Music Review: Dreamcatcher – Good Night

Welcome to Part 2 of my Dreamcatcher Music Video Reviews series.

They’re the perfect group for me, they’ve got vocals and visuals for days, yadda yadda yadda…

This time, let’s just skip the preamble and jump straight into dissecting the music and its accompanying video!

The Song:
So first off, the music box melody. It’s reminiscent of the kind you’d use to soothe a baby to sleep, except it sounds really creepy and accelerates in speed before a drum hit drops to prepare you for when the full band blasts into your ears. This time around, they wanted to go straight to the rock and man that lead riff just screams anime intro. Plus, it’s the same melody as the music box, so A+ for reusing a melody with a different instrument. It always gives a refreshing feeling to familiarity.

The 1st verse seamlessly quiets down, but maintains the heavy feel with a distorted palm muted riff that’s backed with an acoustic drum kit (keep that in mind for later). I like how it kinda teases you a bit with a full band burst coupled with power vocals for just one bar before returning to the main riff. This time it’s not palm muted and the drums are starting to pick up with headbanging crash hits to prepare you for what’s next.

The pre-chorus kicks in with a bassdrum counting us in, and the closed hi-hat whispering what will soon be in full force with crash symbals in a few seconds. The guitars in this part is like Chase Me, once again doing some sustained single chord strikes per bar and we plummet into the first chorus, and..

It kicks ass!

It involves a vocal trade between Siyeon and Yooyeon, the main and lead vocalists of the group, and it’s amazing how their individual voices alone are enough to carry the chorus. Many K-Pop groups simply stick to using the whole group harmonizing or singing the same melody together to give a sense of power to it, and that’s with much softer instrumentation. The girls in Dreamcatcher are more than capable of individually belting it out to suit the high adrenaline instrumentation.

Now for the 2nd verse, we introduce the rappers Handong and Dami trading lines over an electronic hip-hop drum kit. That main riff from the first verse is back of course, but backed up by a drum kit that sounds more suitable for a rap section. It’s got that deeper, more sustained sounding bass kick that you would hear at a club, and a muted sounding snare hit that’s a cross between a clap and rim shot. Little touches like this give the song a lot of character as each section lends itself well for whichever vocalist happens to be showcasing their talent at their designated parts of the song.

Yooyeon’s belted vocals then welcomes back the full band along with the acoustic drum kit, yanking us back into 2nd pre-chorus and chorus that are pretty much the same as before, but that’s okay because something special happens a bit later anyway. No need to get too technical just yet.

The bridge in a way feels like how a dream does. Or more in particular, a nightmare, wherein it seems to calm down not once, but twice, or maybe even more times before you’re shaken out of your skin. We’re given some gently strummed acoustic guitar chords and softer vocals that gradually pick up in volume, and just when you think Siyeon’s power vocals are leading us back to the heavy stuff, we get a surprising anti-drop to an appregio piano riff. The exasperation at the end of Siyeon’s part also gives me chills as it adds to the effect of trying to escape a nightmare. You can scream as loud as you want, but you’re still trapped.

Then finally, Jiu gives us some cool distorted vocals to make way for Yooyeon’s final delivery of the chorus. Something interesting happens that throws me off every time, and that’s a momentary key shift for one bar. That’s it. Instead of bringing the whole song to that key it only does it once before resuming back to normal, and as much as I love musical complexity to the max most of the time, this isn’t one of those times. I just don’t think a full modulation would work for this song, so kudos to the composers!

The Music Video:
My God, this is where the fun of fan theories begin. So much happens in this music video and since we only have the limitations of quick cutting and visua language to go on, the story might be to comprehend, but I’ll give it a shot.

We come back to the ghost hunter guy having found a study room packed with books that could possibly give him some answers. Meanwhile we see the girls dressed in white night gowns running through an eerie forest as they’re being chased by masked and cloaked figures. This could possibly be a flashback alluding to the night the seven girls were murdered.

