Big Bang Comeback Album "Alive" Review

Saturday, March 10, 2012

One of the best-known K-pop boy bands, Big Bang, is back with their new album "Alive". This album has gained so much attention and anticipation from Big Bang fans, both international and Korean. So, today I'm here with my short(?) review of their comeback with "Alive".

Here are the seven comeback songs:

01. Alive
This is the short intro song for the album. Though I'm quite confused about why do we need an intro song I actually like it. Yes, it lasts for under a minute and there isn't a video to go with it, but since it's there I might as well listen to it. In fact, I think it would be a really good song if it lasted longer than 48 seconds.

02. Blue
I gave some thoughts about blue in My Winter K-pop Hits Part 2 post, but I guess I can babble some more (it is Big Bang, after all). I originally wasn't all psyched about the song, mainly because it was a ballad while I was hoping something more fierce for a comeback song. Yet I immediately acknowledged that it was a good song, though it took some relistening for me to actually fall in love with it. Anyways, I really enjoy the soft vocals and the melancholic feel of the melody. The lyrics are nice and, once again, show off GD's talent for (co-)writing sad meaningful songs.
The music video matches the song very well, with the bluish colour palette and the lonely-looking rooftop set. I like that the video is mostly bluish-gray but Big Bang members all have colour on them, making them stand out. Only thing that bothers me is that female model who - yes looks pretty - but has no purpose in the video other than five-timing Big Bang members. It is quite obvious she can't act as well, so she is more like a pretty prop in the video.

03. Love Dust
This song has that easy-breezy sweet sound to it. The lyrics are about looking back on your past romance and remembering the good things over the bad, ultimately about separating on good terms. Taeyang's voice seems to take the lead in this song, though all the members are nicely represented. While it is a lovely song I just don't quite feel it as much as I do "Bad boy" for example.

04. Bad Boy
While I first was a bit hesitant about "Blue" then I immediately fell in love with "Bad boy". It has more attitude and reminds me of Big Bang's earlier hip-hop songs. All of the members give their own glow to the song and I can clearly distinct them from each other. I totally love GD's and T.O.P.'s rap sequences. The song is about Big Bang guys being bad boys and clashing with their good girlfriend. I don't entirely get the English lyrics and some of the pronunciation seems a bit off, yet this song has other pros to it so I can just let these little things slide.
But I really love the music video which is quite simple like "Blue's", but with some awesome camerawork. All the members have their own screentime, but instead of cutting off the scenes they walk into each others frames and create the similar feel to "Love song". The set is also in New York and the urban city jungle creates a perfect hip-hop atmosphere. And the boys look all cool and street with that pimpin' walk and some smooth dance moves. So, both the video and the song are awesome. My only complaint is, once again, the acting by the models who display no emotions whatsoever throughout the entire video. Really, YG, where/why do get these robot models?

05. Ain't No Fun
What is curious about this song is how all the members use their voices somehow differently from what I've been used to. Their voices are still recognizable but I notice some new nuances that I've never noted before. The vocals are mixed with a soft beat and an electronic melody. The lyrics, however, are about forcing to break-up because there is no excitement in the relationship - there is no fun. So though I don't love this song, the new singing style sounds fresh and interesting.

06. Fantastic baby
I was actually pretty surprised with this song. The first time listening to it I was like "okay, maybe this is not my taste", but with each time hearing it I started to like this more and more. Honestly, I'm not very into electronic club music but whenever it's Big Bang I eventually fall in love (like I did with "Tonight"). Also, "wow, fantastic baby" got so stuck in my head (this might just be my favourite new phrase) that I would randomly use it myself in my daily life. All in all, this song is about letting yourself loose and having a good time dancing - a prefect club hit. Also, there is something reminding LMFAO about this song, right?
But the music video is so incredibly over-the-top awesome and visually wicked that I could watch this without the music. I usually roll my eyes whenever K-pop produces music videos with extreme styling, bare man chests and strange props, but this video is just perfect this way. GD is sporting some really weird emo-Rapunzel hair and black&white lipstick, but still manages to come across fierce, go figure. Plus, the cinematography of this video is top-notch, with those cool lighting effects. It is also the first time I acknowledge the fact that Seungri is not our adorable maknae anymore but a full grown man (oh, they grow up so fast, don't they?). And how awesome was that they each had their throne and were sitting like true K-pop kings at the very end of the video (yes, that is my biased brain that's talking)?

This is a very enjoyable song. I thought it was going to be a ballad, but I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be this powerful inspiring feel-good-song. The lyrics start with describing a sad break-up, but then continue on a more positive note and motivate you to live on, saying that even if you feel alone you are going to be okay. Needless to say that Daesung's voice is amazing and I love the "Woo hoo woo- wadadadadada uh uh uh yayayayayaya" part in the song. It truly is a great solo song by Daesung.

The verdict:
There is no doubt that Big Bang deserves the fame and the respect because they do come back strong every time. Their musical style changes, but the essence stays recognizable. While I still miss the old days of Big Bang, when T.O.P was the angry rapper, when Seungri was the cute maknae, when I heard "Haru haru" and "Lies" for the first time, I have to admit that Big Bang still shines brightly.
This album is not my favourite, nor do I love these songs as much as I love the old classics of Big Bang, yet it is safe to say that this is a good album. "Alive" has a slightly different style (electro and dance vibe) but I guess an artist needs to change their image from time to time in order to evolve.So they are still very much alive indeed...

[EDIT] And do check out the comeback performance at Inkigayo. The stages are so visually powerful and Big Bang has so much energy that it is just a delight to see them perform.

[EDIT no 2] This live performance of "Fantastic Baby" on YG on Air is even more awesome. Check out the rest of the songs on YG on Air on the same channel.

And here are some of the promotional posters below, enjoy... 

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