Review

Song Review: Dreamcatcher – Scream

While I’ve enjoyed everything Dreamcatcher have released so far, my absolute favorite tracks were never promoted. I love when the group meshes their J-rock style with unexpected elements, like the psy-trance of last year’s Silent Night or the hard-hitting electro of 2017’s Sleep-Walking. For years now, I’ve longed for a Dreamcatcher title track that shares these sensibilities. With Scream, the girls have finally delivered. During a month where most groups have settled for trendy, uninspiring fare, this song is a beacon of creativity.

I’m not much of a metalhead, but I do love the symphonic rock of Finnish group Nightwish. Like that group’s music, Scream is bolstered by a theatricality that tempers its heaviness. It feels like Dreamcatcher’s most fully-realized blend of rock and K-pop yet. Scream accomplishes this by twisting a familiar structure with left-field instrumental touches and arrangements. Its chorus is largely wordless and melody-free, but rather than succumb to the overused EDM-drop-as-hook, Scream wallops the listener with a galvanizing mix of heavy guitar and synth strings. It’s not unlike Stray Kids’ Side Effects from last year, though Dreamcatcher follow a much more traditional template.

At this point, I feel like I should offer a deep bow to producers LEEZ and Ollounder. These past few months have been very lackluster and repetitive in the K-pop world, but their productions have stood as 2020’s biggest highlights so far. They zig when everyone else zags, and that’s exactly what the industry needs right now. Like their work with ATEEZ, Scream has a larger-than-life sense of drama to it, heightened by Dreamcatcher’s explosive performance. It doesn’t lag for one moment. Even when the track plunges into the dreaded post-chorus breakdown (easily my least favorite segment of any modern K-pop song), the tempo shift is saved by crunchy guitar. Wailing, rock opera ad-libs pepper the instrumental chorus, adding a jolt of cinematic energy just as the percussion hits with renewed fury. It’s a thrilling mix, and helps to anchor the group’s most instant, ambitious single yet.

 Hooks 8
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9

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13 thoughts on “Song Review: Dreamcatcher – Scream

  1. What, actually? I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with you this strongly on a title track review. I’m kind of floored.

    If you want to know my thoughts, you can flip your reactions and you’ll have a pretty accurate picture. This just sounds like the producers made a standard darker girl group track, slapped some guitars on top, and called it Dreamcatcher. It’s not an awful song by any means—I do really enjoy the song up to the first chorus, as well as the bridge, and I quite like the energy of the production. The girls really sell what I’ll admit is a well produced song that does what it set out to do. I just can’t understand how something that you consider a burst of needed creativity in the K-Pop landscape can come across as such a polar opposite to me.

    Though I do feel the need to mention my near-certainty that the track will grow on me (I think it already is!) and that I’ll laugh at my initial response later… God. I really am not a fan of this one.

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  2. Was waiting for this all day because it felt like they delivered exactly what you asked for in the Silent Night review and I loved it just as much as you did. Curious to hear your thoughts on the album which I think is the strongest full album I’ve heard in a while

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is kind of what I wished GFriend would have veered more towards with their comeback if that makes sense
    Dreamcatcher’s strongest to date in my opinion. The ending really makes you want to listen to it all over again. Interested in your thoughts on the b-sides!

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  4. While I agree with you on most of your points in the review, I feel like this song really lacked any hooks. Piri was a song that got me immediately thanks to the hooks. Scream doesn’t really have anything thing that keeps me thinking about it. It is still a great song, I just wish it was any catchy as their previous tracks

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  5. I Loved it!
    Probably one of my favourite Dreamcatcher titles yet. The album is also fantastic, some of the songs (expectedly) sound almost like a gg version of an ATEEZ track and I’m here for it.
    But my favourite B-side’s are probably Tension (classic DC but even more anime esque), Black or White (that hook!) and In The Frozen (Love me some psytrance). Hoping for a buried treasure for this soon!

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  6. Love this track and I have a feeling it’s only going to grow on me more with time. Curious what you’ll pick as the buried treasure – personally I’m very partial to the haunted music box sound of Red Sun but there’s a lot of great songs on the album!

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  7. You are the only one, many said that this is not perfect, and I totally disagree, the chorus is just everything, and not only that, but it really follows such a beautiful template, this is seriously amazing 🔥🔥🔥

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I personally prefer Black or White and Jazz Bar as I love that genre, but Black or White and In the Frozen is too good, Red Sun is good and unique might be slow burn, but could be a good concept.

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  9. I have in the past had the same train of thoughts as Katie – that Dreamcatcher is essentially basic girl group with the synth lite backing track swapped out for heavy guitars and drums. I still believe this for a fair bit of Dreamcatcher back catalog.

    For this song, I love it. It takes the sonic landscape that Ateez and Stray Kids are bringing to kpop with all their theatricality and drama, and melds it with the classic Dreamcatcher sound. I think Dreamcatcher are perhaps the only girl group active today who could plausibly evolve their sound to this. (There could be smaller groups, but no one comes to mind. 3YE is the only one I know so far bringing the Billie Eillish sound to kpop.)

    That said, it isn’t perfect, in particular the the vocal landscaping could be better. There is essentially three vocals sounds: Soft and airy. Artificially deep rap – below their range with a pushed heavy sound, x2. And 3 lead singers who all have the same timbre, at the same intensity, and technique, which doesn’t change between the verse prechorus and chorus. I had to watch the lyric video because it all sounded Siyeon to me, it isn’t, there are three that all sound just like Siyeon. The song swoops and soars because of the instrumental, not because of the vocal performance. So once again, as with the back catalog, Dreamcatcher is relying on the backing track swapped out for heavy guitars and drums, albeit this time adding a cool trance synth.

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  10. WOW!

    I’m a Dreamcatcher stan, but I don’t need to cash in a single bias chip when I say that I absolutely love this song. It plays to all of their strengths. Even the obligatory rap segments don’t feel shoe-horned in. If anyone asks me who Dreamcatcher is, then this will be the song that I point them to.

    I mentioned before, that with each group I often have a ‘plateau’ song among their back catalog. The one song that I think will be their “magnum opus” after the group is gone. “Scream” is now sitting in that spot now.

    P.S. In a previous post, I mentioned that it has been too long since I’ve been able to plunk down a “10” rating on a song. I’m still not there, but this song got me so damned close.

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  11. Forget what I said about ATEEZ filling the dark, high-concept K-pop void left by VIXX; Dreamcatcher is doing that instead! I think the K-pop industry is generally unwilling to make their female artists appear scary for a concept, but Dreamcatcher is getting close and I’m here for it. Scream has a clear concept conveyed through visuals, choreography, and lyrics, and the girls pull it off with wonderful intensity and magnetism. I hope in the next installment we get more plot.

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