The solo debuts of a groups main vocalists are nearly always long awaited. There’s a certain amount of time and care that needs to be taken in establishing a new group before it’s safe to branch out one member alone – unless of course there are special circumstances. Even solo releases, rather than full on debuts, carry a weight that most fans take seriously. For Dreamcatcher’s Siyeon, it’s a weight that she’s been waiting to carry through two debuts. ‘Paradise’ may not precede a mini album, but it is a confident step in the right direction. With Dreamcatcher firmly rooted in their concept and genre, and Siyeon feeling far more comfortable there then she ever did with Minx, she has truly come into her own as a vocalist. This special release is a way of showcasing that, as well as a little of her own style.
Whilst we have been able to see some of that vocal prowess in her covers and collaboration songs that she’s sung solo in the past, this is the first time we are getting a taste of her own composition and lyrics. Alongside Leez and Ollounder, Siyeon has taken in active part in producing ‘Paradise.’ This may be why the whole song feels that little bit more personal than her performances with Dreamcatcher. Her vocals throughout are emotive as ever, but lean into the words she knows to put emphasis on. From the very soft vibrato of the opening accompanied solely by piano, to the higher points of the chorus, her range never distracts her from the emotion. The high points she does climb to are executed perfectly, in an effortless style that never sounds as though she’s straining to reach the heights she wants to. Siyeon’s voice can sound deceptively soft when she wants it to, and it’s her ability to switch between these gentle and powerful moments that makes her voice so compelling.
Having become used to this voice over either a heavy rock inspired instrumental, or EDM, it’s a change of pace for this song to take a more laid back approach. It’s certainly not a ballad, but it contains elements of one to lend that feeling to the track. The beat that comes in isn’t to heavy, but is punchy. It builds gradually to a swell before the chorus, maintain a steady rhythm for then on out. The synths in the background help to flesh this out and give the chorus a much fuller sound, whilst the post-chorus brings in a nice little synth rift that doesn’t feel too out of place but it catchy.
The bridge strays away from being too strong, instead dropping back to let Siyeon’s voice be the focus by the end. Rather than a power high note, she softens it, which suits the wistful feeling of the song overall. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there are no strong notes. There are a few adlibs in the final chorus that provide us with that power, but it’s quite restrained. It fits well, yet Siyeon perhaps could have pushed some of these even further to make that contrast between the bridge and finale that much more striking. However, what’s there has a similar effect, and it leaves a good impression once that song comes to it’s end.
The music video itself is nothing extravagent – this is only meant to be a ‘Special Clip’ after all. That there as something to accompany to song is important however, even if it’s just a performance video as seen here.
The way that this is done does try to reflect the personal nature of this release. Siyeon is the focus here, singing directly to the camera the majority of the time. They also play with light and dark nicely. Having Siyeon dressed all in black with heavy make up, contrasting to the softer, warm colours surrounding creates a good contrast that doesn’t appear too jarring. There’s even a shot in the second verse in which they reflect light across her face. This certainly could have been done better, and to a greater effect. However, the theme is still there, and being able to have a visual of Siyeon’s performance heightens the meaning of the track somewhat if nothing else.
There is also and alternative version of the ‘Special Clip’ entitled the ‘White Version’, which see’s Siyeon in a more dimly lit room and dressed in a white suit. It’s a more powerful image yet also falls back on that play between light and dark, which could very likely reflect the lyrics of the song.
A final note has to be made for the cover art of the release. Depicting a painted wolf with a girl in the centre. It’s striking and something different for a Kpop release, which tends to see fewer creative covers in the advent of streaming rising in popularity.