[Special] Top 10 Personal Favourites Songs from 1st Half of 2020

2020 has proven to be an eventful year so, without a doubt. But since we are at the halfway mark already, let’s have a little reflection post on the last 6 months. In no particular order, here are 10 of my personal favourite KPOP releases since the start of 2020. I have also added some of my favourite sidetracks that I have encountered so far in the year as part of my top 10. This is also irrespective of my reviews and Weekly KPOP charts posts.

[International Song Review] BTS, Stray Kids, TWICE, Dream Catcher, Lee Jun Young (U-KISS)

It has been a while since I stuck my head into the world of Japanese releases made by Korean artists. So today, I will be reviewing Japanese releases from BTS, Stray Kids, TWICE, Dream Catcher and Lee Jun Young (from UKISS). Some of these are recent and some of these dates back to the start of the year. Early this year, I reverted to a bulk review post for International releases by Korean artists as they go global. If you would like to see the two bulk review posts that I have released so far, you can do so by clicking here and here. If you know of any other international releases (that have a music video), please comment them below so that I am aware of them!

Stay Gold – BTS

Out of all the releases on this list that I have chosen to review today, Stay Gold has to be the most generic. While the song does shine a golden light onto their vocals and rapping, the pop ballad just doesn’t have much to hold my attention. The lyrics of Stay Gold directs the song down the inspirational path, but the overall atmosphere of the pop ballad did not have that same feeling. And no amount of good vocals can compensate for that. The instrumental felt very mostly linear and the titular hook was just repeated too much throughout the chorus. Obviously, this is intentional to get the hook stuck in your mind. But by the time we get to the pre-chorus, it just feels too overdone and dried out. Lights (last year’s Japanese release) is quite similar in terms of its ballad direction, but there was a soothing feeling and attractive instrumental. The music video seems to show that no matter what dark place you in, there will always be light somewhere in it. At the end of the video when V touches the tree trunk, the golden lights that come from the tree and into the dark hallways may symbolises that is BTS is the guiding light for their fans (which I am sure is the truth for most fans). It was a nice video, with a good meaning. (7.2/10)

Top – Stray Kids

Top is Stray Kid’s first original Japanese single and since its release, we have seen a Korean and English version. It is also used as a theme song for the Japanese anime, Tower of God. When I listen to Top, I get this really cool epic vibe to the song which leaves a very strong impression on me. It starts off with some dramatic violins before adopting a rough and heavy synth base for the chorus. And it is this combination that really helps makes Top become one of their most powerful releases to date. The rappers benefit with this rough style of music, with both their rough textured delivery and angst shining throughout the song. The vocal moments were meh, in my opinion. But the slowdown we get to give way to the vocalists do help make the drop more epic. For the music video, I really like their spaceship premise. It is fitting with the epic vibes of the song. Standlone, it is still pretty cool setting. It is a song all about gettng to the top, no matter what. We see the members struggle as the road to get to the top becomes difficult, but they always perservere. I do wonder what Seungmin and I.N were meant to represent as they walk into the light. Are they the ones that gave up? Not too sure. As for the choreography, powerful and epic, just like the song. (9/10)

Fanfare – Twice

TWICE’s recent Japanese release is Fanfare. The song’s instrumental just keeps coming for you and it might be overwhelming for some. Even I had to debate whether I should say the instrumental assaulted us with its noise or was just very overpowering but bearable. For the time being, I am leaning towards the latter, as it doesn’t seem to much as everyone else is saying. But if you caught me on a bad day, I might be going with the first option as my description of Fanfare. I really like its energy and powerful upbeat nature, which is all highly suitable for the Summer season. The marching band adds a fun and robust feel to the song. It might be overpowering, but the members bring a bright tone to the song to help level it out. The song’s hooks were catchy and I would gladly add this to my playlist if I wanted to infuse some energy into my day. For the music video, it looks like a bunch of ill-fitting closeup shots and a stage-like set up for their choreography scenes, where the members are dressed in marching band gear. I assume those closeup shots are meant to give off a happy and joyful impression to match the lyrics of the song. Though, I do question Jihyo’s scene, which is a world full of laundry. No one ever enjoys laundry, it is such a chore. For the choreography, I thought it was pretty good. Not their most impressive routine, but still fun and bubbly. (7.4/10)

Endless Night – Dream Catcher

Endless Night is one of the older releases in this post, dating back to March of this year. While Dream Catcher has been long associated with bringing the J-POP rock sound to K-POP, Endless Night feels like it brings a Western rock influence to the Japanese industry, which was rather unexpected. It is also a lot moodier than any of their other title tracks. But while these are different directions, Dream Catcher makes it work. I do just wish their vocals and rapping had a little more oomph to them, which would help make the song more appealing. Aside from the chorus, everything else was rather forgettable and dry. For the music video, I really liked the use of colours. It just makes this otherwise boring music video pop, which definitely helps with the video’s appeal. Wait, but why do I find the video boring? Well, the video takes on that typical closeup and choreography formula that I have grown to dislike. I do admit the closeups seem to try to be aesthetic, but they don’t just hit the mark like other music videos. The choreography looks pretty good and works pretty well with the song. The chorus has to be the best part of the routine for me. (7.4/10)

Come Alive – Lee Jun Young (U-KISS)

Lee Jun Young is probably more known as an actor, rather than UKISS member. At the end of 2019, he reminded fans that he is a singer with the release of his first single album and Curious About U. Right after his domestic promotions, Lee Jun Young also released his first mini-album in Japan, featuring a number of solo singles from the second half of 2019. It also featured Come Alive, which was formally released at the start of 2020. It is a fun hip-hop dance track, that is both bass and brass-heavy. It is quite addictive that I am always nodding or tapping along to the beat when it appears on my playlist. The song is pretty dynamic when it comes to the verses. His rapping is quite captivating and alluring. I really like how the song punctuates some of the lines with the added emphasis of the ‘You‘ and ‘Do‘ (and associated Japanese words). His vocals are also quite good. There is a good beat to this section to help give it a club feel. At first, I didn’t like how dragged out the ‘Come Alive‘ felt. But after multiple listens, it has definitely grown on me significantly. The music video has this urban feel to it, which was nice. It just didn’t have anything more to it worth talking about, unfortunately. For the choreography, it fits in with the urban hip-hop feel that both the song and music video had. I do like how clean and smooth it felt during some parts of the choreography. Other than that, it is just another case of not his best, but still good. (7.5/10)

