K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall
Dreamcatcher’s Odd Eye Comeback Kicks Into Gear With New Achievements
Dreamcatcher’s return to promotions in January 2021 with “Dystopia: Road to Utopia” begins in record-smashing style.
Obviously, there’s one bit of news to talk about for this past week, and that is the fact that Dreamcatcher has come back yet again to promote their 6th Mini Album, “Dystopia: Road to Utopia” — the last in the Dystopia trilogy series and perhaps their most ambitious album yet from a genre standpoint. Comebacks are filled with tons of content pretty much every day of the week, which means I’ll have no shortage of things to summarize. So without further ado, let’s get to comeback week one!
Odd Eye — First off, let’s talk about the album, starting with title track “Odd Eye”. The music video drop for “Odd Eye” on the 26th on album release was nothing short of powerful on a variety of levels. We were treated to a ton of visuals, enhanced by a boatload of CGI and a lot of other striking, futuristic effects, as Dreamcatcher was shown in situations where the apparent deception of seeking merely a Utopia they could see was shown to be the wrong path. While I have yet to construct a more detailed breakdown of this last chapter in the Dystopia trilogy, and how it contributes to the overall societal commentary against hatred Dreamcatcher has been singing about, I was struck by the fact that just like in the last part of the “Nightmare” storyline with “PIRI”, we got a very open-ended, but perhaps not quite happy, ending. Dreamcatcher never finds the Utopia they were on the road to reaching, but there’s definitely more to that, especially as it relates to all the references to being “odd-eyed”, and I hope you all will look forward to that breakdown when it happens.
As for the music? Admittedly even though I liked bands like Linkin’ Park back in the day I was very curious about how a metal/rock track set to a hip hop rhythm would sound. The answer was an appealing blend of ethereal instrumentation followed by hard-charging hip hop beats, coupled with deliberate rock and metal sound, and like most of the genre mashups producers LEEZ and Ollounder have played with, it works here. Each member, especially the returning Handong, is given ample ability to show off their vocal strengths and power, and new changes such as swapping younger members Dami, Handong, and Gahyeon into the bridge, make for a fresh song experience even for older fans such as myself. It has been a very long time, but after quite a few listens, I think “Odd Eye” may have finally toppled my former #1 Dreamcatcher song “You and I” out of the top spot. It’s that cool, folks.
And what about the B-sides? Regular readers of mine probably saw my first impressions from last week’s highlight medley, so what changed? Quite a bit, actually, depending on the track:
Wind Blows — The biggest surprise of the album for me. Sure, the song starts out with its cyberpunk rock vibe from the medley, but a little bit in blends straight into a high energy, Dreamcatcher pure rock sequence reminiscent of previous tracks like “Tension” or “Scar”. It’s the kind of stuff that had fans predicting Dreamcatcher would be tapped for anime OPs and EDs one of these days, and it works so well enhancing the track’s flow.
“Wind Blows” spends its time with a roller coaster of a balancing act between its cyberpunk and rock/pop moods and does so elegantly — not to mention it tosses in a pretty sick dance break that you have to see from their performance of “Wind Blows” at the MyMusicTaste showcase if you haven’t already. This kind of hybridized, agile genre movement is what defines many of Dreamcatcher’s “Dystopia” tracks and right now this is pretty much my pick for B-side of the track.
Poison Love — All the compliments I heap on “Wind Blows” aside, “Poison Love” is right behind it as far as favorites on this mini-album. Starting with the unexpected treat of a track that “Silent Night” was from “Raid of Dream”, the obvious title track in “Scream”, and up til now with “Poison Love”, Dreamcatcher has proven it can do EDM, and do it well. This is dark EDM to me, and as I said in the medley preview, I am a real sucker for that kind of catchy beat to accompany my workday.
What does it for me here, however, are two things. First, the fact that thematically the song itself is about “love and becoming obsessed with it”, (according to SuA from the MyMusicTaste showcase interviews) makes the dark rhythmic undertones even more powerful. We’ve probably all been in a toxic friendship or relationship or witnessed one, that had a basis in love being poisonous, so the lyrics just hit differently in that sense. The second is how the members are utilized to their strengths, especially Handong with her lower register followed by Yoohyeon’s versatile expression. When they combine to sing to the unseen object of their love wondering about why they make them cry, break them down, and why they aren’t theirs, it just adds to the color of the song and the expression of feeling being conveyed.
4 Memory — When I put forth that “New Days”, next on the list to be discussed, was reminiscent of a fan song, I hadn’t realized JiU’s latest song composing and writing effort was also going to fit the bill. “4 Memory”, JiU’s continuance of a love letter to Dreamcatcher fans all over the world that started with last album’s ballad “Dear”, is from its title a play on words highlighting Dreamcatcher’s 4th anniversary and all the memories that have gone with it.
Dreamcatcher’s constant thankfulness for their fortune in having such a supportive bunch of fans is on full display here, and JiU leads the way penning a song that compares the repetition of the four seasons to the four years with fans that they’ve spent. As they sing about their journey together with Insomnia through some touching seasonal imagery (a warm spring, midsummer night, autumn bonfire, and hands held through winter), you can really tell that they’ve treasured a lot of what they’ve been able to experience as entertainers and artists over the years. There’s no ballad on this album, but in lieu of that, “4 Memory”’s saccharine future pop beats serve as a welcome substitute.
