K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall
With Mystery Code, Scheduler, And More, Dreamcatcher Starts The Road To Comeback In Early Summer 2023
May brought with it the official start of Dreamcatcher’s build towards their next album release, and with it the excitement that's been building for months.
This past week was, to say the least, an eventful one, as Dreamcatcher finally set boots to the ground on the path towards their 8th mini album and first comeback of 2023. Ever since the announcement that the group would be promoting in May with new music, fans have been patiently awaiting the signs that they would be able to begin the pre-comeback hype that would carry them to its release. I know that for myself, I’ve watched some of the other groups and soloists set to be back in May with a small degree of envy as well as excitement for them, as being able to see the teasers, videos, and images is part of being into your favorite K-Pop group.
The wait finally ended this past week, and as if that wasn’t enough, Dreamcatcher’s 2nd official fanclub fanmeeting gave InSomnia a chance to see the group publicly with a bunch of fun performances and activities before they dove back behind the scenes to prepare a bit more. So without further exposition from me, let’s get into all the pre-comeback Dreamcatcher news (and more) from the past week!
After a bit of a drought in regular livestreams for a bit, likely due to Dreamcatcher’s schedule, fans were treated to a duo of voice-only lives this past week on Weverse. SuA was her energetic self as she talked about some of the best steak, teased that she might have a hair color that was going to be pretty bright for this comeback, and more. Dami was quite chill (even with a cup of coffee) as she talked about BOCA’s 70 million view milestone, talked about finishing up practice for the day, and then politely but directly deflected any questions about spoilers. While the group has certainly been busy with comeback preparations as well as their concert obligations this month, it was nice to have a couple of them take the time to chat.
The content from the group’s early 2023 US tour continued to roll onward, as we got part 4 of Dreamcatcher’s Notes and part 2 of Siyeon’s tour vlog. Both videos take place during the Chicago portion of the tour, as the group returned to the Radius Chicago to perform for fans and Siyeon continued her romp around downtown with the group — although in the latter case, Siyeon definitely got a bit tired trying to trek through the four floors of Chicago’s Art Institute. As someone who’s been through that kind of a walk, I can totally understand — the museums in Chicago are huge, and they can get to be quite the workout. Frankly, I’m always glad to see these kinds of city-centric Notes and vlogs, as they tend to focus a bit on the local scene as well as capture fun Dreamcatcher moments (like Handong ordering a chocolate lava cake despite her mild allergy to chocolate and struggling not to sneeze on camera). It provides a nice duality to the content that keeps it from being a bit same-y.
The last bit of prior content out there marched toward final release this past week, as JiU and Yoohyeon’s work with CeCi Korea for their photoshoot in Thailand earlier in the year began to be sent to fans who’d pre-ordered. In addition to what will likely be a set of great images (if the previews above are any indication), there’s an apparent text interview with the duo about their time as Dreamcatcher, their thoughts and challenges, and their aspirations. With these two things in mind, I think fans are out to get something really special in their hands real soon, which hopefully will open the door to other Dreamcatcher members doing similar things in the future.
What definitely was not the same at all, however, was all the content relating to the upcoming comeback, starting with the now-customary Mystery Code. I personally wasn’t expecting this to come up early last Monday KST, but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. Like always, there were cryptic elements in this, not the least of which was the rather bright-looking mood of it. Dreamcatcher enjoying a nice journey or vacation with nice pictures and scenes? That seemed off to some fans, but the sinister nature of the rather bleak-looking picture in the lower right with the X through it raises some questions. There’s also the fact that some fans might be forgetting about the misleading nature of 2021’s Summer Holiday, which started out quite brightly-colored with a carousel and ocean blue imagery, only to take a turn into the creepy and horror-ish vibe that would turn out in “BEcause”. I’d personally wait to rush to judgment about the concept, especially with a trilogy with the title “Apocalypse”.