As the ghost hunter is going through the room collecting clues, the present day ghost versions of girls become increasingly aware of how close he is to solving the mystery. Maybe he wants to help them, but they just don’t want to? Maybe they’re enraged and are content living on as Nightmares, and if they were to be exorcised, they might cease to exist? Either way, they are watching from the other side of the mirror.

A book with a chain lock on it seems to be pretty important. Important enough that one of the Nightmares snatches the book off the desk to bring it into the mirror world where I think they begin to rip and burn the pages. This is what leads me to believe that a lot about their murder could be discovered, but are refusing to be understood so they can continue their haunt.

What I found pretty cool is how in the mirror world the girls are tearing up books, and as the camera focus shifts back to our realm, the ghost hunter dude is just standing there seeing a bunch of books get ripped up all on their own before he himself gets trapped into the mirror world. The Nightmares are then presumably taking physical form entering our world after trading places with the ghost hunter.

As the music video ends, the cloaked figures are walking around unmasked and they look just like the very same girls they were chasing. This could either mean these girls were chased by their evil dopplegangers, or they over powered the cloaked figures and fought back? I’m not quite sure, but I bet those wooden crosses they fashioned out of branches and hung on trees might hold some answers. If anyone with more knowledge on the whole occult stuff can educate me on the meaning of those, along with anything to do with dreamcatchers in general, I’d greatly appreciate it!

One of the cloaked figures happens to drop that same book with the chain lock on it, and it’s hard to tell if it was deliberate or not. Though it does raise the question; how did that book find its way back to the mansion?

Ah, the mystery thickens and I’ve never been so invested in a music video’s narrative before until now!

Stay tuned tomorrow for my review on the Prequel to all this madness.

What are your thoughts on Dreamcatcher’s music and their music videos?

What are some of your favourite narrative concepts in music?

Are there a set of lyrics, a set of songs, or even an entire album that you love that is dedicated to exploring an overarcing theme or narrative?

Let me know in the comments below!

And just like Chase Me for those who want to see more of the choreography, here’s the dance video for Good Night. That intro sequence with the puppet choreo is awesome.

 

Music Review: Dreamcatcher – Chase Me

Today I’m gonna do something I haven’t done on this site before and that’s review three music videos from one of my favourite artists. It eludes me why I haven’t done a music review, being such a music lover with a ton thoughts and opinions, but I am so fascinated by this group that I can’t contain my excitement.

I’ve been a metalhead most of my life, but have recently taken an interest in Korean pop, and while I do like having the divide between fast, heavy, and aggressive metal vs the often cute, bubbly, and soothing K-Pop, I have been dreaming of a K-Pop group adapting some rock music since they already do explore so many genres of music anyway.

Enter in: Dreamcatcher, which is literally a dream come true for me. They have the melodic catchiness and complex choreography of K-Pop beautifully woven in with the fast paced and distorted guitars of metal. Group “concepts” are a huge deal in concisely categorizing K-Pop groups in terms of their fashion style, overall group personality, and music style, and maybe I’ll write more about that later, but for now let me just gush over how unique Dreamcatcher is when it comes to this element of K-Pop.

The concept is that these seven girls girls are Nightmares that haunt people in their sleep and that there’s a whole mystery behind their murders before they became ghosts. We will now explore that mystery in the music videos made for their title tracks, as well as geek out over the musicality of each song!


The Song:

Up until now, distorted guitars in K-Pop have been mainly used for solos in otherwise softer tracks. They’ve been scarcely used for some rhythm riffs in other songs, but even then the overdrive and bass has not yet been cranked up to the level it’s at in this debut track by Dreamcatcher.

I love how it starts off with a nice soothing piano melody accompanied by their equally soothing, yet haunting vocals. As the pre-chorus kicks in there are some sustained distorted guitar chords, and then bam! A full out rock chorus catches you off guard and those soothing vocals amplify their own power by belting out a catchy melody. It’s mostly a bunch of power chords, but used to great effect since the focus here is the vocals. Then the first chorus ends with a fast and melodic riff laced with some background vocals chanting the title of the track because why not? Remember this riff for later!

