My reactions to DreamNote’s singles have been pretty polarized so far. I was not a fan of their self-referencing debut, but follow-up Hakuna Matata wormed its way into my top fifty tracks of 2019. New single Wish (바라다) falls somewhere in the middle, borrowing elements from both songs without pushing the group’s sound in any exciting directions.
Wish opens with the kind of synth-xylophone loop that has worked its way into so many recent K-pop tracks. To be honest, the first time through I just had to pause the song here and collect myself. Few instrumental samples make me as irrationally angry. Thankfully, this production flourish is buried within the mix as the track goes on. Instead, Wish presents another K-pop trope that does my head in. Its verses are delivered in the overly-perky sing-talk style that is a favorite among many new-gen girl groups. The next two tracks on DreamNote’s album prove that the group is more than capable of delivering a strong, unaffected vocal performance. I don’t know why they opt for this cartoony, cooing approach. It feels reductive, to both the song and the girls themselves.
Moving on, Wish segues into its best series of moments – the percussive pre-chorus and sharp, assured chorus. The vocal performance becomes more robust (minus some aegyo asides) and the tempo finally catches fire. Frustratingly, this goodwill is (surprise, surprise!) sabotaged by a half-time, trap-infused breakdown. Is this just a part of the K-pop formula now? It’s so frustrating to be able to predict the exact pitfalls a new single will succumb to. And in Wish’s case, there just aren’t enough strong elements to counter the many qualms I have with the track.
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Though I can understand why, it’s too bad you spent most of this review detailing the negatives since I enjoyed the song quite a bit and find it to be their best effort yet—Hakuna Matata did have the 80s infusion going for it but I found this more polished overall and didn’t mind the saccharine vocals too much (though I agree it’d be much stronger without….b-side Bittersweet is such a stark contrast). It’s not *spectacular* but it is enjoyable. I think if they can work out the kinks (and have more frequent comebacks) DreamNote will be a group to watch in the vein of GWSN.
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Yeah, sorry for the grumpy post. It’s one of those times where more than one K-pop trend I hate happened to be present in the same song. The review actually sounds worse than what I think about the song overall, but sometimes I just can’t help myself 🙂
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It’s funny that you brought up GWSN in your comment because that’s which group popped into my head when Nick referenced “synth-xylophone” as a peeve. GWSN liberally uses this sound in all of their title tracks (which I love, btw) so while I agree with your comment, I also side with Nick on his feelings about “Wish”. So, once again… ROCK <> HARD PLACE.
Exactly, when I heard it first, I was like here we go again, but after listening to it on repeat, I liked it, not totally but the sound still I want them do something on Hakuna Matata direction ❤️
I really enjoyed the song! The pre-chorus and chorus remind me of WJSN while the verses remind me of Iz*one. One of my favorites from this year (doesn’t say much, but) I’m sorry about the xylo, hope they won’t happen much this year.
I am not in this target demographic. But in my opinion this song could use someone stepping on the gas pedal to speed it up a few bpm, and a bit more helium. Or at least that was what made Hakuna Matata better by a few ticks vs this one.
“synth-xylophone …To be honest, the first time through I just had to pause the song here and collect myself.” = same here! I was going to search on youtube to see if someone helpfully compiled the couple dozen examples from 2019 alone, but once again I was distracted by N.Flying Into the Unknown cover in my feed.
Just listen to every title track from GWSN (Puzzle Moon, Pinky Star(Run), Red Sun (021)) and you’ll have your sample base. Just don’t expect me to show up at the rally with you and Nick because I lub those three songs. 🙂
I had GWSN “Pinky Star” on frequent play last spring. Alphabetically just above GWSN is Gugudan, and I had Chococo on frequent play when it was released too.
But beating them both for helium song play count is the gugudan Oguogu subgroup “Ice Chu”. Man oh man, I love that song.
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Yeah, ICE CHU is a guilty pleasure for me as well. The post-chorus is divoon. Sadly, we’ll never get another gugudan 5959 (gugudan ogu ogu) again, as Hyeyeon flew the coop back in 2018, citing studies/health/(insert boilerplate) reasons.
Another ear-bleeding delight is Heyne’s “Red Lie” (from 2014). Haven’t seen anything out of her since 2018 and she’s now 27, so who knows if she’s even still around.
Reference (H:RL): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COWvLZ7HDqA
Then there’s Han Hye Ri from Produce 101/I.B.I. She hasn’t dropped anything since 2017. I’ll link a Golden Tamborine performance from 2017 that features Kang Si-ra (black shorts), Hye Ri (Union Jack shorts), and Sohee (red shorts). They’re all from P101. You may recognize Sohee as the new member in Nature. This performance freaked out a few people because Hye Ri was always presented as an innocent girl scout.
Reference (GT:JYP): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9N2jhjq2OA
Oh yeah? I see your defunct GG and raise you a Tiny G
I love this song.
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Throwing my skarf into the ring…
Following the loss of Hanbyeol (visual center/maknae) for personal reasons, and Habin (think TWICE’s Chaeyoung, or Sporty Spice if you’re not a young whippersnapper) for health reasons, some worried for the future of DreamNote. Then, “Dream Wish” dropped. Now, I’m worried for the future of DreamNote.
This new mini-album confuses me. If you listen to “Wish” attentively, you can hear a decent melody hidden under most of the track. It’s most noticeable when the singing starts (up to the 0:30 mark) and again when you hear the lyrics “Let me fly, fly and high…” (0:59 mark). I like those parts, but that’s like saying, “this is a really beautiful stream, if it wasn’t littered with so much invasive debris.”. If they had just… (and there it is). If I have to make a “If they..” comment, then a song tends to never make any of my playlists.
Track listing for Dream Wish:
1. Wish – Title track
2. Love is so amazing – A smooth up-tempo ballad, with hints of WJSN’s sound. Currently my fave from this release.
3. Bittersweet – Pleasant toe-tapper with a splash of funk.
4. La Isla Bonita – Exactly what you’d expect a DreamNote/español song to sound like. Not bad, actually.
5. Wish (Instrumental)
Reference #1 (Lisa): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obp726C8R-8
Reference #2 (B): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifmUlBiUopY
Reference #3 (LIB): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L2wNCI6mCg
I actually quite like this! I still prefer Hakuna Matata though, and could do without the cutesy vocals, but it doesnt bother me enough to dislike the song.
Bittersweet is definitely a standout track.