If any K-pop act is poised for Japanese success, it would have to be Dreamcatcher. Their rock-infused sound pulls heavily from J-pop aesthetics. Heavy metal guitars are still very much in vogue when it comes to Japan’s eclectic taste, making the group’s cross-country transition a natural one. Imagine my shock, then, when their first original Japanese single Breaking Out opens with a verse almost entirely driven by tropical pop.
This turns out to be a red herring, as the song’s bombastic chorus reverts to Dreamcatcher’s signature metal-meets-dance style. Thank god the group has continued to play to their strengths. The song’s flirtation with tropical production is as generic as it gets. You could basically paste any K-pop act over these segments and get the same result.
Once Breaking Out’s dramatic guitars enter the fray, the song transforms into something much more dynamic. I wouldn’t rank it among Dreamcatcher’s very best, but the chorus has a punchy energy that doesn’t sacrifice rhythm. I love the strong percussion, which pairs well with subtle symphonic elements to create a standout atmosphere. Unfortunately, the track quickly pulls back to its ho-hum tropical base for verse two. These moments feel like time killers until we get back to the good stuff, which gives Breaking Out a frustrating sense of unbalance. Thankfully, its highlights are strong enough to compensate for its derivative temptations. Through it all, the girls absolutely attack the material they’re given, which goes a long way towards selling the song in convincing fashion.
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