As for the other decipherable elements of the code picture, the digital number parts in the bookmarks appeared to spell the release date (05/24 for May 24th) and “486”, which is apparently a text code for “I Love You” in South Korea. The letters provide a couple different possibilities, but the one that I saw almost right away was the French phrase “BON VOYAGE” which is something said as a goodbye, often before embarking on a journey. Have Dreamcatcher accomplished their mission of saving the planet and having people follow them in a revolution to do better by it? Or have they failed, and they are saying their goodbyes from imprisonment, imagining a better world that could-have-been? There are a bunch of different ways it can go, and that’s part of what makes Mystery Codes so fun — the theorizing and discussion that leads to the final music video and song.
Some of that speculation was somewhat put to rest when the comeback scheduler came out closer to the end of the week. The release date of May 24th was confirmed, but we also got the title of the album — Apocalypse: From Us — and a continuation of the somewhat soft and bright imagery from the Mystery Code. Once again, appearances can be deceiving as we are seeing a close-up image of something that seems gentle and happy, especially as the logo this time, a heart made up of curious imagery that reminds me of a Rorschach ink blot test, doesn’t seem quite straightforward in its presentation. Other than this, the addition of a “Mystery” Lyrics spoiler as opposed to just a Lyrics Spoiler looks intriguing, and potentially a red herring — will the lyrics we get not be from the title track, or include all tracks? We’ll be waiting until May 17th for the answer to that question. For now, it’s always nice to see the scheduler and know what’s coming when.
What wasn’t a mystery was the pre-order date, which Dreamcatcher Company chose to place into their scheduler for the first time. The scheduler and the opening of pre-orders were within a day of each other, allowing fans to get an idea of what the albums would look like along with what would be included. The color scheme here continues a bit of the brightness — perhaps to some eyes too bright — of the concepts we’ve seen so far, and while I’m not personally a fan of neon colors on a bright background, I’m willing to reserve judgment until I have them in my hands — 2018’s Escape the Era, for example, turned out to be quite different from a shade and color standpoint when the items were in peoples’ hands. The inclusions are interesting — a bit like Summer Holiday with a passport case, boarding pass, and photo film — but we will have to likely wait for upcoming other teasers to make any other conclusions about themes. Either way, it’s nice to be able to order just a bit earlier than prior comebacks, which will perhaps lead to more of a sense of sales numbers as we head towards release.
Even with all this comeback hype, however, Dreamcatcher still had surprises in store for fans. This past week was capped off by their 2nd official fanclub fanmeeting, titled “REASON: Boutique from InSomnia”. The group was quite mum on what exactly they’d be doing, though they promised some “special stages”. At first I thought this would be more like in 2019 where they did subunit performances, but instead, what we got was a nice balance of fun variety-type games, song performances, and a nice bonus for offline audience members to win items bought by Dreamcatcher at a toy store to celebrate South Korean holiday Children’s Day, complete with the group cosplaying in their own outfits worn as kids.
The games and challenges were all kinds of fun, especially wrapped in an overall concept of Dreamcatcher being retail employees leading their fans through a boutique of different musical/fun offerings. There was “do the point dance” (with SuA, as above, along with other Dreamcatcher members dancing to different songs), “what’s in the box”, a game Dreamcatcher has played at least twice before with hilarious results, and tongue twister games that tested teamwork. The audience being able to predict whether the group would succeed or fail these challenges brought a fun participation element to the event, and everyone, not the least of which Dreamcatcher, seemed to have a great time.
After being notoriously tight-lipped during live engagements about upcoming releases, however, Dreamcatcher had one more surprise for fans at the end of the show. A final goodbye after their encore performance had the stage go dark and a single, 3 second snippet of what may be their title track play, a sung “BON VOYAGE” lyric that was both powerful and sudden. To me, this confirms the title track name being “BON VOYAGE” at least in part, and whether or not this is another misdirection for another name remains to be seen. What is clear is that Dreamcatcher is excited to share their music with the fans, and while 17 days (as of this writing) is a long while to wait, I have a feeling it’ll be here sooner than we think.
We’re continuing down the road to Dreamcatcher’s latest release and activities surrounding it continue, beginning with their performance at Gangnam’s G-KPop Concert and a surprise live for Weekly Idol, an appearance that Dreamcatcher has made for several comebacks in a row. As always you can expect a report on everything Dreamcatcher is up to from me, so be sure to check back here next week for that and more! Hope you’re just as excited as I am for new Dreamcatcher music.