[NON_C-POP] Music Review: BIGBANG’s MADE Series

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Musically, probably one of the biggest highlights of this summer was renown K-pop group BIGBANG’s comeback after three years. 

Unsurprisingly this garnered a ton of international recognition, topped iTunes charts, broke sales records, etc. If you’re interested in MADE’s success in terms of that, go see Wikipedia or search on Google or something. However, what moon148 is interested in and will cover is what YG Entertainment has released for the awaiting audiences.

Please note: I am not a VIP. In general I admire BIGBANG’s interesting musicality, including what this album has showcased, but have little knowledge of the band from a fan’s standpoint (that is — if there were references or whatever made for the fans I missed all of them). Will I become a VIP? We shall see.

All promotional posters were released on the Internet. 


“M”

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“Bae Bae”

Not gonna lie — I was absolutely amazed by both the track and music video. The arrangement, especially, what with the bass, and each of the members’ parts cohesively merging into the next, and then the finale, was definitely what held the song together. What I especially admire is how they simultaneously incorporated interesting musicality to give more to this pop track while still maintaining its soothing feel at the appropriate times.

“Bae Bae” is also incredibly catchy, though it does get a little repetitive. If anything I’m a huge fan of the background instrumentals.

The interesting thing is, I feel that Daesung and Seungri have the nicer-sounding voices, but G-Dragon, Taeyang, and T.O.P. really do stand out quite a lot more. G-Dragon and T.O.P. both sound amazing in their rap.

The Music Video

My general impression of K-pop music videos is that they’re really flashy and a ton of things are simultaneously occurring, which, in this case, is sort of true. But actually it was fairly straightforward; it’s generally the visual effects that throw people off.

The thing is basically laden with sexual references, because that’s ultimately what the song is about. Yes, I got a tad bit uncomfortable, but you have to appreciate that it’s all symbols and nothing straightforwardly inappropriate was shown (think: mannequins, the angel, windmill, orchids, flowers, a baby, water, the moon, etc.) No, I’m not going to do an in-depth analysis because I myself am a bit uncomfortable.

Basically, G-Dragon shows that he’s completely new to this sort of thing and wants to be enlightened. At the same time, he has some negative preconceptions about it but he is Enlightened by the angel. The scene with Taeyang represents power and perhaps passion (windmills are sources of power, it catches on fire), T.O.P. wants to reproduce (like flowers), but by the time we get to Daesung he is cleansing himself (of sins? preconceptions?) with the water. It’s all very calm. With Seungri, his love is already dying/ is gone. The white hair I KNOW represents SOMETHING (cursed maybe?), because it appears a lot in anime, but along with my insistence to be different from my peers meant me refusing to watch any anime whatsoever.

My favorite part of both the song and in the music video is when all five (or ten) of them come together on the moon. The moon, especially the full moon, represents fulfillment, and by this time they’re all feeling out of this world. Then they start doing some inappropriate stuff, and let’s face it — obviously it’s not going to be very pretty.

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It does, however, beg the question — if I just listened to the song without seeing the music video, would I have gotten what the song expressed? Can it ever cross the language barrier without any sort of visual?

Song? 95%

Music Video? 95%

“Loser”

“Loser” . . . was a bit slower. I’m still not completely into the song yet, though you have to appreciate that it sounds pretty good. Obviously it’s not going to be upbeat or anything, and gives off a glum feel, as it should, yet . . . as a track, it’s just weaker both in terms of arrangement and the melody. I guess these types of downcast songs aren’t really my thing (and unfortunately that’s where my professionalism ends, my friends). There’s nothing special I can really point out, except that “it sounds nice” but “I couldn’t really get into the song”.

I cry, my friends. I cry.

This is also where I can start to appreciate how all five of their voices sound distinct and all very clearly contribute to the emotional song.

The music video, too, gave off the same feeling the song did — incredibly sad and miserable but I couldn’t really get into it. Admittedly BIGBANG has probably has a far higher budget than even the top C-pop artistes, and K-pop artistes in general take these things called music videos very seriously. It seems that all five members all get their own story arc in I’d say at least most of their music videos. That makes sense.

Song? 81%

Music Video? 84%


“A”

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“Bang Bang Bang”

So “Bang Bang Bang” is what I would call the most “K-poppy” of all the songs off of MADE so far; this is the sort of stuff I would associate to what K-pop sounds like. Am I a big fan of it? Um . . . no?

When I first heard that the title was going to be “Bang Bang Bang”, I immediately thought of the English song “Bang Bang” that I heard a lot . . . which Jane Zhang ended up ruining for me on “I Am A Singer”. Aside from that, the beginning of June was a rather stressful time for me, so when I listened to it I wasn’t in the best mood . . . therefore didn’t have that good of an impression of “A” in general.

Going back to listen to this in July definitely let me appreciate that it’s much better than I initially felt it was, but still . . . no? It’s definitely incredibly upbeat, but I felt that the arrangement + the synthesizers + instrumentals were too noisy/ too much for my “weak and fragile ears”, as a friend once deprecatingly described. Oh yeah, and she’s a VIP.

