Dreamcatcher's Comeback As VillainS Arrives With Flurry Of Activity

Hitting the ground running with an already-packed schedule, Dreamcatcher launches their second comeback in 2023 with a brand-new look and the latest evolution of their sound.

Dreamcatcher's Comeback As VillainS Arrives With Flurry Of Activity
Dreamcatcher snaps a group picture after their first music show stage. Source: hf_dreamcatcher (X/Twitter)

Comeback time for my favorite groups is part of the reason I’m a K-Pop fan. There’s always something new and fresh around the corner, there’s brand new music and videos, and content opportunities galore no matter if you’re into it for just the music, for fun variety moments or for cool visuals.

It’s no different for Dreamcatcher, but I do think that part of the difference is that they’re perhaps one of the most prolific content creators out there. The Dreamcatcher Video Database I have for fans to use is close to 4,100 videos as of this writing, and the group has become one of K-Pop girl group’s most consistent comeback runners - one of the only to run at least 2 a year for the past almost-7 years. It’s given them lots to work with and for fans to discuss.

None of this changed with the comeback for 9th Mini Album “VillainS”, which dropped last week after one of the most interesting pre-comeback campaigns ever utilizing a complex Alternate Reality Game (ARG) and a new concept that has people talking. Without further ado, let’s get right into Dreamcatcher’s immensely packed 1st comeback week!

In the lone non-comeback-related bit of news, Dreamcatcher snuck in one last Dreamcatcher’s Note before all of the attention heaped on their new music. Between KCON in Saudi Arabia and M Countdown in France, Dreamcatcher has gotten their fair share of recent appearances in large crowds, and I think some of the best part of these is seeing how many people recognize and appreciate them. Though still a smaller fandom, Dreamcatcher fans exist all around the world and make their support known when the group shows up to their area. It was no different in France, though none of that stopped any of the usual backstage shenanigans, trolling, and insight into preparation that we’ve come to expect from Notes. Worth a watch.

But of course the main dish this week was the comeback, and the media blitz started with the final lead-up in the pre-comeback schedule. The MV teaser for “OOTD” revealed the final layer of the bass-heavy instrumental that we’ve been hearing for the past week, adding an element of depth to it that frankly turned the track downright sinister in nature. Visually, this was quite wild, a huge departure from the past two storylines of fantasy-and-sci-fi driven characterization into an urban-style fashionista compilation. I haven’t seen fits like this since 2018’s “What” but the fact that this was now to be apparently Dreamcatcher’s villain origin story gave this the edge that it needed that seemed to match the narcissism mentioned in press articles.

There was a curious gap in between the MV teaser and release, and it was filled by a hidden video that turned out to be another MV teaser. This was so fun and cool and fans were understandably delighted to see something that turned out to be completely outside of the official pre-comeback schedule but which also teased the soon-to-be-released album.

The video was discovered due to the last lead-up of the pre-comeback ARG, in which its primary character, ymenehcra99, became increasingly erratic in behavior, almost seeming to talk to themselves or had their account compromised by someone unknown. One of their final tweet threads had them insert elements of a web address that led to this video. After tweeting exactly 99 times, the account claimed they were off to an “interview” - and they’ve not been heard of since.

All of this, of course, led right to the album release on the 22nd, with the MV finally dropping. For thoughts on the full album, you can check out my album review from last week, but for the purposes of this article, I’ll keep it short and say that I needed some time with “OOTD”, but have come to appreciate that even though it leans more into the pop portion of their rock/pop core, that it’s still a unique song with a new story and message that makes it really neat to listen to. Between that and the pre and post-music story elements, which we really haven’t quite seen with an “external” character since the “Chase Me” and “GOOD NIGHT” days, it’s been extremely intriguing.

Both the press and fan showcases from release day, as per usual, were filled with cool visuals, insights on the music, and live performances. The concept of “Dreamcatcher as villains”, self-absorbed and overwhelmingly confident with outfits to match, was nice to hear about, and metal/rock B-side “Rising” got its own live performance in both showcases, putting it in a pile of concert-ready rock songs that include hits like “Break the Wall” and “Sahara”. The fan showcase also had a variety show element by having a mini “balance” game asking such questions as “hero who does bad things” vs “villain who does good things”.

