Even decades after formation, some things haven’t changed about SM Entertainment. They’re still clever vultures, digging through old pop detritus and repainting it to craft shiny new baubles. A recent example is aespa’s Next Level (pulled from an old Fast & Furious soundtrack), but SM has been doing this since the 90’s. SES’s 1998 hit Dreams Come True was a cover of a single by Finnish girl group Nylon Beat.
Lately, SM has also been revisiting and celebrating its past through remastered music videos and covers. This sense of legacy is very welcome, and pays tribute to the agency’s illustrious history. Aespa’s reinvention of Dreams Come True is the latest step in this project, and doesn’t skimp on behind-the-scenes firepower. Not only do the girls have super-producer Yoo Young-Jin at the helm, but agency senior (and K-pop legend) BoA has a hand in production and arrangement.
I’m a big fan of the original Dreams Come True. You really can’t go wrong with a melody this strong. I’m glad to see aespa reinvent the track rather than opt for a straight-up cover, but their modern update falls prey to many 2021 SM tropes that mire the agency’s current output. For one, it feels like the arrangement pushes melody to the background. The catchy synth flute hook is an afterthought rather than a driving force, replaced by a fun hip-hop beat. This production would have been fantastic on a different song, but here it muddles the waters and causes Dreams Come True to lose its trademark bite. Often, ‘simple and straightforward’ is the best approach and results in truly timeless material. Aespa sound fantastic and most of their added hooks (especially the post-chorus) are enjoyable. But, it’s hard to improve upon the original track.