Translator’s Note: This is a piece of writing, or more like a series of memos found in Myoungseok Kang’s blog (Kang is the editor of 10asia Magazine).
1. Blue doesn’t seem very appropriate for the streets. It is neither fast nor striking enough to overcome the noise on the street. ‘Bad Boy’ is a similar case. Nevertheless, ‘Fantastic Baby’, which has a fast tempo, will probably be the most suitable for the streets out of the tracks. In other words, the tracks are not catchy enough for everyone to sing along like IU’s ‘Good Day’. Was this risk necessary for Big Bang?
2. Artists’ profits do not only come from album/music sales. For example, Girl’s Generation’s success comes more from concerts and advertisements, rather from album and music sales. While concert sales are dependent on fans, advertisements are offered to artists who are popular and have a representative value within the field. Hence, trendy artists appear in advertisements for clothing brands targeted at people in their twenties; whereas older trot artists appear in arthritis medicine commercials. Girls Generation gained popularity in all age ranges and therefore appeared in a wide variety of advertisements. Moreover, G-Market hired Big Bang as their model and emphasized their slogan “G-Market for the Twenties’.
3. People can have varying opinions on whether Big Bang is an icon of the twenties. However, it is true that Big Bang has followed the styles and trends of the twenties the most closely out of the existing male idol groups. G-Dragon is a fashion icon and Big Bang has released music, such as ‘Tonight’, that is very mainstream and trendy. Although GD&TOP’s ‘High High’ and ‘Knock Out’ did not sweep all the music charts, those tracks made Big Bang an idol group that can freely perform at clubs. Furthermore, Taeyang is almost like a black musician. Being a popular group, Big Bang suggests music and fashion that people in their twenties would think are ‘cool’. Therefore when companies are targeting people in their twenties as their market group, Big Bang is probably the most likely male idol group that companies will pick.
4. Big Bang’s tracks all have different characteristics. ‘Blue’ is a mix of eletronica and folk melody; ‘Bad Boy’ has its roots in hip-hop and ‘Fantastic Baby’ seems like a clubbing song. However, these songs are based on hip-hop and electronica while having western pop sentiments. If one is used to music from the Billboard chart, one will be able to listen to ‘Blue’ using earphones when he or she is alone; walk according to the rhythm in the streets while listening to ‘Bad Boy’ with Dr.Dres; and dance to ‘Fantastic Baby’ at clubs on a Friday night. These songs seem like they are for those who are sensitive to the style and trend. It is hard to say that everything was carefully intended by Big Bang or YG Entertainment. Notwithstanding, YG has most enthusiastically brought in music based on hip-hop and electronica to Korea and Big Bang members have tried to represent the trends of the twenties. These people in their twenties followed Big Bang’s lead, looking for something ‘cool’, and in the process of that the public’s taste also followed Big Bang’s pathway. Through Big Bang’s trendiness, fashion and pop, Big Bang was able to dominate a large portion of the fields relating to trends of the twenties. Big Bang no longer needs to make a big hit like Big Bang did with ‘Lies’. What is more important for Big Bang is to give remind their generation of the group’s ‘sophistication and trendiness’. Besides, ‘Lies’ was a product of trendiness and mass appeal.
5. Big Bang’s performance on SBS’s ‘Inkigayo’ on the 11th shows what Big Bang is. Big Bang is a group that needs to focus on their impact on the trend and style rather than their mass popularity and fandom size. Accordingly, performances with rigid choreography do not really suit this group. A song like ‘Blue’ in which the song calmly flows cannot be fully expressed only through dance moves and a song like ‘Fantastic baby’ in which the members need to ‘play’ like they are clubbing needs appropriate lights and stage setting. It is difficult to express all the small details of each and every song in Big Bang’s concert because all songs are performed on the same stage. On the other hand, in ‘Inkigayo’ Big Bang is able to fully express the unique characteristics of each song through different stage settings. The design of the stage for ‘Blue’ and ‘Fantastic Baby’ visualized the feeling of the songs. Now Big Bang sings songs with hooks that are softer and persuades the audience of their songs’ sentiments through the overall mood of the stage. Big Bang is becoming better at conveying what the group is doing to the public. Right now, what Big Bang wants to do and is doing is almost identical to what they need to do in order to make profit in the markets.