[Album Review] Dystopia: The Tree of Language (1st Studio Album) – Dream Catcher

It is time for another album review! And (once again) it an album that I should have reviewed a while back. I am talking about Dream Catcher’s very first studio album, Dystopia: The Tree of Language. It is definitely long overdue for the group as it has been four years since their debut (officially) and countless intense and unique comebacks. The album, released mid-February, features the title track Scream and 13 new tracks. Per usual, I will review all tracks excluding the intro, outro and instrumental tracks. Let’s get going!

Dystopia: The Tree Of Language Album Cover

2. Scream (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Scream. (10/10)

3. Tension – The title gives us a little teaser of the tension and intensity the song will feature. And it blasts you with just that from the very first second in which the song started, opting for a predominately rock instrumental. For all you dedicated fans of Dream Catcher (otherwise known as InSomnia), this is something we all know is within Dream Catcher’s repertoire, given this is the style that they debuted and consistently pull out. But rather than being the same as the past songs, Tension manages to make it refreshing. The song features a change in the intensity throughout the song but manages to make it well balanced. There are also interesting vocal textures thanks to the use of autotune (Dami’s line just before the chorus is just perfect) or a more delicate backdrop (see the bridge). (9/10)

4. Red Sun – If you think the title track is amazing, wait until you have a listen to Red Sun. The song seems to go towards of a hip-hop based sound, which I think it is unfamiliar territory for the group. But it keeps that edgy sound that we know Dream Catcher for. But there is more to the instrumental than just hip-hop. It is haunting in some parts and employs trap synths in other parts. The vocal work brings very interesting and mature twist to the song, as well. The repetition of the title post-chorus and the overall aesthetics are very memorable. Red Sun ticks all the boxes for me. (10/10)

5. Black or White – As we go down this list, the songs get more interesting. There is no going back with this album. I love the thumping beat at the very start, the orchestral touch during the pre-chorus, the funkiness we got in the chorus (on top of the orchestral touch). In addition to that, I really liked how they autotuned the main hook to be part of the instrumental for the bridge. Their vocals and Dami’s rapping fitted right into the track, like a key and lock. Altogether, Black Or White is another mindblowing, addictive and very unique song. (10/10)

6. Jazz Bar – Like how the title suggest, the song delves into jazz. It is a very subtle groove to the song and its flows effortlessly from start to end. The melody was very pleasant and the chorus was satisfying good. Their vocals were very refined and delicate, matching with the jazzy nature of the song. But the real winner in this song has to be Dami. How awesome does she sound? Her nasally voice just works wonderfully in this song and has to be the best section of the song. (9.5/10)

7. SAHARA – We now return to a song with a rock touch (aka. the group’s roots). And it is a good song. But I don’t think it is as good as what we have heard so far. I found the verses to be forgettable for the most part. I did enjoy the rock rush the song had incorporated during its building up moments and during the chorus. Sadly, I also found the hook in this song to be rather weak. But I did enjoy their vocals and Dami’s rapping was pretty decent. As you can see, I would better describe as the song to skip on the album. (7/10)

8. In The Frozen – We re-enter the more interesting sounds on the album. In The Frozen starts off like any other dance track and it remains locked in that gear for majority of the track. It may sound like I am trying to saying it is typical, but I still liked it. There is an adventurous tone to the song, in my opinion. It just took its time to build up. But once we reached the final chorus, everything dropped (or should I say twist) and the entire song’s dynamic changed through the tempo, the incorporation of the song’s title and Dami’s ‘Limit no more’. This is pretty unique from other dance tracks, which once again brings another interesting song to the album. (9/10)

9. Daybreak (새벽)Daybreak delves into the R&B genre. It seems like Dream Catcher is captialising on the number of songs by showing a lot of variety in their sound, yet still showing some of their roots in others. The instrumental has this deep yet striking beat, which reminds me of Red Velvet’s Be Natural (a song I felt was boring at first but has grown on me over time). The vocal and rapping work brings life to the song and adds a sense of refinement. The ending is one of those abrupt kinds, which I still don’t like. But overall, another nice song. (8/10)

10. Full MoonFull Moon was a single for the fans by Dream Catcher, released back in 2018. As you can tell by the rock influences in this song, it is one of the many songs by Dream Catcher that I refer to when I talk about their roots in this review. This is one is a little more straight forward and doesn’t really do add to the sound that we are already familiar with. But this was released in 2018, when the group was still cementing their footing in the industry. I enjoyed the momentum of the song and remember head banging to it every time I had listened to it in the past. I also love the delicate ‘Full Moon’ ending to the chorus, which contrasts strongly with the rock sound that dominates the rest of the chorus. Great track, overall. (9/10)

11. Over The Sky (하늘을 넘어) – And here is another example of their roots, released in 2019 for their fans. The way this song starts off reminds me of many opening themes to animes. They literally throw you into the mix and they probably have no regrets. It is a little overwhelming at first, but you get used to it with multiple listens. Their vocals add more of a cheerful tone to the song and the melody/hook feels very pop-like in comparison to the rush of rock energy that we get in this song. But the two merges neatly with each other and sounds very decent, overall. (9/10)

14. Paradise (Siyeon Solo) (Pre-Release Track) – Not exactly sure if this was ever marketed as a pre-release track, but the final song on the album (even after the outro) Is Siyeon’s solo debut, Paradise. Paradise reminds me of old Western pop tracks and takes on an instrumental profile of a dance track through its use of EDM. But vocally, the song is steered towards the ballad domain. But it is not one or the other. However, the use of the dance instrumental gives it an engaging appeal, while Siyeon’s vocals are on full display in this song. I do feel this combination is rather safe and feel like the song would have been epic if the producers pushed in one or both regards. (8.5/10)

Overall Album Rating – 9/10

Dystopia: The Tree of Language Teaser Image

[Review] Scream – Dream Catcher

This is the first review in a while that I managed to complete on the same day of its release. Dream Catcher is back with a brand new song, Scream. It is featured on their very first studio album, Dystopia: The Tree of Language. If you watch the music video, you may notice that there is only 6 members involved in this comeback. This is because Handong is sitting out of this comeback due to overseas schedules. Dream Catcher has also confirmed that they will be releasing their third Japanese single, so keep an eye out on Saturdays for the review!