New Days — If “4 Memory” is the sweet ideal that reminds fans of all the good times that Dreamcatcher has spent together with their fans, then “New Days” is the practical reassurance that those memories last even through the darkest of adversities. This is no surprise, considering the message comes in part composed from the writing mind of main rapper Dami, who continues to flex production chops in working with this last vocal track on the album. Dami has always been a solid rock in the face of what is sometimes a very chaotic Dreamcatcher, and her mostly cool and calm attitude can be seen in her general approach to difficulty during a Dreamcatcher and Me segment in which her response to problems is simply “that’s life”.
Dami expounds on that very simple statement in this song, with the singer playing a role of being a light in the darkness, a hand that grasps you when it seems all is lost, and a voice that reaches you when you feel like you’re going to faint. Strength through adversity is a little difficult at times to express without being hamfisted, but Dami and the rest of the production team accomplish just that through a rock-heavy, high energy tune that provides, essentially, a simple statement — “We’re here for each other, no matter what happens, and even when not, there’s always a new day, a new beginning”. Not a bad note to leave on.
Odd Eye (Inst.) — Instrumentals have always served to highlight the depth of a title track that Dreamcatcher has released, and this one for “Odd Eye” is no different. Some of the things I discovered on a full listen without vocals for the title track include:
- The haunting bass line that you hear in the pre-chorus and verse that provide depth and weight to the vocals being sung
- The guitars blended with the electronic sound that back up the hybridized metal/pop that has typified many of Dreamcatcher’s recent work
- The deliberate, inevitable hip hop rhythm that sets the pace of the song — always present, always providing the basis of what’s layered on top of it.
A good way to appreciate the title track is to hear its individual parts, and that’s certainly the case here — and it just so happens to be a bonus that this one can be listened to on its own as well, a musical track respectable in its own right even without Dreamcatcher’s iconic vocals behind it.
So how did “Dystopia: Road to Utopia” do in its first week of sales? Well, the numbers don’t lie:
In only one week, Dreamcatcher’s new album exceeded total Hanteo sales for their last album, “Dystopia: Lose Myself” by about 6000 copies. That means that it only took a week to get past a sales mark that took five months to get to. No matter how sales ultimately turn out, that is an amazing way to start a new comeback in 2021 for Dreamcatcher. Let’s hope that we get more good news over the coming weeks as promotions continue.
But that wasn’t all that Dreamcatcher was doing this week to promote their new album. In conjunction with frequent partner MyMusicTaste, Dreamcatcher put on a Comeback Showcase that lasted just over 90 minutes, and while we’ve seen showcases before from Dreamcatcher as a standard part of promotions, this event, which was originally paid but made free, seemed to have a lot more to offer. We had a live English translator, a bilingual host in comedian Kim Sungwon, who had a great deal of chemistry with the group, behind the scenes video, and three song performances (“Wind Blows”, “4 Memory”, and of course, “Odd Eye”) along with a bunch of interview time. This was a great way to kick off the album’s release and got fans a ton of content — and as a bonus, the host got to tell the girls real-time how the album was doing on charts — at the time #1 on the Bugs streaming platform, and at one point occupying all top 5 spots on the chart. Considering the group has never hit the top spot on one of Korea’s major music rankings, this was a great moment to report to them just for the thankful reaction it got.
Even with all that content, that wasn’t even the only event that Dreamcatcher did. In conjunction with a popular French YouTube channel based in South Korea, a French K-pop event planner, and a new webtoon platform, Dreamcatcher put on a free nearly hour-long concert for fans around the world. We got a tour back through the best of “Dystopia”, including “Scream”, “BOCA”, “Red Sun”, “Black and White”, and “Odd Eye”, and of course another set of fun interviews with a French translator. Comeback promotions are insanely busy, so the fact that Dreamcatcher took the time for not one but two extended appearances is a testament to how hard-working they are for their fans.
And of course, Dreamcatcher kicked off their circuit through music shows, beginning with M! Countdown on 01/28/21 and ending week one on SBS Inkigayo on 01/31/21. While most fans had seen the choreography by the time Dreamcatcher went to shows, seeing the different styling and choreography variations performed for “Odd Eye” was a delight to see. Whether or not Dreamcatcher will pick up wins on music shows this time around remains to be seen, but either way, they’ve started their comeback week with a bang.
Aside from this, here are some other miscellaneous tidbits from Dreamcatcher’s extremely busy comeback kickoff:
- Two unboxing videos for all the available versions of Dreamcatcher’s newest album — D and K version and A and R version. Aside from seeing what’s in these albums, we got a fair amount of chaos as well, especially from sub-unit Yaja Time (Yoohyeon/Siyeon/SuA).
- Plenty of initial variety appearances, from NADOL’s Idol Family with Siyeon and Yoohyeon, a look in Yoohyeon’s makeup pouch via COLLATALK, and Esquire Korea having Dreamcatcher back on to perform “Odd Eye” in style.
- Yet another fun relay dance from Dreamcatcher for “Odd Eye” — be sure to check out all the improvisation on the existing choreography!
- Previews for Dreamcatcher’s upcoming solo appearance for Weekly Idol.
There’s going to be a ton more content as we kick into gear for Dreamcatcher’s “Odd Eye” comeback, and I’ll be here to recap it all for you. See you next week!