K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall
Dreamcatcher Teases Fans With First Visual Signs Of May 2023 Comeback While Content Drip Continues
As always, the seven-member K-Pop group intrigues with various concepts and ideas for their upcoming finale to their “Apocalypse” storyline.
Intrigue and speculation accompanied Dreamcatcher’s start to the comeback trail two weeks ago with their now-traditional Mystery Code and Comeback Scheduler having dropped. The group has always been known for these kinds of reveals, delighting in fan theory and ideas about what possibilities could exist, both musically and digitally.
This past week, however, was entirely visual, as the next bit of preview for the comeback was revealed in the form of individual and group teaser images. There’s certainly been a lot of chatter about what we’ve seen from a concept level, especially after seeing a potential misdirection from the brightly-themed code, scheduler, and even pre-order albums. But as has always seemed to be the case with Dreamcatcher, the content continues to roll on, and this past week was no different. Let’s take a look at what the group had for us as we moved ever so closer to their next musical release!
One of the nice things we’re seeing in 2023 from Dreamcatcher is the fact that they’re landing more domestic gigs, some of which they haven’t participated in before. One of these is the annual G-KPop concert, which takes place practically in Dreamcatcher’s backyard in Gangnam. The group was part of a multitude of artists that performed at the 3-day event, with their appearance coming on the last day. The time given to the group was generous, allowing them to perform four songs and also participate in a fun little activity of making idol expressions with MC Choa, formerly of K-Pop group AOA. There’s always a chance that the group walks away with a few new fans, or at least people curious about them who hadn’t heard their sound before, so the opportunity to have extended time is always welcome.
Speaking of opportunities, SuA got a rather unique one this past week when she got to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game for the Kiwoom Heroes. This wasn’t the first time that a Dreamcatcher member participated in activities with the team — 2017 saw JiU and Yoohyeon do something similar for the team back when they were known as the Nexem Heroes. That said, SuA made the most of this opportunity, practicing diligently so much that she got a bit of muscle soreness doing it. The results, of course, spoke for themselves — as far as celebrity pitches go, it went pretty well, landing right in the catcher’s mitt to applause and cheers. While there are no guarantees about fan conversion with things like this, it’s still great to see Dreamcatcher’s profile go up even in small ways — and for an organization to remember that they’re worth having for an appearance.
Yoohyeon, with her relatively recent short haircut, checked in with fans over Weverse this past week. The late-night live stream had just about everything from random singing requests to brutal spoiler rejections (a simple “no” for a fan request to sing likely title track “BON VOYAGE” was both funny and direct) to other, lurking Dreamcatcher members such as Dami in the Weverse chat, to messing around with camera angles. The group is clearly in the throes of some long hours heading in for comeback preparations, so it was nice to have Yoohyeon drop in close to midnight to have a little fun talking.
That comeback prep I mentioned is starting to take shape in the form of upcoming variety appearances, as Dreamcatcher dropped in to do a Surprise Live for a confirmed appearance on long-time variety show Weekly Idol for May 24th. The show is armed with two new MCs (ex-Lovelyz member Mijoo and BtoB’s Eunkwang) which means there’s a slate of new interactions waiting for the group for their 6th appearance in a row. Though brief, we got to see Dreamcatcher play a tournament-style Balance Game to guess what fans voted for (with Siyeon and Handong coming out victorious) along with the sung “BON VOYAGE” spoiler lyric. Fans speculated that SuA may have let slip just a bit more than intended with a small choreography motion and a “fallen angel” concept mention, but whether or not this is another misdirection or will pan out remains to be seen. Either way, I’m personally looking forward to a new kind of Weekly Idol with Dreamcatcher playing their part to make it another memorable appearance.
With the comeback upcoming, the current content pace appears to be increasing, as past items make way for the veritable storm of videos to come from promotions. As such, we saw not only one but two Dreamcatcher’s Notes drops for the 2023 US tour and the conclusion of JiU’s Haidilao Hotpot vlog with Handong and Dami. Tour vlogs have always been fun for me to consume in part due to A)talk about off-day activities and B)whatever funny happenings occur as the group is preparing or winding down from a show. I got both my wishes in those Notes with Siyeon and Gahyeon talking about their Six Flags experiences (calling themselves Team Fearless for taking a bunch of the wilder rides while saying the others were Team Chicken) and Gahyeon spending a longer-than-normal time half-trolling about not remembering her fellow Dreamcatcher members’ birthdays. We’ve got only one more part to go here, and the wrap-up will certainly have some nice closing thoughts about the group’s latest international multi-city trip.