One listen in and I am already overwhelmed with the epic nature of the song. What I find very interesting is that Dream Catcher has been very consistent with their sound. Just everytime they return, they manage to reinvent the sound in some manner that makes it sound so epic and grand. Scream starts off with that rock sound that we are used when we discuss Dream Catcher. But slowly the thumping beats creeps in and we are introduced to a twist that leaves your jaws hanging. The chorus throws electronica into the mix and this gives the song that rush of intensity and dramatic flair that is unlike any I have encountered before in my many years of listing to Korean music. What I really thought was cool is how the members brought a deeper tone to their voices to the chorus. This definitely added to that flair I just mentioned. Another cool detail in the chorus as to be that choir-like ‘Scream, Scream, Scream‘. The rappers really shined, going with a deeper than usual tone as well. The vocals were superb in this song. In fact, I think all the members managed to top whatever song I considered to be their best previously as this was an awesome track which I highly recommend if you want some intensity in your playlist.

Darkness seems to overtake the members in this video, as seen by the start of the video with light being taken away and the members are running away from the dark clouds. There seems to be a little witchcraft in the video as well, based on some scenes looking like had a magic component to it. Their outfits seems to allude to witchcraft. But other than that, I have no idea what is going on in this video. What is the significance of the mask? What is the darkness and cloud? And why did it take over the light? What role to the members play in this video? It looks like we are going to get answers (hopefully) in an upcoming comeback, so I guess we have to wait and see. When it comes to the visuals of the video themselves, I thought the video looked amazing. The post production looked awesome and it definitely really appealed to my taste.

The choreography routine features backup dancers, which I don’t think Dream Catcher has ever used before. I find that fairly cool. I also think there is a lot of attitude to this song, thanks to the routine they perform for the chorus. I also liked how they kept Handong in mind while choreographing this routine, as I believe she might take the position of the masked female dancer when she returns.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

[Special] 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards – Artist-Based Categories

It is that time of the year again where I announce the winners for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. In December 2019, I allowed the audience (you all), once again, to vote for their favourite songs and artists for the December 2018 to November 2019 period. Thank you to all who voted and particpated in the KPOPREVIEWED Awards this time around. Even more people voted this year, making this year more intense than ever in many categories. This post will focus on the artist-based categories, which will involve the New Artist categories, Elemental-focused (i.e. rap, vocals etc.) categories and Best Artist categories. The winners for the artist categories will be posted in an accompanying post today, while the Top 100 songs of 2019 will be posted tomorrow.

Here is how things are going to work. Each category (aside from the non-fan voted categories, which are specified) will have a WINNER (the song/performance/video that ranked first), a Honourable Mention (the song/performance/video that ranked second) and a KPOPREVIEWED Choice (my personal choice if I voted, which I didn’t include this year). And let’s go!

Best New Male Soloist

Nominees: Baekhyun (EXO), Chen (EXO), Ha Sung Woon, HUTA (Lee Min Hyuk – BTOB), Kang Daniel, Kim Jae Hwan.

WINNER – Baekhyun (EXO)
Honourable Mention – Kang Daniel
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – HUTA (Lee Minhyuk – BTOB)

Best New Female Soloist

Nominees: Hwasa (Mamamoo), Jeon Somi, Kim Ji Yeon (Kei – Lovelyz), Oh Ha Young (APINK), Sulli

WINNER – Hwasa (Mamamoo)
Honourable Mention – Sulli
KPOPREVIEWED – Hwasa (Mamamoo)

Best New Male Group

Nominees: AB6IX, CIX, ONEUS, TXT, X1

Honourable Mentions – ONEUS

Best New Female Group


Honourable Mention – EVERGLOW

Best Band

Nominees: DAY6, FT Island, IZ, N.Flying, ONEWE

Honourable Mention – N.Flying

Best Vocals

Nominees: AKMU, Brown Eyed Girls, Chen (EXO), IU, Mamamoo

Honourable Mention – Chen (EXO)

Best Raps

Nominees: J-Hope (BTS); Jackson (GOT7); Mark (NCT); Ravi (VIXX); Zico

Honourable Mention – Zico

Best Subunit

Nominees: Block B Bastarz; EXO-SC, Jus2, NCT 127, NCT Dream

Honourable Mention – NCT 127

Artist With Most Weekly KPOP Chart Wins

This is not a fan voted category.

WINNER – Seventeen (5x)

Rising Star

Nominees: ATEEZ, CLC, N.Flying, UP10TION, VICTON

Honourable Mention – CLC

Most Underrated Artist of 2019

Nominees: A.C.E, Dream Catcher, LOONA, ONF, Pentagon

WINNER – Dream Catcher
Honourable Mention – Pentagon

Best Male Soloist

Nominees: Kim Dong Han, Leo (VIXX), Nam Woohyun (Infinite), Taemin (SHINee), Yesung (Super Junior), Zico

WINNER – Taemin (SHINee)
Honourable Mention – Zico
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Nam Woohyun

Best Female Soloist

Nominees: Ailee, Kim Chungha, IU, Park Bom, Sumni, Taeyeon (SNSD)

Honourable Mention – Kim Chungha
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Kim Chungha

Best Male Group

Nominees: ASTRO, ATEEZ, BTS, DAY6, EXO, GOT7, iKON, MONSTA X, NCT, NU’EST, Pentagon, Seventeen, SF9, Stray Kids, The Boyz, WINNER

Honourable Mention – BTS, ATEEZ
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Stray Kids

Best Female Group

Nominees: (G)I-DLE, BLACKPINK, CLC, Dream Catcher, EXID, GFriend, IZ*ONE, LOONA, Lovelyz, Mamamoo, Momoland, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, TWICE, Weki Meki, WJSN (Cosmic Girls)

Honourable Mention – Red Velvet, Mamamoo
KPOPREVIEWED Choice – Oh My Girl

And that brings us to the end of the Artist-Based Categories for the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. If you haven’t seen the Song-Based Categories yet, click here.

