Uhm Junghwa – “Dreamer” Review

(Music Video) / (Dance Practice)

Uhm Junghwa – Dreamer

Reviewed
on February 4, 2017

Certainly
“Dreamer” is still decent overall, but I will personally argue a surprising
factor heavily weighs down the song: the vocals. This is not to say that
Junghwa’s singing is poor per se; rather, how
her vocals are used in the song is questionable and that is what I wish to
focus predominantly on in this review.

Personal Message:
We are already into a new month even
though I somehow feel as if we are still in January. That aside, I do want to
greatly apologize to both readers and the requester of this review. I have been
incredibly busy with university but I am hoping to spend this week with
catching up on multiple reviews. Furthermore, I hope to be more concise with
reviews but, as some readers may know, that is difficult for me to personally
balance as I still have yet to find the perfect, short amount of writing that
readers and I can enjoy while still conveying a deeper, critical discussion of
a song. As per usual, experiments will have to take place. Also for other news
(and directed more towards Fiestar fans), I do intend to begin subtitling videos
more frequently again especially as I have plenty of videos left to subtitle.
In particular, I will be subtitling a commercial song by them that surprisingly
no one has translated yet. Finally, due to a long absence, I might attempt to “compensate”
by posting a technical music post—something that admittedly I should not have the authority to write but I
find that there are readers who might be more curious on this aspect to music
and thus, I could discuss something simpler and even relevant for readers.

Onto the review, thank you to the
requester for sending this in. It has been two weeks or perhaps even longer
since the request was submitted and to that I deeply apologize. Nonetheless, despite
the delay, I am very grateful for receiving this and especially with this song
being one that is not “mainstream” as it involves Uhm Junghwa, an older
generation artist. In fact, to put the latter into perspective, it should be
noted that the legendary, highly influential singer (especially for current
female artists) Uhm Junghwa is 47 years old. Indeed, in K-Pop age is merely a fictional
number as she continues to showcase excellent singing and dancing skills.

Now focusing on “Dreamer,” the
requester of this review did predict that I would very much enjoy the song.
While—as in all cases—I do appreciate and admire certain aspects to the song,
unfortunately I will say I find myself being neutral if not somewhat negative
towards the song. Certainly “Dreamer” is still decent overall, but I will
personally argue a surprising factor heavily weighs down the song: the vocals.
This is not to say that Junghwa’s singing is poor per se; rather, how her vocals are used in the song is
questionable and that is what I wish to focus predominantly on in this review.

_______________________________________________________

Song Score: 5/10
(5.00/10 raw score) – “Average”


Vocals: 4/10


Sections: 5/10
(5.14/10 raw score)

Introduction, Verse,
Pre-Chorus, Chorus, Post-Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Chorus, Conclusion

1.     Introduction:
5/10

2.     Verse: 5/10

3.     Pre-Chorus: 5/10  

4.     Chorus: 4/10

5.     Post-Chorus: 6/10

6.     Bridge: 5/10

7.     Conclusion: 6/10


Instrumental: 5/10


Lyrics: 6/10

Boy, don’t you cry
Never never cry
Boy, don’t you cry
Maybe everything is alright

So pretty, it’s like a lie
Your sleeping face in my arms
Honestly, I’m a bit sad
when I think that this is it

On the first night
there were so many things we were curious about
One of me, one of you, we showed each other
On the second night
I was so sorry
because my heart didn’t pound anymore

Boy, don’t you cry
Don’t you ever ever cry
Back then, I loved you more than anyone else
Dreamer dreamer, in my deep dream
You just came and left, that’s all
I love your face when you cry
But you never never know
You’re like a young child
Like you lost everything
Dreamer dreamer
Dream deeper
That night might come again
Until then, goodbye

Do you wanna love again?
Do you wanna play again?

You can do whatever
Say what you want about our past
Rumors will spread anyway
If only one of us is the bad guy
It’ll probably be me

Boy, don’t you cry
Don’t you ever ever cry
Back then, I loved you more than anyone else
Dreamer dreamer, in my deep dream
You just came and left, that’s all
I love your face when you cry
But you never never know
You’re like a young child
Like you lost everything
Dreamer dreamer
Dream deeper
That night might come again
Until then

From close up
it’s not beautiful to me
I wish everything
was just a dream

Boy, don’t you cry
Don’t you ever ever cry
Back then, I loved you more than anyone else
Dreamer dreamer, in my deep dream
You just came and left, that’s all
I love your face when you cry
But you never never know
You’re like a young child
Like you lost everything
Dreamer dreamer
Dream deeper
That night might come again
Until then, goodbye

[Conclusion]

_______________________________________________________

Analysis: Now
before truly discussing the vocals, it is still necessary to acknowledge this song’s
strength. In particular for what stands out, the flow to “Dreamer” is
incredibly tight. In other words, the song in whole is very cohesive and as
discussed in multiple reviews, this is a huge asset as it allows many
individual aspects in the song to actually aid one another in producing better
sounds versus conflicting each other. Let us analyze the sections for this
discussion.

