Following their ‘Dystopia‘ series, Dreamcatcher started their ‘Apocalypse‘ series earlier this year with “MAISON“, which earned them their first two wins and saw their album sales reach a new high. However, for me it was just an above-average K-pop single, which was among my least favorite in their impressive discography. Fortunately, the follow-up single in the series doesn’t have the same problem, as “VISION” gets Dreamcatcher back to what they do best with a bit of a new twist.
“VISION” is basically ‘How Dreamcatcher Got Their Edge Back’. While the usual suspects of LEEZ and Ollounder are on the production credits for this, the addition on “VISION” of June One from Glen Check stood out when it was revealed and indeed his fingerprints are on this single. That’s especially apparent during the verses with a murmuring synth and guitar serving as a foundation, with beat hits going off in the background (and later electric guitar stabs) sounding like they could’ve been used on ‘Bleach‘.
One thing I’ve always liked about Dreamcatcher’s music is the push and pull aspect to the composition, where they’re setting the listener up and playing with tempo. The biggest problem with “MAISON” was the absence of that, like they just powered through everything at one constant pace. While “VISION” is heavier than anything they’ve done in years, the fact that the pre-chorus drops the instrumental out and reintroduces elements gradually, not only allows for more vocal-focused sections but also sets up peaks and valleys that make the eventual chorus all that more impactful.
And that chorus is where it lowers the boom, as it’s a return to a heavier sound that has always been Dreamcatcher’s wheelhouse. “VISION” marries a nu-metal core, with its crunchy guitar riffs and industrial distortion, with a sort of futuristic, cyberpunk atmosphere that brings the visuals of the music video to life. I imagine the noisier aspects of the track may turn off more mainstream audiences, and a lack of an immediately obvious standout vocal hook doesn’t really aim for the pop part of their market. However, as a complete song it works extremely well, and especially on repeat listens the refrain of the chorus and its general dynamism becomes apparent.
Unsurprisingly, Dami‘s rap fits in much more naturally with nu-metal than really in most other singles even if the tempo downshift is one of the few gripes I had with “VISION”. Fortunately, the heaviness never overwhelms the vocals, as in addition to the aforementioned verses and pre-chorus break, perhaps the standout melodic element of the song is Siyeon‘s high note in the bridge that serves as the song’s high-water mark before it closes raucously.
“VISION” stands out as a complete package as well, with the stylists earning their keep and making everything look slick in the music video. The special effects (like the lightning) are still the most awkward part of it, but everything else looks a lot cleaner than its predecessor and the setting compliments the soundscape well to enhance the overall experience.
While not their most mainstream offering, “VISION” is a return to form for Dreamcatcher, especially so for fans who got into them from their earlier sound as it’s the heaviest they’ve gone in years now. The resulting fusing of the current rock trend in K-pop and Dreamcatcher’s own unique approach to it — perhaps due to the help of new blood to the production team — is a song that feels like will end up as one of their better singles out of an already impressive discography, and that conviction is growing with every replay.