teaching. Rather, I am still
gathering experience and teaching informally. That said, I am able to have teaching
sessions as my current “cooperating teacher” is incredibly welcoming, helpful,
and overall is such a wonderful person.)

Nevertheless, I greatly apologize to
the requester of this current review and additionally another requester who has
been patiently waiting for their request on BTS’ “Dead Leaves.” I hope to spend
this weekend catching up and to finally get to a bonus post that focuses on
technicalities of sound in general. Especially since February is a shorter
month, I do feel quite pressured to simply get out as many reviews as possible while
still, of course, inputting a genuine amount of effort and care per post. And on
a random note, an additional bonus post will be coming out soon: a post that
provides a discussion on how SPICA, a very vocally-skilled group, can somehow
never receive spotlight and are now on “hiatus” (of which is SPICA’s Narae’s
gentler way of saying the group is temporarily disbanding). In short, I plan to
discuss—in a speculative sense—what it actually takes to be popular in the
K-Pop scene since, akin to almost all pop cultural music around the world, there
is a lot more than just music at
play.

But, let us now focus on what we
currently care more about: Cosmic Girls’ “I Wish.” (And to address potential
confusion, the group is also referred to as WJSN due to abbreviations if
correct. However, Cosmic Girls is the official name similar to how Girls’
Generation is the official name for that group versus their abbreviation of SNSD
and thus, I will refer to Cosmic Girls as their official name from here and onwards.)
With “I Wish,” to already discuss it in a somewhat critical fashion, I wish—no
pun intended—to clarify that the song is something that I term
“performance-based”; in other words, the beauty and strengths of the song is
more in its choreography and stage presence than the song’s own sounds and
composition.  

As we will shortly get into, I will
argue the song is relatively weak. In fact, statistically speaking, it is a
tenth away from being labeled as “slightly below average.” This is personally
shocking as if I recall correct, the requester did mention they believed this
group was underrated. Now in a general sense, I do agree: Cosmic Girls
certainly have brilliant dancing skills and their songs are not utterly weak—and,
of course, it would be nice for every group to receive a “healthy” amount of
popularity. (In a somewhat cynical manner, by “healthy” I refer to the amount
that allows a group to be financially stable. I do assert that life is much more than money, but indeed we have
to be realistic and acknowledge that finances are a huge driving force to
artists—or the lack thereof when it comes to groups being quite inactive due to
faring poorly with profits.) But even so, on a more critical level—and more so
if focusing on music—I disagree with
the requester: Cosmic Girls, I argue, have yet to release any stunning songs
that would make them “deserving” (again in a loose sense) of more popularity.

However, putting aside pessimistic outlooks
on the ladies, I think Cosmic Girls definitely have the room to grow. In fact,
I like how Starship Entertainment is handling the group: the songs they receive
tend to be decent in the realms of composition and production. To be clearer, the
songs themselves—ignoring the vocals, essentially—tend to actually be decent
songs if we analyze the structures, the instrumental, how the song flows, and
so forth. What lacks the most for Cosmic Girls, then, is themselves: their singing
and rapping. If the vocal execution on their part improves—and indeed, this is
basically a guarantee if the ladies practice and train—then over time I foresee
Cosmic Girls faring very well with possessing both solid dancing skills and vocal skills and decently composed songs. And indeed, this is the ultimate goal
of all groups: to be adept at both dancing and singing (and rapping) and have
stronger songs. (Since I mentioned SPICA, they provide an “inverse” example to
Cosmic Girls’ situation and this might make more sense for readers. SPICA is
very vocally impressive but, especially given their last comeback, their songs’
production can be weaker. Barring “Tonight” and especially “Ghost,” many of
their other songs lack in composition despite their vocals always shining and
thus, their songs are still overall average even if they individually excel
with singing and rapping.) Overall, point being is this: Starship Entertainment
has handled the composition and production of Cosmic Girls’ songs well. Now,
though, it is time for Cosmic Girls themselves to elevate their singing to an
even higher stage.

