If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you could infer that I have a special place in my heart for girl groups. Maybe it’s because girl groups come under more scrutiny based on their concepts or how they present themselves, since there is a very narrow line the girls can tread.
However, girl group debuts can get tiring after a while. Most of the time, debuts tend to play it safe, especially if one is coming from a small company. Big names like SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment can get away with putting out a group with a unique concept and still get a following. As a result, we get a lot of generic, even mediocre bullshit for debuts in smaller companies. Hell, there are rookie girl groups that go between many different concepts until they find one that works and run with it.
So, when I saw a bunch of the promotion material and teasers for Dream Catcher’s debut, I got pretty freaking excited. Under Happy Face Entertainment, home of Dal Shabet, the promise of a horror/paranormal concept at the center of the group was enticing, and it’s a wonder none of the big companies tried to do it sooner.
The great thing about this is how it differs from girl group debuts in every possible way. The song is a synth-rock track that begins with a single piano playing in the background. Then we get a pulsating electric synth that sets a dark, mysterious vibe. After that, the first verse keeps the piano but begins introducing drums and other synths, following up with the eerie “Chase me” voice halfway through the verse.
However, from the pre-chorus to the chorus onwards, we’re introduced to electric guitars and the tempo speeds up into something unheard from girl groups in years. In fact, the last time I remember hearing guitars like that were from KARA’s “Pandora” and “Damaged Lady,” and that was back in 2012 and 2013. The entire song has a J-rock inspiration, and it’s a welcome change from the synth-pop I’ve heard this month.
But the reason this song works is because it breaks up its explosive moments, keeping them in pre-choruses and choruses, rather than them being the main course. The piano points in the verses prevent the song from veering off into grating territory – a necessary thing for a song like this.
The music video also differs from almost every girl group music video I’ve seen, and that’s based on the first two seconds alone. Right away, the filters distort the very-clear shots common in Kpop, and opts for a damaged, gritty viewing experience. This filter continues throughout the music video, which sets the tone for a horror concept very nicely. The story goes that a paranormal investigator has gone to this specific house to investigate a haunting case. From there, he is terrorized by the girls as they appear and disappear in hallways, destroy his bedroom, or even just lock the door so he can’t get out of his room. There are some other stuff going on too – the girls are showcased sacrificing the rapper of the group, and manipulating the investigator with nightmares about losing his eyes. All throughout the video there’s a reference to Room 808, such as the girls going up to the door to look through the peephole, to reaching for the sign above the door. The door is locked, so by the end of the video our paranormal investigator decides to break it open with an ax. Within, we see a picture of the seven members, indicating they were alive many years ago. The girls died here, and the paranormal investigator has had enough of their shit, and is thinking about doing something very, very permanent about it.
Or maybe he is just happy he figured out the mystery. I don’t know. But the look on his face at the end of the video tells me he wants to end the girls.
Very, very much.
There are a couple other interesting bits of the music video I wanted to point out, though. For one thing, there are a dozen or so solo shots of the girls in a lighter room with speckles of light on their faces that are nice to look at. They also break up the much darker parts of the haunting story and dance shots. A point I want to make about the dance shots are jarring in their angles and how quick they come and go. These shots continue the edge-of-your-seat experience because of its horror theme. From what we see in the dance shots though, I’m really excited to see a performance version because the dance looks badass as hell.
I think you guys can tell by now that I really, really enjoyed this debut. It’s easily my favorite out of all the debuting groups this year, and I am so excited to see where Dream Catcher will go after this. I hope that they get enough of a following so they can continue doing this kind of concept. It’s such a rare thing in Kpop to see horror, especially in the case of girl groups. They are the kind of group I deem necessary for how rare they are in the Kpop world.