Friday K-Pop Fiesta - March 8th, 2024

A mix of old and new tracks create a (mostly) feelgood part of my tracklist for this Friday's K-Pop Fiesta.

Friday K-Pop Fiesta - March 8th, 2024
Dreamcatcher's Dami brings back the 00's era Avril Lavigne rock with "Beauty Full". Source: Dreamcatcher official (YouTube)

Sometimes when things get a little tough out in the real world, music is one of the best ways to stop back for a little bit. For between a bit under three to four minutes, you can simply enjoy something that was created, performed, and shown to be cool and entertaining.

With K-Pop, and its "whole package" of singing, choreography, and visual presentation, I think much of what comes out is well-suited to this kind of mental getaway. Add to that the fact that the K-Pop artist themselves is often expressing their own feelings through their song performance and it's a nice little two-way feedback loop of escapism.

So given that, here's what's distracted my brain this week!

AleXa - "sick"

This one's got a warning right at the start for violent and disturbing imagery, and with good reason. If you might have trouble with this kind of presentation, it's totally cool to skip watching it.

For those who do, though, you're in for a dark, intriguing trip. This isn't a happy song by any means. Granted, AleXa hasn't been quite the peppy K-pop type with her discography anyway - a lot of what she puts out is simply full of badass swagger - but this takes a different, more real, turn.

As AleXa sings about being disgusted with yet still somehow drawn to the person she's addressing, the video's action consists of her and her opposite fighting violently - and not in the cute playfight way you might see in another K-Pop video, but in the hateful way that only two people who know each other intimately well can do. The song, to me, appears to be a bite-sized start-to-end story of toxic relationships and how it can lead to self-destruction on the part of all participants. It's not gathering the views it should, probably in part because of its visceral and sometimes discomfiting imagery - but it deserves more, if for nothing else to see this kind of cautionary tale shown by one of K-Pop's best, yet still underrated, multi-cultural artists.

Dreamcatcher Dami - "Beauty Full"

In lighter discourse, Dreamcatcher wrapped up their weeks-long tour through Europe this year, with plenty of filled venues and memories to take from it, but for Main Rapper Dami, things were especially good for her since she celebrated her birthday. Yeah, it's hard when you're away from family and on the road, but the next best thing is with the group that she considers to be her sisters and the fans that she's thankful for.

As such, Dami's 2022 solo effort "Beauty Full" has been on my playlist. This is just feelgood 00's era Avril Lavigne style punk rock, complete with big smiles, rebellious behavior, and good times with friends. Dreamcatcher fans know Dami as this low-toned performer who spits some of the most iconic bars in the group's discography, but when she gets a chance to spread her wings and remind people she's an excellent vocalist that's capable of being as energetic as she can be aggressive in the group, it's always a good thing.

QWER - "Shine All Night"

QWER continues to interest me with their non-traditional band/pop setup (reminiscent of other guitar-and-drum-fueled groups I enjoy like LUCY and ONEWE) and frankly, when you have to try to stand out in a field of tons of artists, you gotta do new and interesting things. Additionally, stuff like recording tracks like "Shine All Night" for a game OST can land you with some decent exposure to other audiences.

The group continues their anime-style vibes with this song which is light-hearted and full of the kind of mood that you'd have when getting your day started, or perhaps that wonder burst of energy you get after you consume that first cup of coffee. There's a distinct charm to this group - one that is whimsical and fun - and they'll fill a nice niche if they can get comfortable in it. Until then, "Shine All Night" is as bright as its namesake.

Dreamcatcher - "The Curse of the Spider" (Metal Remix)

Am I shamelessly double-dipping artists? Yep, but with good reason. Dreamcatcher's EU tour was punctuated by a lot of cool things, but one of them was taking on the road a couple of remixes of old favorites. One of these was 2019's "The curse of the Spider", a guitar-backed B-side fun romp that made their "Raid of Dream" album one of the most memorable in the group's body of work. It was so beloved that the group decided to make a funny self-made MV about it for their 1st fanclub fanmeeting.

The song got great feedback being a part of 2023's concert setlist, so this time around the producers and Dreamcatcher decided to give the song a new coat of metal-tinged paint, turning an already high octane song into a headbanging rock-fest. The best part of this is that Dreamcatcher re-recorded their vocals on top of the new arrangement, showcasing how far they've come vocally in the last 5 years since its initial release. This and the newly-minted rock ballad version of 2017's "Lullaby" are out on your favorite music platforms today and are well worth the listen.

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