Finally, this takes us to our
review. Although Cosmic Girls is flourishing with their choreography and have
solid stage presence for “I Wish,” I argue their weaker vocal execution in the
song is what greatly holds it back. The song in theory does play out decently
as will discuss, but in application with how the vocals are delivered, the song
loses much of its appeal.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
(4.50/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 3/10


Sections: 4/10
(4.43/10 raw score)

Introduction, Chorus,
Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Verse, Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Rap, Bridge, Chorus,
Conclusion

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 4/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 5/10

4.     Chorus: 3/10

5.     Rap: 3/10

6.     Bridge: 5/10

7.     Conclusion: 6/10


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 6/10

[Introduction instrumental]

Just tell me why
You only want to walk on flower paths
Tell me why
This girl only wants to be loved
Tell me why
Boy and girl, walking on a flower path
Then we met destiny (destiny)

When you pass me by,
I tremble so much
You wake my heart up,
like early flower petals
You are building up in me

I’m so fine, look so fine, I look pretty
Because I’m receiving love more and more
Out of all these people,
only you are the most handsome
of all the universe

Just tell me why
You only want to walk on flower paths
Tell me why
This girl only wants to be loved
Tell me why
Boy and girl, walking on a flower path
Then we met destiny
Tell me love, talk to me
Oh oh oh, I’m curious
(Tell me why)
Is this the love I wanted?

We’re resembling each other, more and more
The distance is getting closer
The more we spend time together,
the more my heart trembles

Hurry and walk into my heart
No one has ever told me
Out of all these people,
only you are the most handsome
of all the universe

Just tell me why
You only want to walk on flower paths
Tell me why
This girl only wants to be loved
Tell me why
Boy and girl, walking on a flower path
Then we met destiny
Tell me love, talk to me

Each day is like a dream
On this road that is made with your love
There remains our footsteps
I hope it’s you when I open my eyes

I’m gonna go blind at this rate
You’re dazzling, did you swallow light?
You’re a miracle that came to me
Now I’m holding my hands out so I can reach

Just tell me why
You only want to walk on flower paths
Tell me why
This girl had a lot of secrets
Tell me why
Walking on this path like a picture
We met destiny
A different landscape is before our eyes
Oh oh oh so beautiful
You and I, it’s like a dream
Boy and girl, walking on a flower path
Then we met destiny
Suddenly, you are close, in front of me

[Conclusion instrumental]

_______________________________________________________

Analysis:
While numbers can never quite speak for themselves, I do find the current
ratings misleading. After all, it appears that the song is not excellently composed if the sections themselves are scoring
poorly—but this is not the case due to a particular reason as will get to. “I
Wish” in of itself definitely possesses compositional strengths.

For
example, the sections are cohesive. Even if the choruses sound poorly, it is difficult to deny how to the sections flow well
into one another. Transitions between each section are subtle yet beneficial
and one moment in particular is worth much praising: the pre-choruses. Relating
back transitions, both the “before” and “after” transitions are smooth to this
section, but more importantly the sections’ conduct is brilliant. Consider how
the pre-choruses open: slower, calm vocals and instrumental which then
gradually build towards a minor note hold. It is incredibly effective for the
song in whole of reaching its climactic peaks (the choruses, as is typically
the case) but also doing such grants the song appeal via variety. Especially in
juxtaposition to the other sections that do not
offer that level of diversity, the pre-choruses become a key core of “I Wish”
as it is structurally quite solid and sonically provides some appeal. Likewise,
other features are decent to the song: the lyrics for its creative plot and
somewhat varied details; and lastly its instrumental for providing the song a
reliable foundation even if it partially lacks sonically. And yet, readers
still might have a critical question in mind: but why are the sections still poorly
rated for the most part? Answering that is our next focus.

In
short: the vocals are indirectly affecting the sections, hence why for example
the pre-chorus is still rated as average even when it is a rather impressive
section given what it provides for the song and how creative it is. Now while
sections oftentimes are not associated with vocals per se, we have to understand
everything is still fundamentally connected. For example with the pre-chorus,
as discussed it is structurally
strong: within the section it remains quite diverse and fluid, and in an
overarching view the section transitions the song and helps in the process of
building it up. Nonetheless, the raw sounds
that occur are weaker but we still have to acknowledge those sounds to a
section are still ultimately a part of it. With this in mind, let us focus on a
few specific aspects.