Now we get to the 2nd verse, and a huge gripe for me when it comes to any song is when a 2nd verse is too identical to the 1st one. I like to get some variety after all, and if the 2nd verse has a completely different backing riff from the 1st then a song instantly has my attention. However, if it’s to be the same riff, there should be some variances with the accompanying instruments. Maybe the drums are more prominent, or there’s a lead melody layered on top that wasn’t there in the 1st verse.

Chase Me’s solution? Just add rapping when the drums kick back in.

And it’s awesome! Even if I don’t understand the language fully I love Korean rapping. They have a good flow and it’s nice that they rap in key of the song, and of course Dami, the rapper in Dreamcatcher in particular delivers her lines with a swag that says, “if throwing rock into the mix of K-Pop wasn’t enough, then take this!” Also, if I’m hearing correctly, I believe the bassline has more groove to it in the 2nd verse, which refreshes the instrumentation a bit.

Remember that riff I told you to remember? Well it comes back but in palm muted form for the bridge, and rightfully so since this time the vocals are saying much more this time. It’s a pretty sweet deal with how they let the distorted guitar do some slow soloing along with the vocals before softening up for a clean guitar version of the chorus. This, I think, was a very good way to pace the song as it feels like a rollercoaster of emotion. There’s a good balance of rise and fall, especially when the full chorus kicks back in quite percussively with break beats in sync with the vocal rhythm.

Sure, you can copy and paste a chorus three times in a song and call it day, but having putting a new spin on it just before the song ends is a sure fire way to maintain momentum without getting stale.

Overall, Chase Me is a well composed song that strikes a neat balance between calm and chaos.

The Music Video:
A horror themed music video is uncommon for K-Pop, and Chase Me happens to deliver with the creeps in a moderate way. That’s to say it’s not over the top horror with jump scares, gore, and grotesque imagery, rather you have the simple trick of the girls thinning in and out of existence after they take turns messing with the guy investigating the house.

I believe he’s supposed to be a detective/ghost hunter and he’s scouring the house for clues as to what happened to these girls. Why were they murdered and why do their spirits still linger around to haunt whoever dares to enter their home?

It’s a very unique introduction to the group in terms of their sound and style, as well as the over arcing narrative that would be used for their music videos. With just enough creeps and tiny ways to mess with the ghost hunter’s head.

Unfortunately a lot of the cinematic elements interrupt the very very cool choreography for this song. So it’s a tough experience wanting to get the best of both worlds, which it doesn’t. While you do get the best of the horror story, you miss out on a lot of the cool parts of the choreo.

Thankfully there is a separate video where you can watch just the girls dance, and man, I never used to appreciate hip hop dance crews or even dance in general until I got into K-Pop. On top of impressive ways to move with the music, and the ever changing group formations, what sets Dreamcatcher apart is their ability to do all that at break neck speed.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Good Night…

Your Novel in One Chapter

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When I go shopping for a new book to read, I like to open potential purchases to the halfway point and read whatever I stumble upon. Why that’s madness, you must say, how will you know what’s going on dropping in the middle of all action? You need to start at the beginning! 

I assure you that I at least flip a few pages back to make sure I’m reading at least the beginning of that midway chapter. I’m not a monster.

My reasoning behind this is because I want to know if the author is able to maintain a strong focus on theme, characters, and plot throughout the entirety of their novel. Something always needs to be happening that not only progresses the story, but also encapsulates the spirit of all that has transpired so far.

Simply put, every chapter in a novel should encapsulate the entirety of the novel in and of itself so that if you were to isolate any chapter from the novel it belongs to, it can read like a self contained short story.

One of my favourite books actually started off as a short story that then became a much later chapter in the full novel of Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. It’s the chapter where The Narrator shows up to work with cuts and bruises on his face after having fought in a fight club the night prior, and nobody at the office has even the slightest nerve to ask what happened to him.

