Though they have yet to make major waves in Korea, Dreamcatcher have captured the imagination of many fans through their rock-infused, j-pop inspired sound. This resulted in the brilliant Chase Me last January, but I was in the minority when it came to follow-up single Good Night. I think the group is at their best when they merge their rock elements with a more traditional k-pop dance structure to create something entirely new. Good Night just felt too much like straight-ahead, generic j-rock.
New single Fly High (날아올라) fixes this problem, offering a structure closer to GFriend’s anthemic pop material while maintaining Dreamcatcher’s hard rock edge. Its hooks aren’t quite as sharp as Chase Me‘s, but the song still captivates with its creative mash of genres. Fly High opens with an atmospheric flourish of piano before launching into a robust instrumental that punctuates a propulsive dance beat with dramatic stabs of crushing guitar. The arrangement remains dynamic throughout, switching between soaring, strings-assisted melodies and darker bursts of heavy metal. The brief middle eight is especially gorgeous, pulling open the song with a softer, more symphonic respite that builds towards a dramatic transition into the final chorus.
All the while, the girls prove themselves more than up to the task, delivering a theatrical performance that calls for a more diverse and powerful approach than most girl groups. They seem to have fully embraced this sound, which prevents the whole thing from feeling like one big gimmick. Most importantly, Fly High solidifies Dreamcatcher’s unique identity within the crowded k-pop market. The hype is clearly building, and for good reason.
I find “Fly High” somewhat lacking in that rock edge, compared to “Chase Me” and “Good Night”. Also, I think the other songs “Sleep-walking” and “Wake Up” are also worth reviewing.
I think the fact that the rock elements are more of an ornamentation than a driving force this time around is why I like it. I can see how fans of their past material might be a bit underwhelmed, though.
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