Flying High, Dreamcatcher’s Back!
I've been very uncertain with how I feel about Dreamcatcher. I remember being disappointed when I found out they were going to take the pop-rock route through this re-debut because, straight off the bat, I fell in love with their debut song as MINX, which I honestly thought was one of the strongest debuts of 2014.
Nevertheless, I knew that they were bound to become a unique group whichever direction they decided to take. Despite being a risky move, management probably had full trust in the fact that the concept change would do the group more good than bad. So, with three singles out, have the girls proven that the change was worth it?
Surprises Are Definitely Welcome!
In a K-Pop world full of R&B, bubblegum pop, and ballad music, I had already guessed that the greatest challenge the group would face when they debuted was that they would be too out of the box, both musically and visually. No other girl group had debuted with a concept like theirs, so when "Chase Me" was first released, I was honestly not surprised that I was right.
What I was most surprised at, however, was how much I ended up loving it in the end. The concept turned out to be dark, but it immediately catches your attention. Everything was so in your face, and the four-minute music video was proof of how great everything worked together. At that time, I wasn't a fan of them quite yet, as I felt I needed to see more. Unfortunately, when they came back with “Goodnight,” I was still left hanging because of its similarities to “Chase Me.” When they announced that they were coming back with their first mini-album, I wasn’t too hyped, but the moment I finished watching the music video for “Fly High,” I was in awe. It was the perfect surprise.
"Fly High," much like their previous two singles, is still basically a pop-rock record. This one, however, is a lot lighter than their past two tracks, and I’ll say that it is heaps better than their already-good title tracks. It has a “hopeful” vibe to it, which I’d like to thank the gorgeous string section for, as well as a semi-bright chorus. SEION, who has worked on a lot of K-Pop hits with Duble Sidekick, crafted an ascending chorus that gets stuck in your head, which is highlighted by the strings and the constantly-running rhythm. She brilliantly builds the chorus up with a few English lines, which I have to say are very catchy in their own right.
My favorite thing about the song, though, is how beautifully showcased the girls’ vocals are this time. With how super fast tempo their first two singles were this year, I felt that the group’s distinctive vocal attitudes were highlighted more than their impressive vocal abilities. While we all know how much of a well-rounded group Dreamcatcher is, I have to say this is the first time I’ve been this blown away with their vocals.
Discarding the black concept from their first two music videos, “Fly High” featured brighter scenes than their previous efforts showcased. Heck, this is the first time I’ve ever seen sunlight in any of their music videos! That being said, the change in the execution of their visuals was definitely on point and completely matched the vibe of the track. I loved how pure SUNNY VISUAL made their shots look in the final product, because while the saturated look of their previous videos looked really cool, it felt quite overused. The vertigo effect they incorporated in some of their shots was both brilliant and welcomed, as we got to see something more cinematic.
We get to hear the usual Dreamcatcher style in “Wake Up,” the first B-side off the album. It’s even more up-tempo than “Chase Me” and “Goodnight,” so you’ll find yourself nodding along to the track as it progresses. “It’s Okay” is a slow rock ballad, which is first led by a sole guitar before everything builds up. It’s the most raw track on the album, but it’s a nice change from the energy of all tracks in the mini. It is the closing track of the album, after all, so it does its job pretty well.
I started to listen to Prequel thinking that “Fly High” would be the best track off the album. Boy, was I wrong. The mini-album featured a lot of good B-sides, but one, in particular, stood out. I’d even go far as saying that it might be one of my favorite B-sides of the year. The album’s main highlight, “Sleep-Walking,” is very different from what they've done before, with the group sticking to the future bass genre this time around. Produced by LEEZ, the song comes off smart and sleek. While having its playful moments, it is, for the most part, very unexpected. As the track builds up, one would expect the introduction of a dynamic chorus from the track but, instead, there is a dirty riff that comes in and blows you away completely. I’d talk about how awesome this track is all day, but I’d have to stop writing so I could focus on listening to it once more. That’s how good it is for me.
Change is Good
Dreamcatcher is living proof that change isn’t always bad. In fact, in their case, every change they’ve administered, from aspects of music genre to fashion, has done them good. Though I was torn as a result of their previous comebacks, I have to say that this comeback with “Fly High” has turned me into a full-time fan. From the songs to the video production, everything was quality art. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say this again: I am truly impressed with Dreamcatcher this time. True to the title of their single, the girls are definitely flying high right now, and they aren’t going anywhere but up.
“Fly High” Title Score – 9.5/10
Prequel Album Score – 8.0/10
Music Video Score – 9.0/10