Tomorrow, we will get to see which artist ranked on the Top 100 of the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Charts, where the song that ranks first becomes the ‘Best Song of 2019’. Remember this is decided based on the votes for Best Song of 2019 (50%) and the Weekly KPOP Charts that I post every Sunday (50%). You can find out by clicking here (hyperlink will be updated once the post is published).

[Album Review] Raid Of Dream (Special Mini Album) – Dream Catcher

It is time for another album review and today, we will be focusing on Dream Catcher. The group returned last week with Deja Vu, which was the title track of a special mini-album, Raid Of Dream. The release of the mini-album and the title track was paired with the new mobile game, King’s Raid. And based on my review of Deja Vu, the music video seems to be heavily based on the mobile game. Once again, we aren’t here for the game. Rather, we are here for the album, so let’s have a closer look.

Raid Of Dream Album Cover

2. Déjà Vu (데자부) (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Déjà Vu. (10/10)

3. The Curse of the Spider (거미의 저주) – When I first saw the title of the song, I thought back to the spider that played a part in their initial four-part music video series that they debuted with. And I think the song is rather fitting for that era of Dream Catcher and Dream Catcher as a whole. It has that dance rock vibe that we associate with the girls and the intensity for the song is great. I also liked the rush of energy that the song gives. The vocal work was pretty good. I did like how Dami turned back to rapping but I think she could have gotten a much better punchy sequence, which was noticeably missing from the title track of this album and present all of their title tracks thus far. (8/10)

4. Silent NightSilent Night is no Christmas carol. Instead, it furthers the group’s venture into EDM in a very abstract and aesthetically pleasing way. The track is in no way silent, as suggested by the title. The closest to ‘silence’ that we get in this track is the chorus, which is lowkey one of the best choruses I have ever heard. It is subtly intense, and it made the song very ear-catching. I find the melody catchy and I can’t stop humming the tune once the song ends. The actual EDM kicks in at the end of the track, acting out as the outro piece for the track. It is interesting to place to add the change-up in the track. But collectively, I think it makes the song very appealing and furthers that ear-catching business that they had going in the track already. I think, apart from the title track, this is one of their best tracks ever. (10/10)

5. Polaris (북극성) – The album ends with a ballad. And it is a pretty good track. Very melodic and has a nice classically driven instrumental. All the members sing in this track and their display of vocals was nice. And while it was a soothing piece of put on if you want to relax (or take a break from Dream Catcher’s intensity), I find the song doesn’t really tie the album together as nicely as one would expect. This might be the case because it was placed after Silent Night (and I am still immersed in the preceding track) or that the ballad just didn’t exactly blow me away. But I feel like there should have been one more song to the album, following this album. (7/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.8/10

Raid Of Dream Teaser Image

[Review] Breaking Out – Dream Catcher

The last few weeks I haven’t been able to focus on the Japanese reviews due to being a bit busy. But I have finally set aside some time to start attacking the pile that is growing. I am going to start on the more recent side of the spectrum, focusing on the Dream Catcher’s music video release last week. The new single is titled Breaking Out and it is the lead title track on their first-ever Japanese studio album, The Beginning Of The End. The album also features the Japanese version of all their Korean title tracks. The group also just made their Korean comeback with Deja Vu.

When I first heard the first verse, I thought it would be such a waste of an opportunity for the group not to venture into that rock sound that they have maintained in all of their Korean title tracks. Especially since I (and a lot of other people) have described it to be fitting for the Japanese music scene. But I thought too soon, as the chorus is essentially exactly what I wanted. And while the chorus does pack a punch thanks for its rock sound, I found the verses to be very forgettable. It felt boring in comparison to the chorus and I was obviously longing for that rush of energy and intensity. I thought their singing was good but Dami’s rapping didn’t feel like it fitted in well with the rest of the track. I feel like they could have polished Dami’s section in, as it is sticking out a little too much for my liking. Overall, Breaking Out was okay. I just don’t feel like it is up to par with their Korean releases, which is a little odd given my past comments regarding their ability to fit into the Japanese music scene.

I thought the video was nice. I liked the white set and the red strings were felt bold as a result. I think the dull atmosphere was rather fitting, as it gave the girls an edgier look. I know, it isn’t something that I would say when it comes to something dull. But I thought it worked fine in this video. There is a lot of symbolism, but I think I will leave it up to the fans to decipher this video. Overall, I liked it and wouldn’t mind watching it again.

I thought the performance looked quite cool as well. It doesn’t feel as intense as their Korean performances, but I think that can be blamed more on the actual song. After all, the dance can only be created with the song in mind. There seemed to be some elegance present during the slower sections of the song and then a little more fierceness when it came to the chorus.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10

[Review] Deja Vu – Dream Catcher

Dream Catcher has returned with a special mini-album, Raid Of Dream and its lead title track, Deja Vu. This isn’t your normal KPOP release, as the group’s comeback this time is paired with the debut of the mobile game (something that I have no idea about), King’s Raid. Not sure if it is an English game though or if it is just in Korean. But that is not the main focus of the review. We are here to listen closely to Deja Vu. We also last saw Dream Catcher through their Piri promotions earlier this year.