Taeyang/ Seungri’s beginning parts gave me a bit of a headache, yes, but is was at the party scene when they started singing/chanting “Let’s go! [insert Korean words here] Let the base front go!” and then “Bang Bang Bang!” that my “weak and fragile ears” were, admittedly, rather “weak and fragile”.

The one part that my ears actually did like was the earlier part where G-Dragon started rapping, and the arrangement along with the “Bang Bang Bang”s (both GD’s and T.O.P.’s).

As for the music video . . . it definitely had that more “K-poppy” feel, too. At least I liked the outfits, so there’s that.

Song? 79%

Music Video? 87%

“We Like 2 Party”

Unfortunately, even upon listening to this again I still hold the belief that “We Like 2 Party” sounds at best mediocre. It doesn’t sound bad or anything, but I doubt I would ever go back to listen to it again. I’m also not a big fan of the chanting. Which — sorry — means no image or GIF from the music video.

At least the music video was incredibly adorable, and they actually have normal hair for once! This is probably gratitude for the fans, and I think at least they liked the music video (there’s been similar cases so I understand). I, as a non-VIP, found it really cute, too.

Which means . . . if you want to see cuteness, you’ll still have to give “We Like 2 Party” a view.

Song? 68%

Music Video? 91%


“D”

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“If You”

Hands down, this is probably my favorite release off the entire series. I really like how this focuses on each members’ impressive vocal ability, but also shows how beautiful two different members’ voices can harmonize as one. One thing BIGBANG does that makes it stand out is that it takes advantage of the fact that there are five different personas altogether. And, okay, I do prefer these more emotional ballads that focus more on the voice rather than the arrangement or instrumental. These ballads are part of why I prefer solo artists, but BIGBANG really just proved me wrong.

One thing I noticed was that G-Dragon was responsible for most of the chorus.

I like how there was no music video for this, too, because in the end we don’t need a visual; and, just considering, if we did get one, we would more than likely be disappointed.

The one thing I regret is immediately going to an English subtitled lyric video, because through each singers’ passion, this really sounds like I would understand, even though I don’t know any Korean.

And, in the end, just listen to it!

Song? 99.9%

“Sober”

To me, this song sounds quite like a party song, and more than likely describes them as not-so “Sober”. I’m not a big fan of “LET’S PARTAY” songs, and here my “weak and fragile ears” start acting up again. At the same time, it sounds very familiar, like I’ve heard a song with a very similar melody and/or arrangement, and I swear I saw this when it was first released.

But, oh well. :/

It’s sort of catchy, I suppose? Unfortunately I got a headache listening to this.

Around the later part of the music video, where they enter the calmer dreamlike state (the “Without you . . .” bridge of the song) I must say it was much better and for 20 seconds or so, I really enjoyed it.

Which is incredibly sad, because OMG but the epicness called the music video (#why).

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Song? 73%

Music Video? 99.9%


“E”

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“Zutter”

Earlier I’ve said that I don’t really listen to rap, but listening to the BIGBANG songs I’ve really come to enjoy both GD’s and T.O.P.’s rapping. So, when it’s just them two? Erm, well . . .

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I trust that this sounded good; I swayed along, and I THINK enjoyed it. But with the music video . . . I can’t take anything from this song seriously anymore. Yes, it was that crazy (but entertaining, too).

Entertaining, yes?
Entertaining, yes?

Oh, and they used the taglines, too. I guess I’m just not a big fan of that.

Unfortunately, when I see this sort of thing, there’s no way I can take anything related to “Zutter”, well, seriously. “Zutter” is the Korean pronunciation of “dope”, but even so I am just completely perplexed about what this was supposed to mean.

Eh, just enjoy.

Song + Music Video (because unfortunately these two things are basically inseparable)? 96% #wutislife

“Let’s Not Fall in Love”

This was definitely far more toned down — both in terms of the track and music video. And, let’s face it — with “Zutter” it was sort of necessary, or else I would’ve lost all my sanity. So? We get more cuteness. I’m not one to complain.

One of the main reasons that this track was not as memorable is because while it’s rather repetitive, there’s no definitive chorus or raps. Which totally makes sense, but then I sort of forgot what this sounded like.

The light background drums make it sort of upbeat, but are rather subtle. In that sense, I think it musically translates to how while a man has feelings, he’s unsure if he wants to go ahead — hence the title, “Let’s Not Fall in Love”. One part that was memorable was where the music completely stopped, and a girl whispers some pained words. This is also one part I’m seriously missing out on — is this why the man is guilty for being so selfish? I honestly don’t know.

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Let’s not fall in love with GD just yet.

Song? 80%

Music Video? 95%


One thing I’d like to address: the reason I might not have enjoyed some of these tracks (and there were some really good ones, too) as much as the rest of the world (or so it seems) is more than likely purely due to personal preference.

— moon148

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