Dreamcatcher - What
It’s been just past four months since Dreamcatcher’s last comeback in May of this year. As a longtime fan of the group, I keep finding myself digging deeper and deeper into the hole of no return, and I don’t really know that I could ever do a Dreamcatcher review that wasn’t at least somewhat biased. So heading into this review, I tried to assuage my preconceptions and just review this comeback as level-headed as I could possibly muster. And I’ll be the first to admit that my attempt failed near instantly.
The now standard introduction of piano descending into their emblematic rock sound is here once again, though this time it’s accompanied with the consistent stringed hook of the song. The combination of the violin and the much heavier, power chords of heavier guitar present a meeting of ideas that cropped up in “YOU AND I” as well, though this time the strings provide the main thrust of the song and give a new edge to the group’s staple sound.
Siyeon’s vocals during the chorus literally gave me goosebumps - her tone and energetic delivery are seriously out of this world. Mixed in with Yoohyeon and Handong, this is easily one of the most powerful vocal performances from Dreamcatcher to date, and that’s saying a lot as they haven’t slacked in the past. Dami’s rap somehow manages to once again not interrupt the flow or pacing of the track, providing the song with a brief variation that extends into the bridge neatly. Everything about the song just feels cohesive and things never stray from progressing and ultimately leading to that powerhouse chorus.
I’ll admit, though, that the “what” parts of the song didn’t really do much for me. I don’t think it was bad or intrusive, just that I think it was easily the weakest part of the song overall. Other than that, though, I don’t think I have a single complaint about this one. Everything worked out beautifully. In terms of Dreamcatcher, it’s not my favorite song of theirs, but it’s such a solid addition to their discography in general.
As I said at the outset of this review, my attempt to go into this level-headed and unbiased was pretty much instantly foiled - and that’s mostly the fault of this video. This has to be the most budget that Happyface Entertainment has given to Dreamcatcher, and it shows. It’s far and away their most impressive video to date. There were a few outfits that I wasn’t a huge fan of, but for the most part they all looked nice. They were all different from one another and yet they all fit in with the concept and general vibe. Obviously all of the girls themselves looked incredible, though Handong and Yoohyeon were the major standouts for me this time around. I’d list runner-ups, but that would literally just be a list of all of the members’ names.
There was such a good variety of sets with wildly different color palettes that kept things fresh and interesting, but the very intriguing visual presentation of a story also had me gripped. This is just a theory and not a full explanation, but here’s what I think is going on in the music video. I think that all of the girls apart from Handong and Yoohyeon are actually stuck in someone else’s dream. That dream belongs to both Handong and Yoohyeon, who are actually supposed to be two sides of the same person. When one of them is awake, the other is asleep, and each of them has separate ways of showing this. For instance, when Yoohyeon is awake, we see that Handong is trapped in a closet and just peeking out. Yoohyeon appears to never leave the confines of her room when Handong is the one in control.
This is further hinted at when Yoohyeon looks under her bed and we see Handong flicker out. It seems like neither of the two feels fully in control and each is aware of this fact. When she hits the bed harshly in her scene, we can see that the world Siyeon is in suddenly gets filled with feathers. This is symbolic of a switch between Handong and Yoohyeon, with one awakening while the other falls asleep.
From the way that things are presented, my best guess is that Yoohyeon is the darker side of the two. As we progress through the video, she seems to change her demeanor and facial expressions, and we also see her silhouetted against the full moon of night towards the end. Handong seems to stumble upon a journal or diary with a blue rose. Blue roses are a rarity in reality, and can possibly be symbolic of the idea of an unattainable dream, which does seem to coincide with everything else happening in the video. Both Yoohyeon and Handong seem to want full control and neither have it.
More symbolic imagery is found when Yoohyeon is surrounded by floating cards, all of which are the Joker. The Joker can symbolize many things, but the general gist is that it’s an ambiguity. In Tarot decks, the Joker card is one that can be played at any time to avoid following suit, but it cannot win. That also seems to line up with my theory that Yoohyeon and Handong are both entities that are vying for control, with neither side able to come out as the ultimate victor. They each have to take their turn at the helm and are subject to lose their control shortly thereafter.
The only issue that I have with my theory is that the music video then doesn’t end up amounting to much of anything. If my theory is correct, that would basically leave this video as the setup to a multi-part series, and this basically only ends up being something to lay the foundation for that series. Still, the metaphoric imagery and direction of the video seems to lend credence to my theory, so I also don’t think I’m entirely off.
Overall, this video was an absolute blast to watch repeatedly and think about. It’s a gorgeous display of great direction with more money behind it than we’ve seen Dreamcatcher receive in the past, and it’s hopefully the start of a new era for them.
“What” is an excellent piece that continues Dreamcatcher’s venture into their own style in the K-pop scene. With a much more orchestral feel in tandem with their now-standard heavier rock influence, this song is a fantastic addition to an already impressive discography. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend jumping in and checking out this comeback.
(Random note: Sorry for using only Yoohyeon in the thumbnail for this review. I usually do my best to get a group shot, but there is nothing more iconic in this MV than that shot. I had to. ♥)