Music Review: Dreamcatcher – YOU AND I

dc eteWhile we’re just a couple days away from Dreamcatcher’s comeback with Alone in the City, I figured I should finally review the final chapter of the Nightmare Era with a breakdown on the song YOU AND I and its music video.

I wrote my Dreamcatcher Trilogy Review last year during the Fly High era and somehow in the past couple months, that full page where I review all of their first three music videos has been a getting a ton of hits. I don’t know how and a part of me is curious to know if someone’s been it around or if people just so happen to find my review through Google searches.

Whatever the case may be, I am eternally grateful for your readership, and as always remember to leave a comment and a like to let me know what you think of my take on the music and their music videos. Now without further adieu…


YOU AND I 

The Song: Quite the soft start for Dreamcatcher with the piano riff and straight into singing where we’ve gotten used to their explosive distorted guitar driven intros. But despite the soft start, we are still treated by the spooky sound Dreamcatcher is known for. It sounds like any other K-Pop with synethic ambience probably just to draw attention to newcomers, but still fits well within the context of Dreamcatcher’s overall feel.

For my first few listens I didn’t like that doorbell sound and thought it would only be included for the music video. However, I realized that its tone was actually in key with the piano and even serves to compliment as a strange and unique way to harmonize with the piano riff. It almost sounds part of it, but it sticks out enough to catch your attention. To this day I’m still ambivalent on whether or not I like it being there.

Anyways, we’re treated to the proper lead vocals from Jiu as we have come to expect in Dreamcatcher songs, and as always she slays. She does some vocal trades with Gahyeon who I didn’t realize actually had a lot more lines on this comeback, and rightfully so, she can pull off the edgy spooky thing that Dreamcatcher vocals require.

What I liked about this comeback was how it fulfilled my thirst for the distorted guitars. It’s what I look forward to with DC because no other K-Pop group, at least that I know of, employs aggressive electric guitar in their songs as the main instrument to back the vocals.

The build up to the chorus is awesome with that chaotic electric guitar slowly taking over the spooky string synths that provide a bit of atmosphere for us. And then bam! The bass kicks in and it’s groovy as hell. The full band is in swing with hard pounding drums, rockin guitars, and of course some more synths that ground the instrumentation to remind you this ain’t just straight up rock. There’s a horror element that you gotta pay homage to in regards to Dreamcatcher.

And do I really have to mention Siyeon and Yoohyeon’s power vocals being the most fitting trade for the catchy ass chorus? They are the ones powerful enough to contend with the heavy instrumentation before it starts to simmer down with more sparse vocal lines to give the more active guitar riff some space to shine.

Now we get to the second verse, and if you know me by now, you know I’m really picky about them. I really want them to unique from the first verse or it gets boring for me. You can use the same instrumentation or even the same vocal melodies, but change it up in some significant and noticable way so the song continues to progress.

My verdict? Well damn…now I see why her name is Dami. Makes me wanna say “damn!” a lot because I remember her singing voice being pretty good in their Minx ballad “I Just Like You,” and it made me wish they would employ her singing into Dreamcatcher more instead of sticking her to only rapping, sometimes only for very short bursts per song.

Well I got my wish! Dami’s deeper singing tone sets a nice contrast to the high pitches of Jiu, Yoohyeon, and Siyeon, and if that wasn’t enough for Dami biasers, she also gets to do what she does best to end her extended section off with a bit of rapping, along with those harmonized vocals continuing in the background. If that’s her harmonizing to herself, then damn, HappyFace finally realized how much she’s actually capable of because her higher end voice is pretty sweet too.

Anyways, enough Dami fanboying, she’s not even my bias…or wasn’t before, but now…?

Ok, let’s settle down, folks.

You calm down!

You know where I thought that HappyFace underestimated Dami being only suited for rapping, I felt the same way about Sua, but to my surprise her vocals are pretty powerful too as she delivers the first half of the second chorus. I am so sorry to her and Sua biasers. It’s not like I looked down upon her or anything, I always thought she and Dami were simply the dance and rap line this whole time, and you know I probably look stupid for not noticing Sua’s vocals in their other releases that I should probably revisit after this review.

Anyways we get treated to a different post-chorus as we approach the simmered down bridge. That palmed muted guitar riff is pretty awesome and the late introduction for the lead guitar to kind of shadow the vocal line is a nice touch before the full band slides out again to make room for softer vocals and atmospheric synths.

