Coffee Break: Big Bang (the underrated version)
If you are a loyal k-pop lover, the group name Big Bang may be all too familiar. The group debuted in 2006 with their first single album, ‘Big Bang Vol. 1‘, not knowing that they would someday become known as the revolutionary k-pop group. Consisting of Seungri (the youngest), Daesung, Taeyang, T.O.P, and G-Dragon as their leader, the nation was finally introduced to a group with one of the most radical styles and talent with which they dominated the stage.
Big Bang’s first debut performance of “La La La” didn’t have a “wow” factor but the song is to not be ignored as it was their first solid stepping stone to their road to becoming one of the best. You can clearly see the overly baggy, one-sized clothes that all the members wore in order to increase the American hip-hop feel to their stage. This is as close to “standard” hip-hop as Big Bang will get and that’s what’s so great about this song. The fresh young faces of the members bring out the naive artists pursuing their true passion.
“La La La”
Shortly after Big Bang’s debut stage, criticisms flooded in as they made several comments about the members’ visuals compared to other top idols at the time. But because of this, the anticipation for the group’s talent blew up throughout the nation. Big Bang made a breakthrough in 2007 when they came out with one of their most popular song, “Lies“. It also drew much interest as G-Dragon, the leader was the one who wrote and produced the song. The song proved that he had grown from a young rapper featuring in Sean and Master Wu‘s tracks to a phenomenal artist who knew what the public wanted and gave them just that.
With that being said, while there were songs that stood out like a sore thumb, there were some that didn’t quite make it. For example, “Dirty Cash” (2006), which was written by G-Dragon and 072 and produced by Andy Love and Jos Jorgensen, has to be one of the top on my list for the songs that should have been, but was overshadowed by other tracks on the album.
“Dirty Cash” is written about how people would go above and beyond for “white envelopes” full of “dirty” cash. In other words, rather than giving a sincere apology, all you need is money to compensate for those feelings. Big Bang emphasizes on how money is dangerously poisonous and fantasizes about a world where we all live with the things that we have. Although we all know that reality doesn’t work like that people do sometimes “sell-out” to make a living, the song helps you generate some kind of hope in the future. Your dreams may come with a cost, but at least dreaming doesn’t cost a thing.
From their 3rd mini album, ‘Stand Up‘, released in 2008, the title song “Haru Haru” stole the spotlight as it was the only one that was actually promoted. But the album included strong supporting songs such as “Lady“, produced and written by Teddy, and “Oh My Friend“. The song “Lady” speaks for itself as its a upbeat song of proposing your interest for the person you have your eyes on in a light-hearted way. This song will make you feel like as if all 5 men of Big Bang are trying to hollar at you, which is, I’m sure something everyone wouldn’t mind getting approached by a group of cuties.
“Oh My Friend” on the other hand, was a song originally sung by indie rock band, No Brain. The boys did a great rendition of the song, emphasizing the upbeat, and the naive yet charismatic charm of the song.
“Oh My Friend”
By the time Big Bang’s 4th mini album released in 2011, the world was already knew the influence that the group has on generations all across the board. Big Bang had made a permanent imprint in the industry and has been going overseas, even getting recognized by top artists such as Lady Gaga. No matter what song they released next, was a guaranteed hit to their loyal followers and fans.
“Tonight” was the title track for this mini album and to no surprise, it was a huge hit. With no objections to the song itself, it was upsetting to see the other tracks fall so low in interest as it lacked promotion. In an album full of tracks with electronic sounds and auto-tuned vocals, comes along “Cafe“. With this track, we can finally listen to the raw vocals of the members the high and the low. Daesung’s husky yet smooth vocals streams down the throat like that first sip of coffee, T.O.P’s signature stinging rapping style feels like the bitter after taste of black coffee. And personally would like to one day hear a slower version of this song.
And from their latest album, ‘Alive‘, released in 2012, every song made its way to the top as YG Entertainment decided to hold a ‘On Air‘ live concert for the boys giving them the chance to perform and perfect each and every song. But because of the level that “Fantastic Baby” and “Bad Boy” was at in terms of musicality, Daesung’s solo track, “Wings“, became the underdog of the tracks.
Despite my personal bias to the song, Daesung’s clear-cut vocals and crisp layers of instrumentals give a strong feeling of starting over and knowing that things will get better. His voice shines and throughout the song as if it actually had a pair of wings. It may be the way Daesung sings the song with such emotion, but the most important aspect of the song has to be the hopeful message that the lyrics give to the hopeless and the broken. If you cannot understand Korean, make sure to look up the lyrics to the song!
Big Bang has come a long way since their debut in 2006, and in the year 2012, they are already making their way into touring around the world. Lastly, I speak for many when I say that Big Bang will one day have rookie artists celebrating their songs on a much futuristic version of ‘Immortal Song‘.
On next week’s edition of Coffee Break, we’ll resume to more k-indie groups! Stay tuned to allkpop!