First,
it should be understood that the sections’ placement—or even existence if we
are being accurate—in the song are odd at first hearing (or glance if we
literally look at the list): there is only one post-chorus and the second half
of the song is missing a pre-chorus. Unlike the traditional route of having a relatively
symmetrical song from the first half to the second half (such as with the
standard trio of “verse, pre-chorus, chorus” and that said trio repeating in
the second half), we find that “Dreamer” is the opposite as it simply is not
symmetrical in that sense. However, I argue this composition significantly
helps the song in maintaining its tight cohesion. With the post-chorus for
example, rather than entirely dropping the song’s flow to that of a stagnant
pace in order to “reset” the song’s intensity to the level of the first verse,
the post-chorus actually carries on the prior chorus’ faster and more energetic
pacing.

Even
more intriguingly, the second verse that follows up then continues to adopt the
post-chorus’ state—a state that is still upbeat but is still within the
appropriate scale so that the second verse is still identifiable as a standard
pop song verse. Now with all this in mind, the lack of a pre-chorus is
understandable and even beneficial:
because of how the second verse is already somewhat hastened, the final line in
the verse is then easily and naturally transformed as a pseudo pre-chorus. This
is brilliant as this verse-and-pre-chorus combination is efficient—and being
efficient in a song is to be cohesive (for the most part; exceptions exist) as
the sections just go to the next without any abrupt, sudden changes.

However,
although those composition points very much impressed me, I find that the song’s
composition in terms of its actual sounds is less appealing. This is why
despite the stunning maneuvers of the sections they still ultimately average
out at a five. For what I argue is the root cause of it all, I unfortunately do
blame the vocals. (But to clarify, this is not to say I blame Junghwa herself; instead,
it is the vocals in this song’s specific
context
that is weaker.) For example, throughout the entire song the vocals
become mundane as mechanically there are minimal changes in pacing and, in specific,
tone. By tone I am referencing to how the vocals’ core sound—even despite
changes in tunes—still sound the same. Consider this: in the verse, Junghwa’s
singing, while it may be more passive and focused on lower notes and a slower
pacing, sounds very much akin to the singing at the choruses if we ignore
changes in intensity and pacing. Especially when we consider other songs where
the vocals at, say, the choruses sound significantly different due to added
strain or adding a “heavier” or “softer” style, in “Dreamer” this is not the
case as the singing sounds plain and the same throughout. It is because of this
sonic repetitiveness that many of the sections are indirectly negatively
affected. Couple that in with a tough compositional dilemma of either making
the instrumental fit the vocals and therefore creating the song’s solid
cohesion or to make the instrumental vary and thus create diversity and appeal
in the sections at the cost of the song’s cohesion and indeed, we are at “Dreamer”
‘s situation—though, as we can tell, the composers did choose the former.

All
in all, “Dreamer” still rates at average and I do agree with that. The cohesion
to the song is very impressive, and as discussed, how the sections work structurally
personally awed me as I find the single post-chorus and single pre-chorus very
effective yet creative ideas. Unfortunately, the vocals and even instrumental
create a mundane sound to the song and so while the song structurally is solid,
it sonically is weaker. But of course, average is by far not a “negative”
score; the only issue is that it is equally not a “positive” score and thus
blends in with all the other K-Pop songs in existence—this being problematic if
we consider that there are a lot of K-Pop songs. Perhaps “a lot” is an
understatement.

_______________________________________________________

Once
again thank you to the requester of this review. I actually found that this
review went rather smoothly and I managed to touch in decent depth everything
that was critical of the song, and I was able to do so without being too
lengthy or too robotic. I will continue this style of reviews and if it works
out then perhaps I will be able to easily catch up on many songs. Also, thank
you to readers for being patient and thank you to those that read this review whether
in full or skimmed. I appreciate it all.

Look
forward to a bonus post that addresses music on a more technical level—and all
while being something that a majority of readers can find relevant and
applicable to their daily music experiences. Afterwards, other requests will be
covered: Cosmic Girls’ “I Wish” and BTS’ “Dead Leaves.” After those songs, I
plan to then review Hong Jinyoung’s upcoming comeback as I have been anticipating
the day I get to review trot music (I am a huge fan of Hong Jinyoung’s songs
and of trot in general), and if my schedule is correct, the last review of the
month will most likely be either be AOA, 2NE1 (yes, even after their
disbandment), or a collaboration between MAMAMOO’s Solar, f(x)’s Luna, and EXID’s
Hani. There is a lot to cover, but look forward to them all.