This post isn’t directly related to Korean learning but since other seasoned language learners have said that fangirling plays an important (and necessary) part of foreign language study, I have no qualms about dedicating this entire post to my biggest K-pop bias – Big Bang. Specifically, Big Bang’s 4th EP, which released a few days ago. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for ANY album release – Korean or otherwise – and let me tell you, the EP is WELL worth all the excitement.
I now present you with my completely biased opinion on each of their six songs. Disclaimer: This is just for fun. I am not in any way qualified to provide intelligent musical analyses. :)
<Intro> Thank You & You: I don’t really understand the point of intros so I usually don’t even bother listening to them. This is the first intro I’ve actually listened to and it’s great!
Hands Up: I remember when this song first came out about half a year ago and I was so disappointed, I didn’t even make it through one listen. That was around when I was still discovering Big Bang’s old stuff – like 천국 and 눈물뿐인 바보 – and I was disgusted at their new electropop sound. But I’ve reconciled myself to it now. This song is so addicting. Unfortunately, the lyrics don’t have any depth, especially the chorus, so Taeyang, Seungri, and Daesung’s voices are sorely wasted, but that’s okay because GD and TOP’s raps sound awesomely badass.
Tonight: Apparently this is the title track for the EP. It’s a good song – very catchy but WHERE IS DAESUNG? He only gets like three lines in the song! Don’t get me wrong – Taeyang (and Seungri?) sounds damn good singing the chorus but this song did not feel like Big Bang. It felt like GD, TOP, Taeyang.
Somebody to Love: This song is upbeat and fun but it’s my least favorite. I DO like it, but the chorus can get quite repetitive and dare I say annoying at times? It’s another song that doesn’t really have a lot of depth. They could have done better.
What is Right: I read somewhere that this was Big Bang’s favorite track and I can understand why. It has better lyrics, it’s catchy and it definitely captures sentiment that we can all relate to – especially that part when GD raps “아직도 모르겠어 right 그 아무도 모를테지 남자와 여자의 차이” (which means something like “I still don’t know right I bet no one really knows, that difference between guys and girls”). Also, thank goodness for not as much autotune in this song.
Cafe: HERE WE GO. This is the Big Bang I was waiting for!! “Cafe” is an appropriate title – it’s exactly like something you would hear in a cafe. It’s in a very different style from the rest of the songs in this EP. It’s more mellow, pop-rock than the hyperactive dance/electro-pop thing they had going on. The background music actually reminds me a bit of Maroon 5 (unsurprising since one of GD’s first solos was a remake of Maroon 5’s “This Love”). This song is head and shoulders above all the other songs in this EP in every aspect – from style to content to vocals. And speaking of vocals – GD’s falsetto juxtaposed next to TOP’s deep voice was absolutely chilling and, yes, (even though I love you Taeyang) it was a treat hearing GD sing that chorus. And WOW DAESUNG! He totally stole the the song. I did NOT know he could belt it like that!! I get goosebumps every time I hear his part. However, while “Cafe” is the most unique song of the EP, it’s clear that GD has been experimenting with this style for a while now, starting I think since 소년이여 and, recently, 집에 가지마. (The instrumentals of 집에 가지마 actually sounds a little Jason Mraz-ish to me.) The falsettos in are reminiscent also of 바보, one of Big Bang’s much older songs. Is “Cafe” comparable to 하루하루 or 거짓말? I don’t think so. But it’s definitely one of my favorite Big Bang songs ever.
Overall, even though I sound a bit critical, I love this EP. I’ve had it on constant repeat since I downloaded it four days ago. No, I do not think it’s as good as Big Bang’s older stuff but I understand that they’re trying to follow a trend here. I wish they’d leave off the autotune, repetitive choruses, and inane lyrics and go back to their R&B/hiphop roots or try something different. In fact, I think the GD&TOP album and GD’s solo album Heartbreaker had more stylistically unique songs than this EP. Then again, this IS just an EP so we’ll probably get more of that when Big Bang releases their next full-length album. Can’t wait till then!
Edit: Check out Allkpop’s review as well!