The final chorus could have easily bursted into a copy and paste of the first two, but what I really really appreciate about is how instead of doing that, it’s an appregiated piano version of the chorus instrumentation. Or at least that’s what it sounds like to me. Someone with a better ear and understanding of music theory is free to tell me if the piano riff is indeed using the same chords as the distorted guitars do.

But yeah it’s perfect to re-introduce the chorus this way so that Jiu gets one more chane to shine since she is the lead vocalist and the leader of the group, she deserves that spotlight. Plus her vocal timbre is much more suited for soft parts anyway and I don’t think she can pull off the power Siyeon and Yoohyeon are capable of.

That’s not to say she’s a bad singer, she’s an excellent singer, as they all are, and is much more fitted for this kind of section. I feel like her softer voice would have been buried by the heavy instrumentation if the composer would’ve gone the route of copying and pasting the original chorus for the outro.

And speaking of the official outro and the way the song ends, I always feel this way with Dreamcatcher songs, but basically I think it could have been a bit longer. That palm muted riff that leads to the very end to me still sounds like it ends the song too abruptly.

They could have went maybe four or eight more bars without vocals and extend the guitar solo. Though I would understand if the composer was being considerate for the girls since they already do some exhaustingly powerful moves throughout the choreography. Not to mention how Dreamcatcher is one of the few groups who actually do sing live all despite their tricky looking choreography and manage to sound stable for the most part.

Others would argue that the song ends when it needs to and it’s best that it doesn’t over stay its welcome, and I can agree with that too. I would personally prefer a bit more instrumental sections in K-Pop songs in general and for a group like Dreamcatcher tackling my original love for rock, it would be a welcome addition. It’s a tiny gripe, but it doesn’t sour my overall experience in any way. The only time it does is Fly High’s bridge that a lot of people feel like switches up too abruptly.

Nonetheless, good job on Dreamcatcher’s part for nailing the vocals and choreography, and as always HappyFace for hiring LEEZ and Oullander to compose this track. They never disappoint and continue to rock in the other album tracks of Escape the Era, which if you haven’t gotten it yet, I would strongly advise doing so.


The Music Video: Right away you have to notice the huge leap in production value for this music video compared to their previous titles. HappyFace has gotten increasingly more ambitious with Dreamcatcher music videos and I think that is indicative of probably how much the group is raking in for the company because they do have a lot of international fans the love and adore them. So I’m pretty sure those album sales, especially the unique and beautiful aesthetics of the photobooks and posters are definitely sure to please fans enough to buy these works of art en masse.

But anyways!

Let’s actually take a deeper look at the music video and how it relates to the rest of the Dreamcatcher lore.

Now I do have to admit that I’m the best theorist for either of the groups I stan (maybe I’ll start reviewing Loona someday!) so take what I say at face value and feel free to educate me on what you think and/or what has been confirmed when it comes to the overall storyline of Dreamcatcher.

So YOU AND I finds the girls in two distinct settings. One is the dark gothy house and the other is the bright and spacy Heaven like world with the giant portal swirling about with its ethereal energy. Yoohyeon is running toward the portal and we get a cut straight to Jiu and the girls in pretty hot gothy attire to match the decor of a gothy reneissance looking kind of house.

Now right away you will notice a whole lot of webs in both worlds; the house and the Heavenly like place. That is to remind us that it was revealed in Fly High that Yoohyeon killed a cursed spider that in turn cursed the girls to become nightmares, or so the theory goes.

Here and there we cuts of Siyeon developing pictures in a photgraphy room and using some kind of magic to burn a few images. I’m not quite sure what any of this is supposed to mean so I’ll cut straight to the whole ritualistic scene where we’ve got Yoohyeon laying on a stone pentagram and the girls surrounding her in the Heaven scene, and sitting in a chair with a ghost escaping her in the house scene.

To me this implies she’s the main character and the main cause of their curse, and the girls are now attempting to purge the demon out of her in the belief that they can free her and themselves for their curse.

And quick mention as it was the talk of the town, but Dami’s moves with the staff in the choreo is so badass. I kind of wish the music video emulated their live performances where the stick extends out of nowhere almost like magic instead of just being already out in the open. But either way, she twirls that mofo pretty bad assedly, and with the addition of the use of scarves by the other girls I think adds a nice new dynamic to the choreo. Makes me kind of wish that more groups used more props for the choreography. So props to the choreographer for coming up with these two cool additions to it.