I think the song is amazing. Barely a few seconds in and I am already in awe of the sounds that were coming out of my speakers. Deja Vu starts off very elegant and very OST-like. Siyeon, the member that opens the song, sounds amazing. Paired with the soft and melodic piano backing, we are given an entrance that is going to be highly memorable. I like the blast of energy that the song gives you during the chorus. It changes the sound up by going toward Dream Catcher’s rock style that we know of. It is intense and it throws a little chaos into the elegant sound that the verses and bridge opt for. Especially, that final chorus. What I like the most is that we are allowed to hear more of their vocals in this track. Even Dami opted for singing, rather than rapping. There was one set of lines that really shot right out at me while listening to the song that I also wanted to randomly touch upon. The ‘So now, I’m holding this pain‘ line is so strong. As a whole, another amazing song from the group.

Matching the song is the video. There is another complicated storyline, which I assume borrows inspiration from the game that they are promoting alongside the song. There were two key endings of the song, each of which showed one side to be victorious in the game. I liked that. Other parts seem to be a bit confusing, such as the ‘funeral’ scene. But as far I can tell, it seems to be the exact same scenario. The members swap positions. Besides the storyline, the video is so beautiful and well shot. The quality is something that really took the video to a whole new level, highlighting the beauty of the sets and the members. This is one to watch.

I think the extra fabric on their arms made the performance fit that elegance that the song and video had going. The moves, overall, looked good. I did like how they ended in a similar fashion to how they started, which was quite cool.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 9.3/10

[Album Review] The End of Nightmare (4th Mini Album) – Dream Catcher

Dream Catcher made their comeback last week with Piri and their fourth mini-album, The End of Nightmare. Today, we will have a closer look at all the other tracks on the album because based on what I have written shows that they deserve attention as well. The album features 6 tracks in total, including an introductory track and the instrumental to Piri. Per usual, I have forgone the intro track but if you want to hear really catching opener to the album, this is the one for you. It mashes up their rock style , a classical sound and progresses somehow into an EDM track without any kinks along the way. But that’s that and we go forth with the review!

The End Of Nightmare Album Cover

2. Piri (Title Track)Click here to read the full review for Piri. (9/10)

3. DiamondDiamond follows their usual rock dance style and it has what it takes to be a contender for the title track position. From the very start, you could tell that this was going to be extremely intense and they really delivered with that promise as you listen to the song. The style is a little more dramatic than usual, with the chorus going for this vibrating like texture, which I think was unique. The lead up to this was really cool as well. I thought the vocals were their usual style, which is always extremely fitting for songs of this nature. Dami’s rapping was, as always, top-notch, with her deep tone really suiting the song. One of my favourite bits of the song is the part of the pre-chorus where they take strip all the intensity, which kind of felt like a ‘calm before a storm’ concept. I also really like the ‘Untouchable… Unbreakable’ line in the chorus. (9/10)

4. And There Was No One Left (그리고 아무도 없었다) – If you want uniqueness in a track, then this one is for you. My description of the track will not do the song any justice, so definitely check this one out regardless of how you interpret this review. We commonly associate Dream Catcher with a rock sound but this is completely different. The members (including Dami) opt for more delicate vocals. The instrumental is very intriguing. There is a mix of acoustics and orchestra in the song, which gives the song a softer sound. It felt like a very minimalistic approach, as the song felt stripped of a number of elements but it manages to hold together. The chorus was very unexpecting drop that features some horns of some kind and feels a little odd yet sassy. I found the title to be very intriguing as well, as it sounds quite creepy. The song does an amazing job of showcasing the creepy vibes by pairing the soft vocals with the instrumentation. I am a little confused about the lyrics of the song as I can’t really tell what they are trying to convey to us. They sing about an inescapable dream and tells their lover to stay with them despite that. Very creepy indeed. (9/10)

5. DaydreamDaydream is that mandatory ballad that we all know KPOP must have in some form on their albums. Dream Catcher’s take this time around on the genre was pleasantly beautiful. It is also a departure from their harsher style, as I found Daydream to be smoother in texture. The instrumental is more straight-forward, with the piano shining amongst the rest of the instruments. I think the song also does a good job showcasing the vocals of each of the members in a more innocent and charming manner. (8/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.8/10

The End Of Nightmare Teaser Image

recommended red round grunge vintage ribbon stamp

[Review] PIRI – Dream Catcher

Known for their horror theme comebacks (I previously formed video theory posts regarding their horror ‘Nightmare’ series featuring the music videos of Fly High, You & IChase Me and Good Night), Dream Catcher has made their horrifying return today with PIRI. This is the group’s first comeback since their What promotions back in Septemeber. Since then, the group made their Japanese debut with the Japanese version of What and also released another single (Over The Sky) for their fans in celebration of their 3rd year anniversary since debut.

PIRI, after a very quick Google search, is a Korean instrument made from bamboo,  which is often heard in Korean folk music. I am not 100% sure but it seems like PIRI opens up with a whistling sound, which I think could be an actual piri instrument. But it is used as a detail, on top of the group signature rock instrumental sound. It is another intense song that really showcases another powerful side of the group. I did like the moments where the rock instrumental was stripped away for a soft piano. But the best bit was when the instrumental went for a full rock out during the chorus. The vocals were superb in the song. But the rapping is what caught my attention, once again. We all know how good Dami is, as per the group’s previous comebacks, but Dami is joined by Gahyeon in this song and she gives Dami some competition. Overall, PIRI is another amazing song from the group.

I think of the reason why I am drawn to Dream Catcher comebacks is for the visuals. Sure, the song is always a selling point but to this date, no other girl group has attempted the horror concept to a successful degree. In this video, the group is trying to make their way out of the mansion and come across haunting corridors and objects. Connected corridors that lead to the same spot, creepy dolls that turn their heads by themselves, multiple ringing phones and ticking clocks and a TV that shows a second version of yourself. I find the contrast between the darkness in the plot scenes and the brightness form the choreography scenes very interesting for this video.

