[Column] Big Bang Makes a Big Bang Comeback into the Kpop Industry

As always, Big Bang has made another popular hit. Its familiar tunes are cheerful yet sophisticated and interwoven well with Big Bang’s unique vocals and raps. While members stayed in the public’s eyes by participating in solo or unit activities, the group came together for the first time in two years for their fourth mini album.

Big Bang’s new album was a hot issue even before its release. The album skyrocketed as soon as it was released on domestic music portals. Additionally, the new album topped the charts internationally as it ranked 6th on the United States’ iTunes overall music chart on February 26. This is the first time a Korean artist has ranked within the top ten in the iTunes’s overall music charts.

Big Bang’s popularity and power can also be felt on hallyu media portal site Soompi (soompi.com), which has 2 million viewers daily and 22 million views per page. Its members consist of foreigners from over 150 countries. Soompi’s “Why I Love Big Bang” event registered over 800 videos, artworks, and essays within a week.

Fans worldwide, from the United States to Chile to France to Singapore, showed their passionate love and fervor for Big Bang. One Mexican fan worked as many part-time jobs she could to raise enough money to come to Korea. Another fan personally drew and colored skulls and zodiac signs on Big Bang’s new album jacket for four days.

Most Big Bangish and Steps to Growth
Music fans are happy to see their favorite artists mature and push themselves to new limits. G-Dragon has steadily developed his vocal and rapping skills to become a pivotal member of Big Bang, and TOP has shown his ability to rap in a provocative low voice. Taeyang has also stepped up in his duties as main vocalist. In the new album, the strength of Taeyang’s main vocals is apparent. Seungri’s delicate voice is also an essential part of Big Bang’s unique sound.  Most surprisingly, Daesung’s matured manly vocals stand out. Fans were unable to hear much of Daesung’s voice while the group was on hiatus, making the change in Daesung that much more attention-grabbing. 

Everything from the sensational use of auto-tunes in “Intro” to the remade Korean version of the Japanese “Somebody to Love” erases any doubts that fans may have had in their two year hiatus and leaves fans commenting how very Big Bangish it was. The mix and match of the vocals offered an individualistic sound that no other group but the Big Bang can pull off.

Big Bang also explored new genres for the fourth mini album. “What is Right” follows a more rock style while “Café” experiments with the blues genre. “What is Right” falls into Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry’s trendy and pop rock genre. “Café” is intricately produced with G-Dragon’s high and TOP’s low pitched rap along with Taeyang and Seungri’s high pitched vocals. The high voices of its other members are harmonized with Daesung’s vocals giving fans an irresistibly unique charm.

The title track “Tonight” definitely shows Big Bang’s colors. As always, Big Bang is one step ahead of the music industry trends. The melodies are full of sentiments that flow well and lyrics making it reminiscent of hip hop idol Drake. While “Tonight” is full of emotional melodies and lyrics, it is less fluttery than Drakes’ tracks. Instead it is lighter and more candid with lyrics that explode with emotional passion. “Tonight” feels familiar because Big Bang manages to keep their individuality while following the newest hip hop trend.

There is no higher praise for musicians than to say their works sound familiar and is mainstream music. However, it also brings about originality and plagiarism issues. For example, the chorus portion of Spain’s Enrique Iglesias’s “Tonight” is reminiscent of United Kingdom’s Craig David’s “Insomnia.”  

As always, reviews about Big Bang’s newest album are double-edged praises. They state Big Bang leads the music trend with their originality but is caught up with plagiarism suspicions. As a result, Big Bang’s comeback along with the music industry is aroused in yet another controversy. It is up to the audience to evaluate the growth and development of Big Bang and its newest album.

(Written in Korean by hurlkie@soompi; Translated by hotshotlover30@soompi)