Review

Buried Treasure: Lovelyz – Dream In A Dream

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.


Lovelyz’ albums are largely interchangeable, and I say this as a fan. They have their styles and they stick to them, and that has allowed them to develop a consistently solid discography. So, even as title track Obliviate steers their sound in new directions, the rest of Unforgettable has a more classic Woollim touch. I’m not sure that there are any knock-your-socks-off standouts among the four b-sides, but Dream In A Dream (자각몽) is worth spotlighting.

In an alternate world, this might have been the title track. It would have been a victory lap of sorts, celebrating various touchstones from the group’s singles run. It has the light, frothy energy of their debut-era material, but also includes some more idiosyncratic touches that echo their later work. Opening with a music box-like intro, the track quickly bounds into a sprightly electro beat, stuffed with competing elements that forge a fantastical atmosphere.

However, Dream In A Dream’s true standout is its chorus. It has a breathless energy, unveiling a swift refrain delivered by a layered vocal. Then, the hook transforms into a more rhythmic, clipped arrangement that reminds me of 80’s new wave. It’s an interesting mix that grows even more dynamic as we reach Dream’s finale. A barrage of high notes gives the track tons of drama that sends it out on a high. But, the entire song unfolds with an interesting structure. It plays with tempo and energy throughout, pulling back and surging forward to fascinating effect.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5

~

18 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Lovelyz – Dream In A Dream

  1. In my mind, this song is quite a knockout. It reminds me a lot of WJSN’s “Pantomime” in its unexpected twists and turns and how it pushes its group’s sound to its more abstract edges. It also reminds me of Red Velvet’s “Happily Ever After,” or something from Pink Tape or Red Light. It really has that freewheeling, unbridled electro-pop energy of doing pretty much anything it wants. Also, I was pretty sure you’d pick “Memories” for a buried treasure, since from what I’ve gathered it seems to be more your style, so this was a nice surprise.

    On another note, mini albums have seriously increased in quality as of late. They were once pretty inessential but now it feels like each recent (really just 2020) release has been unusually strong (TXT, GFriend, ITZY, Twice, Hwasa, WJSN, GWSN, ATEEZ, Baekhyun, etc.), and now I feel like I have to listen to most releases or else I’ll miss some really great playlist additions or contenders for the best B-sides of 2020. This mini is no different, and along with the title track, the next three songs are very, very strong and distinct. It’s hard to imagine that most Kpop groups will ever become album artists (not everyone can be f(x) or SHINee or even BTS), but as of late, their producers seem to have really put a lot of work into EPs/minis, and it’s resulted in some very strong projects that feel more cohesive, daring, and essential than most Kpop full albums even.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for doing a follow up Buried Treasure for our Lovelyz, they have worked hard and I think have proven that they’re not just constrained to cute concept but also are a musically robust act. They are perhaps my ults in the genre.

    I personally love the little chromatic descent in the chorus – very fun and playful and a nice twist in the otherwise very sonorous song.

    I was glad this followed Obliviate, which I’m still trying to wrap my head around Lovelyz doing a more performance oriented title track…since it seems they prioritized the song itself moreso in the past…

    I remember reading that you’re a school teacher so this must be an insane weekend preparing for a in-person, distance-based or hybrid semester. Thanks for continuing to update Bias List right now and giving our Lovelyz’s some attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Many mention “Worry dolls” as the best b-side of this mini album but since I heard “Dream in a dream” I knew that it would be my fav. It has that kpop that I fell in love with. “Memories” is also a great candidate, especially I love that in the end it disappears and not a dry cut like most current songs.

    Like

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