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NCT Dream consoles ‘youth without dreams’ on new EP

While "escapism" typically carries a negative connotation, K-pop boy group NCT Dream's upcoming album, set to release Monday, encourages young people to find solace in their dreams if all they can expect in the real world is cold gazes and negative self-perception. "It's an album with a clear message," member Mark said during a press conference to promote the group's fifth EP, "Dream()scape." "We've always been a team that inspires dreams and hope through our music. This time, we aimed to extend the message to those who feel they don't have a dream," he said during the event at a Seoul hotel. The album's title reflects the group's aspiration for listeners to feel as if they have escaped reality while immersed in the music, he explained. When asked about the meaning of the brackets in the title, Jeno said the marks symbolize escape and could also be interpreted as a door. Mark added, "You might read it as 'dream scape' at first, but I hope you read it as 'dream escape.'" The EP is composed of six songs, including "Smoothie," "icantfeelanything," "Box," "Carat Cake" and "Unknown." A groovy hip-hop dance track, the lead single "Smoothie" features a driving 808 bass line, a snare rhythm and repetitive chanting. It exudes the confidence of a youth who declares he will overcome all the cold gazes of the world and negative self-perception by metaphorically "drinking them away" like a smoothie. While smoothies typically evoke a fresh and sweet image, the color of the smoothie that appears in the track's music video is black, Mark said. "It's a song containing our ambition and aspiration that we'll grind down all the negative thoughts in a blender and swallow them." Renjun added: "In everyday life, you hear lots of comments that you don't want to hear, negative thoughts and prejudice. This song carries a cool spirit of someone who declares, 'I will walk my way,' ignoring all those things." The group also shared reasons for picking "Smoothie" as the album's lead track. "I thought it's a song that can best repres ent us and is ideal for stage performance," Haechan said. Mark cited its "intense and addictive chorus" as a reason. Starting in May, the team will hold its third world tour, "The Dream Show 3," which will kick off in Seoul, and continue in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Jaemin did not hide his anticipation for the forthcoming tour. "During our first world tour, I had many great memories and experiences meeting our worldwide fans, NCTzens," he said, referring to the name of the group's global fandom. "I believe that from the second world tour onward, we will be able to showcase how much our team has grown. This year, we've prepared a lot, so I'm looking forward to the world tour and showing our fans what we've prepared." Source: Yonhap News Agency