Anyways we move on to a shot of Yoohyeon about to take a photo for a woman. I hesitate to say old because she looks middle aged but still youthful anyway. Asian genes, am I right? The ajumma looks up creepily at Yoohyeon as she takes the picture, and the flash reveals a spider shadow being cast on the wall and backdrop behind Yoohyeon. Oh and she passes out either from shock or an attack that happens off camera.

We finally see Yoohyeon running toward the portal in that Heavenscape and the portal closes on her as she just mere steps away from it. Jiu has also been running around being chased by an apparition throughout the music video if I failed to mention that earlier. Might be that the curse is trying to find a new human host for its evil bidding in Jiu?

The music video ends with Yoohyeon kneeling before the closed portal and the choreo shows Yoohyeon with her head flipped back and her eyes closed while Jiu has her hand on her throat. I think this is implying that Jiu is responsible for killing Yoohyeon in order to free Yoohyeon, herself, and the rest of the girls from the curse, but something went wrong during the exorcism.

At least that’s how I interpret it.

We saw in Fly High that Jiu wanted to capture spider, and for whatever reason, Yoohyeon took out some sadistic insecticide on it, and the spider’s spirit ended up killing Yoohyeon and her classmates turning them into nightmares. And there’s always been this duality in Dreamcatcher that I find interesting. The rock songs and music video imply that they are ghosts that haunt people in their sleep much like what they did to that ghost hunter in Chase Me and in Good Night.

But then their ballads imply that they’re not always evil and actually act like Dreamcatchers to protect people from nightmares. Whether or not they are the same beings, it’s all up for interpretation. Maybe we’re dealing with the same 7 girls throughout the entire lore of Dreamcatcher, or they have several groups of dopplegangers that serve different functions for people’s dreams.

Maybe there’s one group of Dreamcatchers committed to creating havoc in people’s dreams, and another group of Dreamcatchers that happen to share the resemblance that like to protect people in their dreams by giving them good ones. Or maybe they are the exact same group either haunting the evil and giving good dreams to good people, or their nature is completely arbitrary and they do as they please.

I don’t know. I haven’t entertained Dreamcatcher theories in a long time so I am kind of rusty on my knowledge of it.

If you have other ideas or know of good theory videos that explains that stuff significantly better than whatever I attempted just now, please feel free to share in the comments below!



Alone in the City

Dreamcatcher’s comeback is a couple days away! September 20, 2018 will mark a new era in the Dreamcatcher lore with a fresh new aesthetic and fresh new sounding music. From what I heard from a short album preview they have decided to go on a more electronic sounding route as opposed to sticking with heavy guitars. They’re still there, but not as prominent as they have been, and so far only appear to show up in their upcoming title track What.

Now this can go in either direction: this new sound they’re going for might alienate fans who strictly like them for their rock sound and/or attract new fans who are much more used to the poppier more EDM based kind of K-Pop.

Whichever the case is, I bid Dreamcatcher a whole lot of damn good luck in attracting new fans and pleasing veteran fans alike with their comeback which I will review for next week’s Tuney Tuesday.

Thank you very much! See you then!

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Music Review: Dreamcatcher – Fly High

img source: https://www.soompi.com/2017/07/28/watch-dreamcatcher-showcases-vocals-new-live-fly-high/

Alright we are now at the final stretch of this music video review series! Thank you for taking this journey on with me as I still cannot contain my excitement for this group that marries my two favourite music genres packed into one powerful group.

Today we take a look at the Prequel to the Dreamcatcher lore, before they were became nightmares with their latest release Fly High.

The Music:
The song starts off with a brief piano intro and once the full band kicks in there’s a noticable drop in the heaviness we’ve grown accustomed to, yet some heaviness is sprinkled in for brief moments throughout the song. It works for and against the group for a few reasons.

It took me a moment to accept this brighter side of Dreamcatcher, but the YouTube channel manager did remind us in the comments that this is indeed a prequel to their other two music videos. Keeping that in mind it makes sense that it does have this bright, happy sound, though despite the distorted guitar being a little less bassy and crunchy than before, it’s still there and brings the heaviness here and there throughout the song.

