K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall

Dreamcatcher’s Award Noms and Return To A “Really Really” Fun Subunit Showcase Their TIME To Shine

Dreamcatcher poses for the camera for at the Untact Live Concert, 12/12/20. Twitter credit: hf_dreamcatcher

If there’s one thing that has dictated Dreamcatcher’s story arc up until 2020, it’s that they’ve been seen as one of underrated, unnoticed, or underexposed to the larger K-Pop community. In fact, Dreamcatcher being underdogs is perhaps even one of the traits that might have drawn fans to the group. Between a non-traditional concept, musical style that isn’t quite in the mainstream domestically, and having to re-debut, Dreamcatcher has arguably had to go uphill ever since they began as a group in 2017.

YouTube stats for Dreamcatcher’s YouTube channel, to August 2020. Source: Social Blade

In the last year or so, however, Dreamcatcher’s stock has begun to rise, and 2020 has been a banger of a year for them. An exponential rise in pretty much all the stats that matter, from YouTube to social media to, of course, album sales has experienced an increase, and in a year that is very different from any other, that’s still impressive.

Seoul Music Awards Logo from 2019.

This past week, it seems, Dreamcatcher is finally seeing some of the awards-type recognition (at least in the form of eligibility) that matches up to their rise in relative popularity and visibility over the past year. The main news came in the form of the Dreamcatcher official Twitter account pushing for voting in the Seoul Music Awards app, as Dreamcatcher met criteria to be nominated for several different awards.

Dreamcatcher fandom has mobilized to try to pick up at least one award for the group this year, with the best chance to do so in the Main, or Bonsang award, given to twelve artists based on a combination of sales, voting, and judges’ choice. For more on this, and how to vote, go check out Deukae Voting Team’s guide on Twitter as well as the video voting guide on the 7 Dreamers Support Twitter account.

Dreamcatcher makes the Top 16 for the Whosfandom Award. Twitter credit: Whosfan_hanteo

The other major award nomination of note under the same umbrella was the Whosfandom award, based in part on Hanteo sales for the year. With Dreamcatcher cresting 56,000+ sales on the chart, the group was finally able to get to compete, and as of today, had made it into the Top 16 for voting. There’s going to be some stiff competition to get further (getting the top 2 in the block means winning out against three boy group fandoms) but it’s definitely possible. Even if not, the mere fact that Dreamcatcher is even up here is an achievement in and of itself.

Dreamcatcher Special Clip “Oh My!” Cover by SuA, Siyeon, and Yoohyeon. YouTube credit: Dreamcatcher official

But it wasn’t like Dreamcatcher was resting on its award nomination laurels, either. Special clips tend to drop out of nowhere, and Dreamcatcher put down another with a cover from a Seventeen song, “Oh My”, featuring a subunit of Dreamcatcher that was haven’t seen together in a while in SuA, Siyeon, and Yoohyeon.

Dreamcatcher Special Clip “Really Really” Cover by SuA, Siyeon, and Yoohyeon. YouTube credit: Happyface Entertainment

The last time we saw these three together was way back in 2017, close to halfway through the year after re-debut as Dreamcatcher. With a growing, yet small discography, Dreamcatcher augmented content through a variety of covers, and “Really Really”, originally by WINNER, was one of the best ones out there — not just because of the obvious talent on display, but also the combination of casual filming and fun little bonus animations that added flavor to the cover. It remains one of my favorite Special Clips to this day, and has amassed just over seven million views, which isn’t too shabby.

Dreamcatcher Vlog — Behind The Scenes Video for “Oh My!”. YouTube credit: Dreamcatcher official

So when we not only got this trio back for another cover, they went all out. We got a semi-official subunit name from them — “Yaja Time”, translated to “casual talk” and perhaps a reference to the (mostly) reversal of roles for the members. Yoohyeon at the youngest being the leader, SuA as the maknae despite being the oldest and Siyeon…well Siyeon being the same either way called herself the “hamburger patty” of the group, sandwiched between Yoohyeon and SuA and doing double duty as a vocal and a rapper. They even came up with nicknames based on car names — TaFe for Yoohyeon (for Hyundai’s Santa Fe), Nibal for Siyeon (for Kia’s Carnival) and Bong for SuA (for Kia’s Bongo).

The result was a fun little video that was part throwback to the 90s (Yoohyeon with a VHS tape and Siyeon playing Street Fighter II being just two little tidbits) and part callback to “Really Really” bringing back a few of the little animation touches from 2017, all the fun coloring and bright mood from the girls, and most importantly, a showcasing of how their vocal range and sound have matured to fit the shuffled roles. You want to hear higher register SuA? Low-voiced Yoohyeon? Siyeon finally getting to play the rapper after a brief peek into it on a random vLive? This is the Special Clip for you, and it’s just as endearing and energetic as their last outing.

Illustration of some of the merchandise from Dreamcatcher’s limited-time Japanese 2nd Anniversary storefront. Twitter credit: jp_dreamcatcher

But it’s not like the group as a whole was sitting on their hands this past week, either. Aside from their Untact Concert appearance on the 12th, which featured performances of “Dystopia” favorites “Scream”, “BOCA”, and “Black and White”, along with a few fun little games for talking sections of their set, Dreamcatcher continued a bit of their Japanese promotions for their 2nd Anniversary with a limited storefront, meant to be up from 12/18/20–01/03/21. There’s definitely a nice little variety of items here — though the two unfortunate issues here are the lack of Handong (as these, like latest Japanese single “NO MORE”, were likely made prior to her return) and more importantly that the Japanese storefront doesn’t ship outside of Japan. If you’ve got a Japanese friend, their help will likely be the only way you may get your hands on this merchandise if you don’t live there.

TIME’s tweet of 10 songs/albums that defined K-Pop in 2020, with Dreamcatcher mentioned. Twitter credit: TIME

The crown jewel from this week in Dreamcatcher recognition, however, came in the form of none other than TIME magazine, one of the most well-known publications in the world, listing Dreamcatcher’s “Dystopia: The Tree Of Language” among 10 albums that “defined K-Pop’s monumental year in 2020”. Though TIME entertainment journalist Kat Moon has often displayed her knowledge and appreciation for various artists in K-Pop (check out her great interview with Girls’ Generation’s Jessica Jung for just one example), it was nice to see her and TIME list a Dreamcatcher album in the same pantheon of great 2020 K-Pop albums as BTS, Blackpink, IZ*ONE, and more.

Little steps like this, along with the awards news that I started off this recap with, are what establish and keep K-Pop artists relevant, and more important, stable financially. That’s a heck of a lot more important this year as groups including Dreamcatcher have had to move events and appearances online and scale back/eliminate revenue streams from shows and concert tours. It’s tough to say where the ceiling is for Dreamcatcher, but if 2020 is any indication, articles like TIME’s assure us that this rock/pop group is going to be here to stay.

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