As for JiU’s burgeoning foodie vlog, Hotpot part 2, featuring a nice noodle performance by one of the staffers and JiU, Dami, and Handong working through shared experiences like consuming cooked pig’s brain and some rather strong alcohol was as entertaining as it sounds. Hotpot is meant to be a shared experience, as I think I’ve mentioned before, and having different perspectives made everything a lot better. JiU being the glue holding the newbie (Dami) and expert (Handong) opinions together worked really well. Overall it seemed that everyone got to experience something new and refreshing with the hotpot outing. We’ll have to see what JiU comes up with next, but she really seems to be having a great time filming what she likely does anyway during her free days from a food perspective. I have a feeling, however, that it might be some time before we see another episode, given how busy the group is sure to be in the near future.
That future came ever so closer with this week’s main attraction, which were the individual and group teasers for upcoming album “Apocalypse: From Us”. Dreamcatcher started with a pretty bold and stark statement with their first set of teasers. Immediately dispelling the idea that this might be a majorly bright concept, the first set of images depicted what appeared to be a blasted-out bathroom or cell, with each of the members depicting frazzled and worn-out hair, sunken eyes, and deeply disturbed expressions. Of all of them, Dami’s stone-cold stare into the camera probably stuck with me the most, which is pretty interesting given the fact that she didn’t even show her entire face. Fans that were wondering or even concerned that this would be a concept shift to happiness were reminded that at its core, Dreamcatcher has always favored the darker concepts, and to me, a sense of hopelessness, loss, and haggardness, tinged with perhaps the tiniest bit of a loss of sanity seemed to come from these pictures. It provided a striking statement to start out with.
If the first set of images seemed to lurch people back into the dark core of Dreamcatcher concepts, the second seemed to pull them just a bit back into brighter territory. The sun and nature seemed to be used purposefully to highlight Dreamcatcher outdoors, clad in matching denim and seeming to enjoy the forest and sky. It’s worth reminding people that teaser photos have typically included brighter sets of images concept-wise, from Summer Holiday to Dystopia: Lose Myself and even all the way back to 2017’s Prequel. It’s not the first time Dreamcatcher have thus taken pictures in an outdoors, nature-ish setting, but the different style and mood made things unique to this album.
Individual teasers were wrapped up with a set of urban-fashion-inspired night shots, a bit of an in-between for the first set of images, but trending towards a bit more of a serious or dark concept. It’s easy to call this generically “girl crush” at first glance, but I just don’t think that quite fits. Certainly, there’s a bit of that badass look from that concept, but the seriousness with which the expressions are given as well as our knowledge of the Apocalypse storyline just give me more of a sense of gritty realism to the shots. After a comeback where we saw the group clad in elegant, high-end dresses or put together for business/politics speeches, seeing this last set of individual teasers take place in what looks to be more of a rougher setting makes this quite different — and perhaps not as bright or hopeful.
The group teasers, one of which was brand new from a fashion perspective (looking to me of a more 1970’s style classic look) and the other that continued the gritty urban setting of the last set of individual teasers, seemed to me to show that this was still at its core to be a dark and serious setting. You don’t take photos at night in front of what looks to be an abandoned apartment building, or on the stairs leading to a road under an underpass if you’re seeking to be bright, cute, or hopeful from a concept perspective.
To me, it should serve as a reminder that the storyline started with a planet that was ravaged by environmental hazards and neglect and continued with a call to arms to follow in a battle to save it. Were they successful in doing so, or were they forced into an underground guerilla war or even captured in the end? It’s really hard to tell how they’ll cap things off, and while I have wild theories of my own (such as the potential that Dreamcatcher imagined or hallucinated their fantastic superpowers and supposed goddess roles of the first two videos and was, in reality, long-imprisoned for rebelling against the ruling order), it’s been fun to read others’ theories. Rarely do many of these pan out, but that’s part of the fun of preparing for a Dreamcatcher comeback.
This coming week will most certainly be more audio and music based as the track list, “mystery” lyrics spoiler, and highlight medley make their way to Dreamcatcher fans, and I’m looking forward to talking about it and updating everyone on this and all the other news coming from the group as they head towards their late May release. Be sure to subscribe or pop back here for all of that, and more, at this same time next week. See you then!