Counting their time as Beast, Highlight have been releasing music for thirteen years – a stunning length of time for any idol group. Daydream is their fourth full album, though their first under the Highlight moniker. Given how past albums resulted in insta-classics like Fiction, Shadow and Ribbon, expectations for this new title track should be very high. Unfortunately, Daydream doesn’t meet the (very) high water mark of that past trilogy.
Following on the heels of last year’s Not The End, Daydream embraces a similar, middle-of-the-road approach. Highlight have more than earned the right to play things safe, but this song doesn’t have much of an identity. If it wasn’t for the guys’ instantly-recognizable voices, Daydream could have been delivered by anyone. The instrumental opens with familiar synth tones before tiptoeing into a hesitant verse. The percussion here lacks presence, probably by design. It helps set up the effusive chorus.
Daydream’s hook has punch, but needs a stronger melody to leave a mark. The refrain feels dulled of its edges, taking a predictable route instead of pushing past the confines of the song’s production. The post-chorus synth riff suffers from a similar struggle. At this stage in Highlight’s career, we know they’ll deliver a high-quality product. Daydream is certainly polished. It’s just not exciting or vital to the group’s discography. Think of it as a name brand product, original flavor. There’s comfort in the reliability of Daydream, but it doesn’t taste nearly as good as the first time you tried it.