One of the more fun surprises, however, was finding out that B-side “Shatter” also had a choreography, which was ready for prime-time and presentation. Like the choreography from last comeback’s “Propose”, this was a nice surprise and also intricately performed. “Shatter” isn’t my first choice of listen on the album, but the choreography increases its presentation tenfold to me, along with its reference to the greek myth of Medusa, who could turn people into stone with a look. Whether or not we’ll see promotions with this is another story (the abbreviated music show list and Dreamcatcher’s busy December may factor) but it was nice to see it performed live for the fans here.

With the comeback has obviously been the arrival of a bunch of variety content, much of it seemingly crammed in as the group is slated to travel to Hong Kong in a week to perform at the Harley-Davidson anniversary festival. Much of this are the usual places - Dreamcatcher will be on Weekly Idol again on the 29th, and both Idol Radio and Kiss The Radio welcomed Dreamcatcher back on their shows for discussion about the new album and fun interview questions. I was especially entertained by Idol Radio having SuA use her prior radio experience to be guest DJ in place of absent DJ ATEEZ’s Yunho, Yoohyeon imitating how each member introduces themselves, and of course, for “OOTD” to be performed live with minimal backing vocals on both shows.

We also saw Dreamcatcher head back to hello82 for the first time in 4 years (the last time was a boy group dance medley way back in 2019) and did so with another Spanish-language related appearance. Try-lingual reminded me a lot of the Transonglation appearances on another channel in 2020-2021 so it was nice to see them back for more fun there.

But there was also a bunch of brand new appearances in channels as well, starting with Men Noblesse dropping both a nice “OOTD” performance as well as a fun variety show with JiU, SuA, and Gahyeon messing around with basketball and the NBA2k4 video game, 1theK filling the void from likely no Relay Dance this time around with a costume-filled GapCrush “OOTD” comedy performance, MBC Radio having them participate in a game to get off of work, and a cute collaboration with a South Korean couple channel filled with a couple fun skits featuring SuA and Handong. I’ll always get behind new and interesting variety stuff from Dreamcatcher with opportunities to spread their reach, so these were awesome to watch.

And if that wasn’t enough, Dreamcatcher seems to be going all-out on the “OOTD” Dance Challenges this time around. I’ve only put up a small fraction of the 10+ videos that have gone up in the first week alone, but everyone from the Doosan Bears mascot to new boy groups like AMPER&ONE/ZB1 and old friends like WJSN’s Seola have all gotten into the act, and with the song having some of the kind of sound you expect from a more mainstream and modern girl group (with a DC style twist) it seems now is the time to grab these networking and signal boosting opportunities. They’ve been great to see.

Last but not least, music show stages were of course out in style, and even though there will be significantly less of them this era (with The Show, Show Champion, and M Countdown all on hiatus til 2024) Dreamcatcher is clearly making the most of what they’ve got this time around, so if you can, be sure to support them through views and signal boosting! It’ll likely be much appreciated. The three performances we have already gotten have been great with widely varying styling - an advantage when rolling with a concept that is completely dependent on presenting yourself stylishly (and villainously).

Thankfully fansigns will provide more material for performances if music shows do not, and the various opportunities to meet Dreamcatcher will give domestic fans the chance to see them and global fans more looks at fashion and styling. And the ARG continuing is just another bonus for this era. Domestic fans received a fanmeeting attendance card as usual but it had coordinates to a cafe that served out a mysterious USB stick with audio files of Dreamcatcher talking about sacrificing people and recruiting them for the crown. So despite abbreviated activities on some level, there will be seemingly plenty to see from the group for sure.

Writing all of that was a bit wild, but it’s been a whirlwind of a comeback so far for Dreamcatcher. We’re not through yet, so be sure to subscribe or follow here for the next update next Sunday on “OOTD” era and Dreamcatcher’s new album promotions - for all that, and more, I’ll see you then!

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