This is such a great story in itself because it raises so many questions and depicts something completely out of the ordinary. Despite it being very minimalistic in its narration, it is actually a very jam packed experience.

What I personally love about Fight Club and Chuck’s work in general is the ability for his stories to tell a lot without saying much. It’s pretty much implied how bored The Narrator is with his 9-5 job and life in general if he’s willing to get beaten to a bloody pulp at a late night underground fight club, and not even call in sick the next day.

Encapsulating a Novel Into One Chapter

Basic Plot

 

So this is a very basic plot line graph commonly used to organize the entirety of a novel. It helps you introduce your characters, settings, and themes, and build toward a climactic moment that defines the whole story. This allows you to easily detail the story into three acts: beginning, middle, and end.

What I’m proposing is structuring your chapters in the very same way as if that chapter defines your entire novel if it were to be taken at face value. This way your story has a strong emphasis and focus on what it’s all about at all times, with very little time allotted for the story to drag for a moment.

And that’s not to say that pacing wise stories aren’t allowed to slow down, of course they are, that’s when some details get the time to sit and simmer with the reader. Likewise, if a chapter is short and quick paced, the very little details you provide should still be just as fleshed out with knife like concision, very much like the original short story that later gave birth to Fight Club.

In order to create a well focused chapter, even to you pantsers out there, I highly suggest using a chapter graph that divides chapters into three scenes, and even having those three scenes divided into three mini acts of their own like this:

Chapter graph

Every chapter you write won’t have a clear cut structure like this, and like some rules, you might break these guidelines from time to time, but generally this is the structure that ensures your chapters can also function as self contained short stories.

Click here to download your FREE Chapter Graph!

 

 

There, Their…They’re Everywhere!

Homonyms! There There

They’re everywhere and their usage seems to change here and there.

What’s a homonym? It’s a word that sounds the same as another word and may or not be spelled the same, but most definitely has a different meaning. Today we’ll look at the big three T’s that are commonly used and confused.

When To Know They’re There For Their Own Good

A lot of people seem to confuse these three bewitching words pretty often, and it’s understandable since the sound is used in common everyday conversation. I don’t say this from a high horse, but I rarely ever get them wrong, at least now I don’t. Here’s a little system that helped me remember which witch is which.

There – In Reference to a Location

When you ask somebody the whereabouts of a location you ask “where is it?” And if they’re kind enough they’ll respond, “over there.” An easy way to remember this one is to form the association in your head between the words where and there.

For extra measure, you can also remind yourself to replace the W in where with a to make there. 

(Where – W) T = There

There, there, you’re getting it, right? Moving on!

Their – In Reference to Ownership

What are the three important letters you need to remember when you lend someone your favourite video game without getting anything in return at the time of exchange?

I.O.U. which is something you should scribble down on a napkin to create a lawfully binding agreement that they’ll owe you something in return later.

I wish I kept that in mind 15 years ago when I lent my friend Tenchu 2: Birth of the Stealth Assassins. It took him five years to pay me back the amount I spent on getting a new copy because he lost my original one. *Shakes fist* but let’s not dwell on the past shall we?

When I say it’s my video game and not yours, (but you can borrow it for now…) those two words imply ownership by a person.

So to remember to spell this one as theirlike to keep in mind that while I‘m referring to someone else, in their point of view they refer to themselves as “I.” I would be referring to your ownership in third person perspective if I were to use their.

I know that one is kind of convoluted, but simply put:

Your + Speaking of You In Third Person = Their

(Third the D) + E + shifting of the letters = Their

They’re – In Reference to Several People

It’s a contraction of the words they are.

C’mon, it can’t get any easier than that.

seriouslee

 

What other homonyms would you like some clarity on?

Was my pseudo word math a bit too much?

Did you find this post helpful?

Make sure to let me know in the comments below!

 

Our Write to Live

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Before I begin, I want to extend my massive thanks to everyone who has read my first two posts in this series; My Write to Live and Your Write to Live, which detail the importance of writing in my life, as well as the importance of storytelling in the world at large.

