Dreamcatcher is Experiencing “Deja Vu”
Dreamcatcher is a group that has a very clear overall concept that they stick with. Never venturing into cute or summery concepts, fans can always expect a Dreamcatcher comeback track to be extremely dark. No other girl group really does it like them, but some critics may say that the constant ability to predict what’s coming makes the group dry. Even if the concept is predictable, Dreamcatcher manages to flip the script with “Deja Vu.”
The Title: “Deja Vu”
In direct contrast to their last release “PIRI,” “Deja Vu” begins incredibly softly, with ballad-like qualities and a heavy focus on Siyeon’s soft vocals accompanied by a melodic piano line. An added rhythmic beat ups the tension, returning intermittently between each member’s verse, but maintaining its soft ballad influences throughout the first verse. The musical direction begins to take a sharp turn at the 55 second mark, with an intense orchestral line building up into the chorus, where heavy metal influences are brought into the mix. All of these differing melodies are more reminiscent of the symphonic metal subgenre rather than the traditional metal that they have used in the past. The shift to use a ballad as a title track isn’t just surprising, it’s something they’ve never done before. The sharp contrast between the verses and the chorus is exceptional, with the vocal prowess of the group shining through the softer melodies. There is also a distinct lack of a rap verse, with Dami even contributing to the vocal line for the song. There is also a beautiful key change between the final verse and chorus, adding an even stronger note of tension to the song as it comes to an end. All in all, it's a completely different sound for Dreamcatcher, one that brings more variety to their repertoire and proves that they’re more than just a one trick pony.
The music video is no joke either. Clearly presenting a tragic story, the video depicts the seven members as rulers of a kingdom, with a struggle for power breaking out between JiU and Yoohyeon. The scenes between the two facing off are particularly powerful, with JiU pointing the end of a rapier at Yoohyeon, in control of her fate. She makes the decision not to execute Yoohyeon, who in turn makes the decision to stab JiU in the back and kill her. Scenes of the six girls appearing and disappearing alongside Yoohyeon, show her eventually left alone and lonely, sat atop a throne left in ruins. It’s also interesting to note that some of the choreography shots showing all seven members are set in a brightly lit room, with all of girls dressed in white, something we don’t often see with this group. The medieval themes and darker lighting used during the depictions of JiU and Yoohyeon’s struggle add another layer to the song. “Deja Vu” has a lot of different creative elements that the group hasn’t used before, but it’s executed in an astounding way.
Raid of Dream begins as most Dreamcatcher albums do, with a simple intro that feeds into the title track. This intro, however, has a bit of a different sound with a sight hip-hop vibe–totally the opposite of “Deja Vu.” I was a little put off by it to begin with since it was so out of the realm of what I expected.
“거미의 저주 (The Curse of the Spider)” kicks off the B-sides, and sounds a lot more like the traditional title tracks we’ve come to know from the group. The rhythm is fast paced and definitely rock influenced, even featuring a guitar solo after the first chorus. If you’re a fan of the traditional sound that Dreamcatcher masters, this will be a new favorite track of yours.
“Silent Night” is somewhat of a surprise, with the opening beat focused on R&B with a heavy and fast EDM breakdown in the chorus. Dreamcatcher like to play with genres in their B-sides, but these two specifically melded together is a little unexpected. Dami’s rap verse is probably the best portion of the song. Closing out the album is “북극성 Polaris,” a traditional emotional ballad through and through. Dreamcatcher proves in their title track that they can vocally master the ballad genre, but that point is further driven home by “북극성 Polaris” closing out the album.
For a comeback that is so well put together and surprising at the same time, Raid of Dream falls a little bit short in living up to the expectations left by “Deja Vu.” Still, Raid of Dream is a solid album, exploring a number of different genres that the group doesn't often focus on. Dreamcatcher certainly is a group that should be recognized not just for their vocal talent, but their ability to successfully conquer most genres that fall within the K-Pop realm. Even if you think that Dreamcatcher is a group only able to produce one specific concept or genre, you should take some time to explore this comeback and other tracks on the album that prove otherwise.