Simply Fun, Glossy Pop Galore in CRAVITY’s ‘LIBERTY : IN OUR COSMOS’
The digital album cover for CRAVITY’s LIBERTY : IN OUR COSMOS is in many ways, an ideal place to start. In contrast to its 2021 sister album THE AWAKENING : WRITTEN IN THE STARS, chrome silver is replaced by a joyful mix of light blue, mint green, white and yellow, punctuated with similarly coloured confetti and a dash of pink thrown in for good measure. It’s sparkling, fun, joyful to the max, and just as the album cover is the brightest and most uplifting we’ve seen from the group, it also sums up well the group’s newest and most sonically cohesive album in their discography.
One of the stars of this record is title track ‘Adrenaline’: whilst CRAVITY’s title tracks have not always showcased the best of the group quite as well as many of their b-sides, this time, ‘Adrenaline’ stands tall as one of the group’s best title tracks, if not the best outright. Leaning into a groovy bass line, the funky pop song has an addictive chorus and energy that gives the group the space to show off a wider range of personality and charm than some of their previous title tracks have afforded them.
Songs ‘POW!’, ‘BOPPIN!’ and ‘Chandelier’ return to the noise-tinged hip-hop pop that the group have enjoyed across their entire discography; the group’s B-sides have always excelled and in Liberty : In Our Cosmos this continues, with the aforementioned songs grounding the record in CRAVITY’s more usual sound. However, latter songs in the album see the group continue to have fun experimenting with their music too. CRAVITY leaning into a good groove is never a disappointment (see: ‘Adrenaline’, but also ‘Grand Prix’, ‘Divin’, ‘Dangerous’) and true to this, ‘FLIP THE FRAME’ is one of the best tracks on the record, mixing atmospheric glittery instrumentals in its verses with a heavy-bass beat paired with whisper vocals in the chorus. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but boy does it, and to addictive effect.
‘Maybe Baby’ is a summer dance-pop song that — bar noughties-inspired mid-tempo song ‘Late Night’ — is the gentlest and prettiest track on the album. The song showcases the members’ vocals well, in particular how well all their voices complement one other, whilst the track’s synth and funk instrumental benefits from not being overproduced: the effect is uplifting to the listener, and makes ‘Maybe Baby’ the perfect day-to-night song, as good for a pool jam as for a nighttime city drive.
What ends up being the most interesting about LIBERTY : IN OUR COSMOS is how the record is held together not just by the overall upbeat energy of every song, but also how there’s a new level of conviction to be heard in the group’s performances. Akin to a glint in one’s eye, the confidence and enjoyment they express adds a boost of positive energy to each track, giving even the most heavily produced or intense moments on the record a sense of vibrancy and exhilaration, as opposed to the more serious vibe we might have heard during those moments in earlier records.
Then perhaps, this is LIBERTY : IN OUR COSMOS’ biggest triumph: from the album’s name, to its cover and concept photos and, finally, the music, the record delivers exactly what it says on the tin not just to fans but also to the group themselves. CRAVITY have always had a lot of pressure to prove themselves, from stepping out of the shadow of their internationally recognised seniors, to finding their place in a 4th Generation boy group scene that is already overflowing with incredibly talented and lauded artists. But now, five records in, CRAVITY have never sounded more themselves; and in that liberty, they’ve also never sounded better.