Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
A sense of continuity is so important when it comes to albums, and that’s why I love when idol groups stick with a small group of composers. Genre-wise, Dreamcatcher’s Dystopia is actually pretty diverse, but every song is spearheaded by producers LEEZ and Ollounder. They lend the album a specific vision, and that makes it hold together. Even though I think title track Scream is the definite standout, every b-side is worthy of attention simply because of the high production value and unexpected musical twists.
It will probably surprise no one that I am a big proponent of Black Or White. I’ve always loved guitar-driven funk, and this track nudges Dreamcatcher down that route. The song opens with an excellent riff, surprisingly groovy and distorted with a scuzzy texture. Marching band percussion quickly follows before the instrumental moves into a symphonic interlude. The beat drops again for the chorus, which manages to feel minimalist and full at the same time.
Post-chorus rap breaks are usually my least favorite part of any modern K-pop song, but Black Or White turns this segment into an asset by bringing back its central guitar riff to underline the rap. It’s a smart twisting of expectations, and keeps the song moving. The instrumental continues to morph as the song draws toward its conclusion, and it’s amazing how streamlined the production feels. There are so many ideas stuffed into this track, but it never feels busy or disjointed. That’s a tricky balance to pull off.
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