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!
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…