I thought the choreography for this comeback was quite cool. Dream Catcher always has fitting dance moves for their rock-influenced songs. I like the many waves they made during the verses and the introductory sequence looked really cool. I also liked the touch of power they gave during the chorus.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10

[Album Review] Alone In The City (3rd Mini Album) – Dream Catcher

Given the amazing title track, I thought I would prioritise the album review for Dream Catcher’s latest mini-album. And this is where we are today. The female group returned recently with What and Alone In The City (their 3rd mini-album since debut). The album contains a total of 6 tracks, including an introductory instrumental piece (which sounds amazing) and the instrumental for their title track. Like usual, I elected not review these two tracks but have done so for the songs in between.

Alone In The City Album Cover

2. What (Title Track) Click here to read the full review for What. (10/10)

3. WonderlandWonderland can be considered the opposite of the group’s title track. It is slow and smooth, almost like a sensual R&B song. Almost though, because their vocals don’t really fit into that image. Their vocals were good, but I am not too sure what their lead to. I thought the ‘Hush Hush Hush’ chorus was nicely done, being a key memorable section of the song. I find the rap interesting because I feel like they could have gone for an intense rap sequence. But rather, they kept to the song’s direction and made it soft and not like rapping whatsoever. Overall, the song was nice and a nice compliment to their intense title track. (8/10)

4. Trap – Jumping on board with everyone on this Trap bandwagon, I was totally interested in this song as it sounded nice during the highlight medley. But unfortunately, I think I am the only person on this planet that doesn’t feel too impressed with the track. I enjoyed the chorus on its own. However, I felt like they could have had more interesting verses and a better drop. These sections did pull down the song. Vocals were nice but the raping was underwhelming. I really did try to enjoy the song like how everyone else did but I can’t really get over this disappointment. (6/10)

5. July 7th (약속해 우리) – I think the best song on the album (apart from the album’s title track) is July 7th. It takes on a reggae sound without necessarily going down a typical route. Also, I liked how it didn’t use much, besides a simple beat that didn’t get too repetitive, surprisingly. It was a great song that showcased their vocals. I believe Dami (the rapper) had a singing moment in this song and if this is the case, I want to hear more of her voice. Simplicity is key and this song proves just that. (9/10)

Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10

Alone In The City Teaser Image

[Review] What – Dream Catcher

Dream Catcher is officially back with their first comeback since wrapping up their horror-themed quadrilogy. The new comeback is titled, What, and it features on their 3rd mini-album, Alone In The City. But have they really wrapped up their quadrilogy? I will talk about that later. And if you do not have a clue what I am talking about, you can have a read of my four-part music theory by clicking here (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 & Part 4). But now, on with the review.

If there was one word to sum this song up, it is definitely ‘epic’. The very dramatic yet powerful piano start kicked the song perfectly for me, before leading into the upbeat rock styled instrumental that the group commonly releases. However, there is power and the intense energy behind the wong, which makes it so ‘epic’. There is also an urban side to the song, which I thought was fitting for the concept but definitely added a nice tone to the song. The ‘What What What‘ gave the song some angst and attitude, which isn’t anything new but quite fresh when you think about. The singing in this song was top notch but the real winner for this song is the rapping. I am totally in love with the bridge of the song, with Dami’s rapping definitely a show-stopper and the complete stillness with Jiu’s section. Overall, What is epically amazing and I am in awe of the song.

Now, returning to the music video. Is the horror theme over? I think not. The storyline (if I can figure one out) doesn’t seem to be as intense and explicit as their past four music videos. However. the same book which made an appearance in Good Night makes an appearance in this video. However, it is also seen sprouting a flower. And there is no way you can explain ‘looking under your bed prior to sleeping’ or bloody curtains without a horror context. Hence why I think this may be a continuation or at least a follow up to that concept that they have nailed so far. I  thought the sets look good and the cinematography was amazing,


I like the performance but I am not 100% keen on it. I thought the moves during the verses were very fitting, pairing well with the softer nature of the verses. But once the chorus kicked in and the rock elements were more powerful, I thought the moves would have matched that change in intensity. But it looked very like there was a mismatch. But the ‘What What What‘ moments were good.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 7/10
Overall Rating – 9.1/10

[Music Video Theory] Dream Catcher Horror Series – Good Night

Welcome to my latest attempt at interpreting music videos. I will be posting 4 posts for Dream Catcher’s horror-themed music videos, which are all interlinked. I will be posting the theories in the order in which they occur in chronological order (Fly High > You & I > Chase Me > Good Night) throughout the day. Like Monsta X’s review, I have a special code when I mention the members to make it easier to write.

Jiu – JIU
Sua – SUA
Siyeon – SY
Handong – HD
Yoohyun – YH
Dami – DM
Gahyeon – GY

Setting The Scene

The video opens up with the guy in his office, which seems to be filled with research into ghosts and darkness. It makes me think like he is some sort of evil destroyer, seeking out evil spirits and removing them from their setting.


The Forest

We then see YH and SY running throughout the forest in coloured dresses. It seems like they are running away from someone (it is shown to be the guy – I think). However, they don’t seem to be hiding from whoever they are running from. Instead, SY looks like she is checking something. Halfway during the video, we see him get a little too close to them. So YH and SY create 3 stick people and hang them in the tree for him.


The Book and The Mirrors

The guy has a chained book on his shelf. He takes the book and proceeds to unlock it and read it. In the book, it shows how the girls are trapped inside in the book. Their ghost may be bound to the mansion but the evil beings are shown to be inside the book. GY is seen inside the book, falling into darkness. SUA is shown to be held onto by shrunken hands. All of these shows how the members are trapped.  Some of them seem to be stuck in mirrors, which show the parallel universe to the one the guy is in. 


Opening the book may have been a bad idea, as the girls start to reappear around him within the mirrors.  He approaches the mirror, where he sees JIU once again.


We then see 3 girls (DM, JIU and HD) staring back at him. They do another ritual, allowing DAMI to enter the universe the guy is in and steal the locked book. They take pages out of the book and burn them, setting the trapped members free. (Sua doesn’t burn but the leaves and hands on her do). The passing of leadership might be present here as DAMI is in charge of saving the members.



