Considering the growth of FNC Entertainment in recent years, it’s kind of perplexing that Cherry Bullet has only had two single albums and two mini albums (including ‘Cherry Wish‘) in over three years since their debut.
That has resulted in some stagnant sales, even as they have found themselves musically in 2021 with the standout “Love So Sweet”. Though perhaps now increased attention will follow after three of their members made late runs in Girls Planet 999, and “Love In Space” is a quality follow-up that deepens their discography.
Let’s address the elephant in the room, for better or worse the thing that stands out the most as truly new on “Love In Space” is the verses, in which Cherry Bullet seem to have been accidentally set to two times the speed in some kind of quasi-rap mode. It’s manic and sorta disorienting, but it does fit the energy of the track and isn’t as odd after the initial surprise wears off.
Regardless, even if it’s off-putting to you I can’t see it being enough of a negative to detract from what underscores the song, which is the pulsing beat and a dramatic as hell synth loop that leaves a lasting impression. Certainly it’s not enough to ignore the standout chorus, because while a lot of songs of late would find it sufficient to make the repetition of “love” and the instrumental the entire thing, “Love In Space” uses that to simply setup a multi-part effort with soaring vocals that concludes with the synth loop returning. Not much would be as good as the “20, 20dB naman deullige soksagyeo jweo” line but this is a nice competitor for their discography.
I also think this is probably my favorite modern girl group concept, somewhat pioneered by WJSN (I think), where it basically splits the difference between cute and serious, delivering a dreamy, majestic image that’s reflected nicely in the music as well.
It’s weird timing that after two months of K-pop releases generally failing to get over the top with their synthpop efforts (or much of anything), Rocket Punch and Cherry Bullet drop two of the better ones almost simultaneously. This probably won’t help those who have trouble distinguishing the two groups, but I’m grateful that they’re leading the way in using the trend by going for bigger sounds instead of settling for good enough.
“Love In Space” is an exciting sequel to perhaps their magnum opus in “Love So Sweet”, and it begins to truly solidify their overall group identity as well. Hopefully now that they have it locked down they get more regular releases to build up their fandom and recognition, because based on the strength of their last two comebacks, they deserve at least that chance.