Dream Catcher, who are MINX re-debuted with two more members, always seemed like a rather pointless thing to me. Changed name or not, they were still essentially the same group, after all. However, fortunately the change wasn’t only cosmetic, and “Chase Me” brought a welcome new sound as well.
I, uh, well that was certainly an experience I didn’t expect, and I came away pleasantly surprised after the shock. The J-rock influences are rather obvious, but more than just that, I thought Dream Catcher navigated the balance between being idols, the harder rock sound, and the horror concept remarkably well.
The composition of “Chase Me” worked due to elements of the instrumental that created a push and pull effect. That helped keep the listener on their toes but never to the point where things became a mess, as there was a definite cohesiveness to all the madness. Obviously the build to the rock explosion of the chorus was the highlight of the track as it brought the tempo and the noise and helped make it easily replayable, but the utilization of the piano during the verses shouldn’t go overlooked, as it provided a nice contrast and served as a break from the band at key moments.
Even the rapping works well because the piano and clapping effect serve as a minimalist beat to ride and reminded me a lot of what Mike Shinoda implemented with Linkin Park. Then, rather than repeating the previous verse-chorus formula for the third time, it segues into a bridge with a more subdued quasi-rap over a nice guitar riff that again highlighted the track’s versatility.
Dream Catcher themselves executed the concept admirably, and there was no point where I didn’t buy into what they were selling vocally, which was rather surprising. That said, one complaint is that if you told me there was only one vocalist to this entire track, I’d believe you. With a track like this, especially during the bridge or at some point in the hook, I’d have loved it if a girl with a more rough, unpolished vocal performed. But that’s really just nitpicking at this point and trying to make it a perfect track for my taste, and “Chase Me” should just be appreciated for what it is, which is something that’ll likely end up on best-of year-end lists.
Oddly enough, not only did I enjoy the song, but the video that accompanied it was also a highlight. Perhaps my only regret is that they’re styled like massage parlor workers during the main choreo when they could’ve gone for something more sinister, but that’s a minor issue.
The plot was actually interesting even though it left us on a cliffhanger, with the girls as ghosts of some kind being hunted (yes, chased) by what’s apparently a ghost hunter who has come to a hotel to investigate them. It’s some kind of ‘American Horror Story‘ meets K-pop realness.
Visually, this was the best sequence for me and I kinda wish we had seen more of it.
The other noteworthy thing was the choreography they implemented into all of this to fit with both the slower and faster tempos. It was like a G-Friend meets BABYMETAL type of affair in terms of choreo, and I think the fact that it was less typical K-pop choreo helped it because this was not exactly the typical K-pop musical effort either.
Often people say “so-and-so didn’t die for this” to talk about something they don’t like. Well, MINX did die for Dream Catcher, and if “Chase Me” is an indication of the direction they’re going to head down, then count me in as a grateful it happened as a converted skeptic. This release was a refreshing turn from an idol group out of Korea, as it successfully meshed pop and rock with horror concepts, resulting in an undeniably quality release with a ton of replayability.
Basically my only concern at this point is that this whole thing is a one-off and not a new direction entirely, but I’ll remain hopeful for now.