The world of k-pop girl groups is general pretty uniform. I often hear people complain that all boy group songs sound the same, but I’d argue that that’s even more common when it comes to the girls. In 2016, a specific blend of cutesy and quirky became especially prevalent, resulting in some tremendous songs but also a ton of copycats. The fact that Dreamcatcher’s debut single is such a total break from this sound is worth praise on its own. Luckily, it’s also got a strong melody and production to back up its novelty.
Chase Me first sounds a bit like a VIXX track, all haunting piano and atmospheric synths. Soon, a filtered beat lurches into the mix before the song’s prominent electric guitar transforms the instrumental into something closer to goth dance rock. This sound is pretty common in Japan, but represents a complete tonal shift from current k-pop. As a constant advocate for more rock guitars within the genre, it’s an aural experiment that makes me very happy.
And it really works wonders, particularly during Chase Me‘s punchy, sing-along chorus. The verses are less interesting, offering lulls in the action when I’d rather have a full-on blast from start to finish. I suppose the intensity of the hook and post-chorus guitar solo calls for a less frantic verse, but I would have loved to have heard a more prominent beat throughout rather than the heavy contrast we get between the ballad-like verses and explosive chorus. But even if the song itself isn’t completely perfect, Dreamcatcher have certainly made their intentions known through Chase Me. I hope they keep with this style, pushing girl group k-pop in a harder-edged direction.