[Review] Red Velvet have themselves a celebration of sorts on the alluring “Cosmic”

Red Velvet‘s Cosmic album also essentially serves as a 10th anniversary celebration for the group, who have compiled one of the best discographies in K-pop and get the critical and fan praise to match. Needless to say, expectations were high for their literal title track in “Cosmic” and its Midsommar-inspired music video, and Red Velvet mostly managed to meet them.

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Please feign surprise that the guitar riff that started the song was particularly appealing to me, and that it not being revisited was a personal tragedy of mine. But aside from that, it did serve the purpose of setting the rhythm for the dynamic bassline and beat that the verses were built on. “Cosmic” establishes a darker tone in those moments, and the slinky vocals made for an almost perfect beginning.

Surprisingly, the lighter pre-chorus was not just a temporary break from those vibes, but rather a transition into an even brighter chorus, featuring thumping bass and swelling strings, complete with jubilant vocal exclamations along the way. The melody all comes together to create a feeling of soaring elegance like something out of a fairytale, which makes “Cosmic” almost feel like the closing number to a musical.

That said, I wasn’t immediately sold on it like apparently everybody else was. “Cosmic” is more of a well-rounded single than something with a truly engrossing topline that grabs the listener, making me wonder if it was more good than great. While I still might be the low man in terms of enthusiasm for this, two factors eventually convinced me: the bridge escalating things near the end and the “I’m riding on your rhythm, through the solar system, come with me” emerging as a hook that got more memorable on repeats and felt strangely alluring.

Unfortunately, the same can’t really be said for the music video, which is a mainly disappointing because it uses a ton of Midsommar elements without Red Velvet going back to their roots of explicitly killing men, which I thought would be the whole point of invoking Midsommar. Instead, like the lyrics, it’s more of a way of telling somebody to stay with them (through kidnapping and a cult, but still). The visuals and sets are top tier, but it’s hard to give them too much credit considering the blueprint existed.

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While perhaps not a perfect comeback, “Cosmic” feels like an appropriate celebration of Red Velvet in a way, providing a groovy soundtrack for them to operate over and using some interesting melding of two distinct sounds to make something that provides a unique feeling as well.

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