Dreamcatcher was actually one of the first groups I reviewed when I started this blog four years ago. That was right when they debuted, and it’s crazy to see how far they’ve come since then. While I wish they had just a little more recognition, I’m so satisfied with everything they’ve done up to this point. Though Dreamcatcher’s edgy and darker style is niche for K-pop – something that I would argue is still pretty niche itself – I love how they’ve truly embraced it and built a whole empire out of it. “Odd Eye” is the last in their Dystopia trilogy, and it’s a thought provoking piece that serves as a powerful conclusion to this series.
Dreamcatcher’s music is usually heavily influenced by rock, and “Odd Eye” is no exception. I like how it has a gritty and almost grungy feel. There’s also a slight hip hop influence that can be heard during moments like Dami’s rap verse, which adds some extra layers of intrigue. While there are plenty of elements that are a familiar Dreamcatcher staple, like the electric guitar driving the chorus and Siyeon and Yoohyeon’s power vocals, there are some neat new surprises as well. While Dami is as charismatic a rapper as always, she also gets a chance to sing along with other frequent rapper Gahyeon. And they both have very nice singing voices, so it’s a welcome change. I’m also glad to see that Handong’s back from China, and I’m thrilled that the amount of lines she gets has gone up significantly.
While I like “Odd Eye,” I find it a little low-key for a Dreamcatcher song- which is weird for me to say, because it’s plenty intense and energetic. I guess I don’t find it as thrilling? I think it’s because the tempo is fairly consistent and only really speeds up in a couple of places, whereas a lot of other Dreamcatcher singles are kind of like rollercoaster rides. This change isn’t a bad thing – the straightforward arrangement makes “Odd Eye” more of an anthem style song, which is enjoyable in a different way. It’s just that I was expecting a huge adrenaline rush and I didn’t get it, so I feel less enthused than I thought I would be. (Keep in mind that my current favorite Dreamcatcher song is “Scream,” which really maxed out the intensity factor.)
Although I was initially a bit underwhelmed by “Odd Eye” as a song, I was super intrigued by the music video. Beautiful music videos laden with evocative imagery have become a cornerstone of Dreamcatcher’s appeal over the course of their career. Although I don’t necessarily understand all the symbolism and references (and sometimes I’m too lazy or tired to try), I can always expect great things from them in this area – and I wasn’t disappointed. Even the first shot of “Odd Eye” – a giant white mask that turns out to be a chair that Yoohyeon is resting in – is just so imaginative and pulls you in from the get go. And it sets the tone for the rest of the video, because there are countless beautifully composed shots with eye-catching production design.
I noticed that there are a lot of references to technology in this music video: televisions, computers, cell phones, etc. And a lot of those things emit this weird plasma energy when Dreamcatcher uses them, which seems to have a visible effect on the giant beautiful tree that is so prominently featured here. (The tree was also a major presence during the other videos in the trilogy.) At the end, we see this text: “In the end, the Dreamcatchers couldn’t find the Utopia what they dreamed of.” It seems like this technology was the cause of why they failed. Since “Scream” and “BOCA” both had a heavy emphasis on language and the importance of words, I think that “Odd Eye” is about the dangers of media – particularly social media – and how people are influenced by it.
The lyrics of “Odd Eye” seem to talk a lot about lies, falsehoods, and thinking something is paradise when it’s not, giving off a strong sense of disillusionment and despair. These words mirror the relationship many of us have with social media (even if we won’t admit it). Social media is part of our daily lives at this point, and that can be super poisonous to our mental health if we don’t navigate it carefully. Lots of people curate their profiles to show picture perfect lives, and I think this focus on keeping up appearances is the kind of false paradise or “perfect illusion” that Dreamcatcher is singing about. Because while getting lots of attention does initially bring feelings of satisfaction, it’s ultimately empty and unfulfilling. Nobody’s life is as great as it looks on social media, and validation from the Internet is never going to bring true lasting happiness.
There are two moments of the “Odd Eye” music video that really stand out to me and kind of resonate with the ideas I took from it. The first is when Yoohyeon drinks a blood red liquid in front of a television, but the subtle veins that spread across her face imply there are dangerous or poisonous effects. This makes me think of the rising number of people who are following social media trends (like on TikTok) without really considering the consequences. The other is when Handong kneels over a mirror image of herself and places her hands so that it looks like she’s choking her own reflection – a striking reminder of somehow we can be our own worst enemy, especially in the age of the Internet where it’s very hard to correct mistakes.
(I also want to take a moment to say that while I don’t generally like the colored contacts look, I think Dreamcatcher uses the effect of two different colored eyes really well here. It’s kind of like one eye is caught in the illusion and one can see through it. And/or it could represent our normal face and the face we show to the rest of the world.)
Please keep in mind that this is all my own personal interpretation. I don’t claim to understand everything or even be correct in what I think I do understand, so please don’t take what I say as fact or as the official explanation. But I do believe that Dreamcatcher’s intended point is something similar to what I’ve picked up on, and I think it’s a very sobering yet meaningful message. K-pop itself is an industry that attempts to be “picture perfect” in many ways, and it’s very rare for groups to get real about certain subjects. I mostly go to K-pop for fun and distractions, so I don’t mind how surface level it is most of the time. But I always appreciate when a group uses their platform and influence to raise important topics like this, and I applaud Dreamcatcher for doing so.
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
Personally, I’m still on the fence about “Odd Eye.” It has grown on me in the several times I’ve listened to it since starting this post – but this is supposed to be about my initial reaction, so I have to admit that my initial reaction to “Odd Eye” as a song was rather ambivalent. I just didn’t feel like it packed a punch, which is something I’ve come to anticipate from a Dreamcatcher comeback. Simply put, I like it but I don’t love it. But if we’re talking objectively, I think “Odd Eye” is an excellent reflection of Dreamcatcher’s artistry. It’s a perfect example of how much attention they pay to detail and how extraordinary they are at world-building. It’s hard and irrefutable evidence that Dreamcatcher is fantastic at what they do. And even though I know it’s not my favorite Dreamcatcher song ever (and it probably won’t ever be), I can still say with confidence that they never disappoint.
(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)
SOURCES: Cover Image and music video belong to Happy Face Entertainment.