At first I felt like the pre-chorus with the chugging riff was too short, that it could have gone another couple bars. With Dami rapping “it’s like a big black hole in my heart, I’m trapped in the dream,” and Sua bringing back the melodic vocals, the vocal trade it initially made it sound like an abrupt transition. But then I listened to the instrumental version of the song and it made sense to have that transition happen between the palm muted power chords to the regularly strummed ones.

On top of that, the benefit of listening to the instrumental version made me notice the second verse features a more groovy bassline than the first one. It’s not just sustained root notes of the palm muted power chords, but a groovy and melodic bassline! So that harmonized rap part that Gahyeon does is extra special to me now, because not only have I not heard many harmonized rap sections from other songs, but it’s also backed by a sweet instrumental modification that I appreciate.

Then we get to the bridge that makes me feel ambivalent. The heavy breakdown part is amazing and so is the clean vocalized part, but the transition between the two feels rushed. The thing with all their songs in general, I still feel like they can benefit from an extra 10-20 second instrumental break where the rock riffs can shine, along with the complex choreo that the girls do.

Even from listening to the instrumental version, the bridge transition feels abrupt. It’d be better if the palm muted riff was repeated with regular strums while the lead guitar did a more melodic solo. Some nasty licks are happening at that part and I was disappointed that it didn’t go anywhere else before the girls start singing again.

With that said, the rest of the song is still pretty epic. The vocalized bridge does rise gradually enough to help deliver the epicness of the final chorus. It’s complete with Siyeon doing some high pitched harmonizing, while the chorus has been modified to include instrumental break beats that emphasize percussive parts of the main vocals.

The outro leaves us with a gentle departure and Dami now saying she’s trapped in a nightmare, instead of a dream. There’s a cool visual for that part in the choreography, but I’ll let you see it for yourself in the dance version below.

The Video:
Well damn, where do I begin? Even if this music video is shot in brighter lighting and more vibrant colours, it still carries the weight of impending doom with it. Aptly so seeing as we finally get to see more about Dreamcatcher’s lives before they met their untimely fate.

It looks like it could have been a deliberate thing seeing as it starts off with Jiu capturing a spider, and Yoohyeon later in the video burning it to death. It has been confirme by the group that the spider was cursed and killing it put them in danger. But that’s quite curious seeing as there’s some strange happenings even before that sequence like Gahyeon being held down in bed by a bunch creepy hands. It’s reminscent of the forest scene from Good Night except it’s not happening out doors, and extra tatoo’d hand comes out to shut her eyes.

So I don’t know, man? Maybe the house was already haunted no matter what and killing that spider was just another way to curse it even further. Also curious is when Siyeon and Sua standing by the forest entrance, and at first they’re in their pyjamas, but later emerge with the hooded cloaks similar to the ones from Good Night.

I’m still racking my brain wondering if they have body doubles that kill them, or if they become those hooded figures themseles. It’s confusing considering  that at the end of the music video, it appears there’s already an old timey photograph of the girls. I guess we’re not supposed to know if it’s them, or just look alikes that have lived in the same house before them.

My theory is that the boarding school is cursed to operate in a strange time loop that involves spiritual dopplegangers that haunt their living duplicates. The dopplegangers either kill or posess the bodies of their victims to continue their bidding, and are in need of physical bodies to inhabit to do so. Otherwise they are just formless ghosts that roam the house.

That’s what I originally thought when Jiu catches another version of herself playing piano in a room before she starts running down the hallway and out of the house. Coupled with the confirmation of the cursed spider playing a big part in it, and not being just a random act of sadism on Yoohyeon’s part, it kind of confused me more than clarified things.

Either way, it’s fun to speculate what’s happening in a medium that presents all this imagery at such a fast pace so it definitely requires multiple viewings to fully understand. And why not? Fly High is an awesome song with an equally awesome music video. So awesome that it left out a lot of the choreography shots as always, so below is the pure dance version.

Hope you enjoyed my reviews! Let me know what your theories are on the narrative, or if you have some more canon info confirmed by Dreamcatcher themselves, I’d totally appreciate it.

Make sure to check out my reviews on Chase Me and Good Night, and if you like these songs, please support the group by purchasing their EP’s and mini-album at:

  1. iTunes
  2. Kpop Mart
  3. Yes Asia

P.S. Physical copies come with beautifull crafted photobooks, a randomized trading card, a poster and of course the CD itself. Either way you go, show your support and get these hard working girls up on the charts so we can more rockin K-Pop tunes from them!

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.