The
choruses are arguably the song’s weakest part. The main, impairing aspect is
how monotonous this section comes across. Instrumentally and vocally, there is
little variation at play. At most there is a slight change in pace towards the
latter half of the choruses, but for the most part the sections sonically and
structurally are too rigid. Furthermore, the attempts to break out of the
sections’ tedious format—the electronic vocals added (and more specifically, I
am referring to the “auto-tuned” parts) throughout the choruses—prove futile
and, more detrimentally, do quite the opposite. With vocals that carry minimal
strain and intensity and equally an instrumental that is predominantly
recycling basic, electronic noises, piling onto all of this the auto-tuned
vocals that are equally meshed into the instrumental make the choruses sound
more monotonous. Should some variety take place—perhaps some added vocal power
or a slightly more complex tune—the choruses would have performed better.

Another
section worth covering is the rap. This section is perhaps the worst in “I Wish”
as it lacks both in execution and composition. For one, the placement of the
rap is already peculiar: after a chorus. Now on the one hand I understand why
this was chosen: it allows the rap to seamlessly transition in—and indeed, this
is very much true and as discussed earlier, cohesion is a huge strength to “I
Wish.” Nevertheless, on the other hand it should be noted that because of how
the rap itself plays out—being tedious in its sound and flow as the rap had
minimal fluctuations and ultimately only had speed as its charming point—it almost
sounds as a mere extension to the already stale, repetitive choruses. If either
the choruses were more diverse or if the rap’s execution allowed it to differentiate
from the current choruses’ sound, the rap would have worked very well. As is,
unfortunately, the rap is in a difficult situation of fitting structurally but
not sonically.

If
not for the weaker vocal delivery in “I Wish,” many of the current issues I
pointed us to could have been avoided entirely. Again, I wish to emphasize that
the song’s composition is actually decent; if the vocals were somehow more
diverse be it through added power or a more complex tune, then the current
sections as is appear fine. The rap section’s situation is the best example of
what I am attempting to get at—after all, as said it fits perfectly in the song
but given how it vocally sounds along with how the choruses vocally sound, it
no longer sounds suitable as it becomes far too monotonous. Even if the song
miraculously scores at a five, we need to bear in mind that that is not quite the
case: it is nearly a four and therefore a “slightly below average” one.

All
this said, while I have been rather critical of Cosmic Girls, it should be
clarified that my words are not to be interpreted as bashing the members
personally or with their skills. On a general level, their singing is still “good”;
even if I am heavily critiquing them on that level, we all need to acknowledge that
they are still singers and therefore “can
sing.” My critique, then, is not to claim they should not be singers or that
they are bad at singing but rather
that their singing within the context of
“I Wish” is inappropriate for it. Additionally, without doubt their vocals will
improve over time and given that Starship Entertainment is handling the composition
and production of Cosmic Girls’ songs quite well as mentioned, this means that
Cosmic Girls will begin excelling in
the future. Fans should very much continue to support the ladies and I
personally look forward to their future releases. Besides, as a future post
will soon discuss, K-Pop is not just purely about the audio to a song: it
involves the choreography, stage presence, attending shows, and so on. With
Cosmic Girls holding well with their dancing and—from watching a few videos—them
being quite entertaining on shows, the group is still worth supporting and
caring for.

_______________________________________________________

Huge
apologies to the requester of this review, but it finally is released. I am
still running with the plan of keeping reviews condense and focusing more on
critical moments, so I hope this was able to come across in this review.
Likewise, I hope the review is thought-provoking and not just, say, “emotional-provoking”
as I hope the points I bring up are disagreed (or agreed) with in a respectful,
mature manner versus fans being purely reactive without giving deeper thoughts.

For
the next review, look forward to BTS’ “Dead Leaves”—a request that I am quite
late on—and two bonus posts that will discuss SPICA’s hiatus and music
equalizers. Thank you to all for reading this review in full or skim. I
appreciate it all. Look forward to the next post and know that “You wake my
heart up, like early flower petals.”