The final stage of their plan is to switch places with him. They somehow distract him by messing up his place, dropping the dream catcher in the process. He goes over to pick it up and realizes that is a mistake (he remembers the 3 stick figures from the forest). He suddenly becomes trapped in the mirror, while the 3 girls are free. Once they are free, they don black cloaks with gold lining.


At the end, we see all them together once again. Each wearing the dame black cloaks. JIU has returned to be a leader and one of the girls end up dropping the book. It is safe to assume that they transferred him out of the mirror and into the book. Dropping the book in the forest where nobody would find it seems to be an excellent way of getting rid of their problem.


And that is it. All 4 music video theories and how they are interlinked done. Apologies for how delayed this is. I had to postpone it due to a busy workload and once again for finetuning purposes.

So, do you agree or do you think there is something else?

If you have yet to read the other theories, click the links below!

Fly High Music Video Theory
You & I Music Video Theory
Chase Me Music Video Theory

[Music Video Theory] Dream Catcher Horror Series – Chase Me

Welcome to my latest attempt at interpreting music videos. I will be posting 4 posts for Dream Catcher’s horror-themed music videos, which are all interlinked. I will be posting the theories in the order in which they occur in chronological order (Fly High > You & I > Chase Me > Good Night) throughout the day. Like Monsta X’s review, I have a special code when I mention the members to make it easier to write.

Jiu – JIU
Sua – SUA
Siyeon – SY
Handong – HD
Yoohyun – YH
Dami – DM
Gahyeon – GY

Please note that I believe the scenes are somewhat jumbled and I have rearranged them to fit in with what I think is going on. 

Setting The Scene

Many, many centuries/decades passed. The camera in You and I and camera in Catch Me is proof of this.


The guy checks into room 808. From the start, it is known that he is a paranormal investigator and that he is investigating the haunted castle, where the girls are bound to (JIU closed the gates to the mansion in the Fly High video). As he struggles to get into the door, the lights flicker, and we see JIU standing in the hallway, holding a doll dressed in red. He sees her but when he directs his camera to her, she cannot be seen in the camera view.


Once he does get into his innocent looking room, he takes out his files that he had compiled on the girls and started to mark down that he saw JIU. However, his pencil broke and had a bloody nose. No doubt that the girls caused this time. He decides to take a rest, as a result.


The picture he had acquired is the same as the girls shown in Fly High and You & I, confirming that they are dead and that they have been dead for a very long time. I also remembered that they wore their kimonos in the reverse order, which is commonly associated with the dead.

Let The Scaring Begin…

During his rest, he is hypnotized by SUA. (The way she swung the pendant was like how she rang the bell in Fly High). He wakes up knowing she is there but after turning back, she is no longer there. The hypnosis seems to be the start of something as he starts seeing that his reflection is delayed, and he starts getting nightmares when he sleeps.


We are then shown a ritual scene, where DM is lying on the ground and all the members are surrounding her. One of the items around her, of interest, is the red doll, which JIU was holding onto (SUA is also in the middle). Their plan, whatever it is at this stage is taking into effect. As mentioned previously, JIU was leader after she became possessed/evil in You & I. The use of her doll in this ritual might be a transfer of leadership to another member. This will be important in the next video.


Each member takes a turn at tormenting the guy. SY holds the door in place, GY throws books onto the ground. JIU floats in the hallway. YH changes all the room numbers to room 808, confusing him in a later scene.


The Ending…

At the bridge of the song, we see him inspecting the surveillance system, which I assumed he installed himself. He sees confronting images of himself crawling away from something or someone. It isn’t shown on camera, but we see a flashback to JIU walking towards him. This convinces him that enough is enough, and he brings an axe to his room. He starts swinging the axe, the main goal being to break down the door and hotel, one step at a time.



However, when he steps back into the room, we do not see his room. Instead, we see a warm coloured room, shown as one of the rooms the girls used to play in. On the wall is that old picture of the group, enlarged. He smiles in the room, which I am not sure why he does so.


And that is my interpretation of the video. What do you think happened or do you agree with me? There are still many gaps that I am not sure of and despite looking into some other theories, I can’t think of anything that may fill up those gaps.

I will be posting my Good Night Music Video Theory after this one (The Final Part). If You haven’t read the theory for Fly High, CLICK HERE or if you haven’t read the theory for You & I, CLICK HERE.

[Music Video Theory] Dream Catcher Horror Series – You & I

Welcome to my latest attempt at interpreting music videos. I will be posting 4 posts for Dream Catcher’s horror-themed music videos, which are all interlinked. I will be posting the theories in the order in which they occur in chronological order (Fly High > You & I > Chase Me > Good Night) throughout the day. Like Monsta X’s review, I have a special code when I mention the members to make it easier to write.

Jiu – JIU
Sua – SUA
Siyeon – SY
Handong – HD
Yoohyun – YH
Dami – DM
Gahyeon – GY

Please note that I believe the scenes are somewhat jumbled and I have rearranged them to fit in with what I think is going on. 

Setting The Scene


The events of the You & I music video is YH’s nightmare. She was possessed (in my mind) when she killed the spider but this could have been a weak curse (as the spider had to be killed before the full curse got to the other members), so the spider’s hold onto YH was weak. So when she is transferred to the nightmare, the curse is lifted and she follows the rules set by the other members (who were strongly possessed). For example, she follows SY and becomes a photographer (as she didn’t know how to get out). There is also a change in leadership, as SY was also the leader. This could have occurred during the forest trip in Fly High.




Once each member was possessed, they get transferred to the nightmare (an alternate reality) alongside SY. We don’t see much of the others except for DM, JIU, SY and YH. HD is bound, GY interacts with her reflection, SUA is around. Not sure why some members are shown in a limited way and why they are where they are.

Dami & The Glass Dome

For DM, her inexperienced magic powers cause her to become stuck in the dome. As her magic matures, she magicked up a stick and broke the glass.