That first one was incredibly difficult for me to write because of how vulnerable I had to be about some painful parts of my life, all the while summing up decades worth of stories as to not get derailed from the main point I wanted to make, which was how important writing has been in my life.

Wrapping up this series, I want to take the time to write and send this love letter to past and future coaching clients alike. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for sharing your stories with me. Whether it was your autobiography or the workings of your imagination, thank you for opening up and revealing to me who you are and what you value solely through the ideas we explored/will explore together.

Being a writing coach has been a dream of mine the past couple of years ever since I became aware of how naturally curious I am about the story ideas invented by my friends and family. And if my Askaholic Mode moments weren’t about stories they were creating, they were about the stories they’ve enjoyed in books, shows, or movies, endlessly wanting to know why certain stories resonated with them, and why the ones they create are the ones they create.

I think a quick glance at anybody’s book or DVD shelf can reveal what kinds of things they value, whether it’s romance, sci-fi, or spirituality, our personal preferences say a lot about who we are. Love, truth, justice, and other human concepts that we make real through our belief and experience–all of these concepts and ideas are repeatedly validated through the various mediums of storytelling.

From the word of mouth to the major motion picture, once again stories connect us. And for those who want to hone in on a specific concept and craft an elaborate story that explores these ideas,  let me just say congratulations first of all, for having a mission and a message to share with the world.

Second of all, I want to be your ally in the fight for truth and justice. Whether you’re self-disciplined and can pump out 2000 words a day, or you struggle to write because you don’t know where to start or struggle with motivation, I am your ally. Whether we agree on the same values or not, I am your ally. Because as a fellow writer, even if we don’t agree on the same things, the number one thing stories have taught me is to consider alternate points of view.

Where there is disagreement, there is the opportunity for the deeper understanding of another. Stories have shown us time and time again what the consequences are to holding contrary opinions and refusing to understand the other.

All I’m saying here is that as a writing coach, I am in love with understanding others through their stories.

Now I may not be published and haven’t done any speaking events yet (they’re in the works), I will openly admit that those two facts make me feel like I may not have sufficient credibility to help anybody with their work. After escaping the conventional workforce and deciding to become a writing coach full time, I’ve become full of equal parts fear and excitement for the future.

But then I reflect on the past year I’ve spent finishing the 3rd draft of It Starts at Home. I may not have a fancy degree in teaching or writing, but what I do have is determination and openness to take in life and all it’s curve balls.

For months, I’ve struggled with my own sense of motivation and purpose, even doubted that I could ever finish this draft. Constantly thinking that maybe it’s too risky to take this whole writing business full time, I’ve come close to deciding to just go back to my day job where I’m safe and secure.

In the end, though, I was able to finish my 3rd draft and am now on the process of editing it as much as I can before sending it to a professional editor for an outsider’s opinion.  This whole time I’ve been fearing if I could ever be good a writing coach to anyone, and somehow I managed to coach the most stubborn and resistant person I know; myself.

What would make me a good coach to anyone is the fact that I’m just your everday average joe who has rose in the ranks of his own personal development. Where I once resisted the difficulty of writing, I’ve embraced the challenge whole heartedly and came out on top. Where I once saw it as a chore to finish what I started, I reminded myself of the higher purpose and reasoning as to why I write in the first place.

Fuck all that self doubt and self denial. This book is bigger than me and my petty feelings of inadequacy. If you’ve ever felt the same way I have, then I want to extend my hand and say you’re not alone.

As your writing coach, we can overcome writer’s block together and smash with the bulldozer of our convictions.

With no published book, no track record of speaking events, and especially no pieces of paper to certify me as some literary genius, all I have is my conviction. My conviction to understand my clients and inspire them to reach their full potential, to convince them how equally important their stories are to the ones that already exist in the world and the ones that are simultaneously being crafted on paper while theirs remind locked in their psyches.

It is, and would be, my honour and pleasure to join you on your journey to wholeness and self expression.

It’s Our Write to Live.