[Review] DreamNote switch up their concept and deliver one of the year’s best in “GHOST”

The downside of me liking a release is I’ll review it on my own time, even if it’s a month later. The upside is that … well, you get a positive review on Asian Junkie Dot Com. Quite frankly, I’m not sure the wait is worth that, but hey, it’s something.

That all applies to DreamNote‘s “GHOST” especially, as a new group probably would benefit from any eyeballs much more than any blog’s review a month later, but I definitely wanted to write about this effort because it’ll likely be among 2021’s best.

DreamNote debuted late in 2018, and honestly they had not been on my radar at all since. Hell, even if I did like them, it’s been almost two years since we’ve heard from them at all. Well they used that pandemic time to switch things up, as they had previously gone with fresh and sporty girl group tropes, but for this comeback they’ve gone dark in a Dreamcatcher-esque concept change.

Pink, pink, pink, black, black, black.

The decision pays dividends with “Ghost” both conceptually and musically, but especially the latter. From the get-go the instrumental establishes its dark sound impeccably, and while it’s a bit odd to read this now during holiday season, it was truly perfect for when it was released at the end of October. The energy of the intro segues into a thumping, reverberating beat for the verses and its carried well with rhythmic vocals where the members show well and keep the momentum surging forward. In line with their concept, the pre-chorus is a nice combination of cult-esque chanting that was obviously building to something explosive.

Thankfully, the chorus delivers on the tension by releasing the energy into a combination of powerful percussion and vocals. The primary hook involves them literally howling “deo keuge ureo howl/sori nopyeo howl” and “nan michin deushi howl/neoreul hyanghae howl” to impressively melodic effect, and is also punctuated by another moment in the repetition of “where you at?” In itself that would likely be a great chorus, but the back half provides further moments, with the lyrics incorporating the “ghost” title layered behind the howling vocals that makes for an addictive combination.

The only moments of the song that dip below great is the transition into the second verse after the explosive first taste of the chorus, as it seems to rapidly gear down for the perfunctory rap verse. However, they quickly shift back out of it and returning to the strengths of the song, finishing things simply — as they should with such a standout chorus — by just amplifying it until the close.

Needless to say, all of this is a promising change of pace for DreamNote, and the question is whether they’ll continue down this path or not in the future. But regardless, they’ve delivered probably one of the year’s best efforts in the authoritative, catchy, and delightfully melodic “Ghost”.

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