Yoohyun’s Retransition to Evil (again)

While taking a picture, YH encounters a lady, who turns out to be the spider. Proof that YH had her curse lifted is that she became scared of the presence of the spider. She is knocked out. She then wakes up again with the evil inside her.



JIU at the start is running through the halls. I assumed she had some ‘good’ within her because as she ran around, she looked genuinely concerned and scared. She stops at a spinning top, clearly not want to stop it spinning. Why she stopped? Nobody knows but it seems like she does – as if stopping the top will cause something bad to happen. One of the scenes showing an evil spirit almost getting to her, but we don’t see the aftermath of that close encounter.



It seems like JIU is helping YH by doing some ritual that allows YH the chance to run to a portal that would get her out of the nightmare. That is what we are made to think. But in reality, the dark spirit got to JIU (as I said, we didn’t see the aftermath) and caused her to become fully evil. She baits YH into thinking this plan might work and that she can escape. My question is why would JIU help YH become free while the rest of the members are standing around them and not doing anything? SY is the ring-leader (she is the one in charge of the photos), so why doesn’t she stop them? Because JIU is evil and is tempting YH. Everyone else knows about the plan, everyone besides YH.



The evil spirit is lifted (temporarily) allowing YH to run towards the now closing portal (I think this is linked to the top. If JIU stopped the top, she would have closed the portal and therefore she could not convince YH that this will work).



The leader consistently changes, with JIU becoming the leader after she becomes evil. Hence, why nobody stopped her. 

YH runs towards the portal but it closes. And at the same time, the evil returns, latching onto her. As a result, she passes out and the members surround her once again, waking her up.



And that is my interpretation of the video. What do you think happened or do you agree with me? There are still many gaps that I am not sure of and despite looking into some other theories, I can’t think of anything that may fill up those gaps.

I will be posting my Chase Me Music Video Theory after this one. Good Night will be published soon after. If you haven’t read the Fly High theory, the start of this story, CLICK HERE!

[Music Video Theory] Dream Catcher Horror Series – Fly High

Welcome to my latest attempt at interpreting music videos. I will be posting 4 posts for Dream Catcher’s horror-themed music videos, which are all interlinked. I will be posting the theories in the order in which they occur in chronological order (Fly High > You & I > Chase Me > Good Night) throughout the day. Like Monsta X’s review, I have a special code when I mention the members to make it easier to write.

Jiu – JIU
Sua – SUA
Siyeon – SY
Handong – HD
Yoohyun – YH
Dami – DM
Gahyeon – GY

Please note that I believe the scenes are somewhat jumbled and I have rearranged them to fit in with what I think is going on. 

Setting The Scene

The girls were once happy and cheerful girls, shown in the very sunny and bright lighting at the start of the video. They seem to be living in this old mansion, which seems to be a boarding school.


How The Girls Became Evil?

The video starts off with JIU finding a spider in the courtyard while on one of their outings. She traps it in a jar and brings it into the mansion to keep as a pet.


After this time, the girls start becoming possessed one by one. We are not shown why this is case until the end. After JIU brings her new spider friend into the house, YH comes over with a magnifying glass and burns the spider alive, killing it. This somehow unleashes the spider’s cursed spirit (an important detail in You & I video), possessing the girl’s one by one.


YH might already be possessed prior to killing the spider as the way she moves in her solo closeup. While it was shown later on, YH spent a lot of time alone while in the mansion (her throwing the paper plane). It was likely during one of the lonely moments she came across the mirror in the garden, which drew her attention. Once she made contact, she becomes possessed, shown by the black paint dripping down the mirror afterwards. 


The cursed spider spirit caused GY and HD to become possessed. GY was strapped to the bed. Soon after, we see someone’s hand cover her eyes. As for HD, one moment we see her in a bathtub alive, the next, there is a slight tinge of pink in the water and hands are motionless. Possibly, the same person who possessed GY possed HD as well. 


Sua, Siyeon, Dami

SUA seems to be the leader in this video, as she is always sitting at the end of the table and attention is drawn to her at all times when they are together.


I don’t know how SY fits into my theory. She appears at the very start, holding her bunny doll looking towards the mansion as if she knows what is going to happen (and if that is the case, she was the very first member to be possessed, though I do not know how). She, along with SUA venture into the forest and obtain books (2 from of them, from the image below). It is during this adventure that SUA becomes possessed, as they come back wearing black cloaks.


DM most likely became possessed due to the books she was reading. DUA seemed to be holding two books and these books were placed onto the shelves. DM used those books to study music but they might have been cursed and caused her to become possessed also.


Member of Interest – JIU

The video focuses on JIU as the final unpossessed member. Unknown to her, the curse has already created an evil persona (shown when JIU walks in on herself playing the piano). This causes her to run.

As she is running out of the mansion, she constantly checks behind herself, as if she is scared. HOWEVER, I personally think that the evil version is running away from the good version. (Note the navy outfit she was wearing. It is the same as the navy outfit in the choreography shots, which is paired with gloomy skies. And gloomy skies occur because the brightness has disappeared – i.e. darkness arrived). Once evil JIU gets to the gate, she closes it (instead of running out), effectively sealing her and everyone else within the mansion.


I think if JIU, if she was 100% evil or 100% good, she would have kept the gate opened and ran out. Instead, there might be some good in JIU, leading to her thinking that closing the gate will be better for the rest of the world (and her friends). We see a shot of her standing on a white cliff, with blue butterflies flying about. They end up burning but the white setting remained, representing that some good is still within her.


The Ending

SUA is seen cutting into their image with a knife. Don’t know the significance of this scene. 


We then see the members playing around in the garden before it is shown the members standing still. Seems to show the before possession and after possession.


And that is my interpretation of the video. What do you think happened or do you agree with me? There are still many gaps that I am not sure of and despite looking into some other theories, I can’t think of anything that may fill up those gaps.

I will be posting my You & I Music Video Theory after this one. Chase Me and Good Night will be published soon after.