Big Bang "Still Alive" Album Review

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Big Bang is back already with a special edition of their previous album Alive (which I reviewed back in March). This special album is named Still Alive, which I guess sounds only  logical. The tracklist includes altogether 9 songs, four of them are previously released "Fantastic Baby", "Blue", "Bad Boy" and "Love Dust". The rest five - "Still Alive", "Monster", "Feeling", "Bingle Bingle", "Ego" - are new songs. 
Compared with Alive the special album Still Alive has a more easy-going feeling. The new tracks (with the exception of "Monster") are refreshing and summery. The boys have also tried some new things and mixed their style up a bit, yet the title track "Monster" definitely conveys Big Bang's ultimate essence. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting the special album to be very remarkable after they had just recently done their comeback with Alive, but Still Alive isn't weaker at all. Now excuse my bias, but...Big Bang, you still rock!

"Still Alive"

"Still Alive" was the entrance song for the Alive album also, but then it was just 48 seconds long. Now we have a full length track, and a very enjoyable one at that. I actually liked "Still Alive" even when it was 48 seconds long, but now I can consider this as an actual song. T.O.P-s fierce rap, Taeyang's solo and Seungri's singing are the most notable parts in the song. Seungri who is often labeled as the least important member of the group (I don't know why, I find him so lovable) exhibits some really beautiful vocals. I think he is pretty underrated, probably because he has to sing side by side Daesung's and Taeyang's powerful vocals, while his own voice is perhaps too mellow to compete with them. 
Anyways, when it comes to the song lyrics I can see that the boys are quite directly addressing the issue of their past scandals: "I may seem like I’m dying but I won’t die, I won’t escape the other’s eyes and hide, Those pointed fingers are proof that I’m still an issue, Disappointment and hope are the reason and basis, Malicious gossip goes up and down in people’s mouths." Though they have been through some tough times I'm glad that it has at least given them inspiration and motivation to still make music. This shows how strong Big Bang is as a group, and how talented and goal-driven each member is on his own.


The reason why I didn't talk about "Monster" when it came out is because initially I kinda didn't like it as much. But as it was for me with "Tonight", I fell hard for the song after the hype around it had tied down a bit. Now I freakin' love the song and can't imagine how lived these past weeks without listening to it. I love that in some parts the boys change their tone from tender and calm to angry and ominous, creating this creepy vibe that goes together with the lyrics. The piano melody playing in the background also adds to the dark atmosphere. And I simply love Daesung's powerful chorus.
The music video, however, isn't really to my taste. The costumes are awesome if we look at them from the artistic aspect, but they aren't enough monster-like to match the song. And then of course the hair, which, to say the least. Overall the video is visually very beautiful, but I imagine that they could have done something even better with that concept. Eat Your Kimchi's review on it pretty much covers what I think of the video, so watch it here.
I have two theories about the meaning of the song. If we look at the lyrics then they describe a man who realizes his loved one seems cold and distant towards him. He is reluctant to let go, to the point of being obsessed, and the woman becomes afraid of him: "As you tremble, you take a step, two steps back, You say that I scare you now, You’re like a moon that makes me go crazy." This marks as his transformation into a "monster", which is what scares the woman. He has lost his patience and forces his love on her. But then he comes out from the crazed state and pleads her not to leave. In the end he decides to let go and realizes that he isn't mentally well: "I think I’m sick I think I’m sick".
BUT according to rumours, the song is actually about Big Bang's feelings towards the fans who left them during the scandals. It makes sense that this could have been the initial idea for the song. In that way the woman in the song symbolises the fans, and the break-up is a metaphor for how these fans were so disappointed in Big Bang that they decided to leave their fanbase. It is plausible.


This is the tune to listen on a summer's night before going out to party. After the dark and emotionally heavy "Monster" this song is like a warm breeze. The song reminds me of "Sunset Glow", or rather the feeling of "Sunset Glow" because the two songs don't have exactly the same sound. It just has that laid-back summery feel that really fits the season. The beat and rhythm of the song easily gets me up and moving along.
The lyrics are pretty basic for a party song: "Leave the music like this, Dance and sing loudly, Don’t stop this feeling, It can’t get any better than this." I'm really diggin' the chorus actually, Daesung's voice is somehow so intoxicating. I'm really feeling the song.

"Bingle Bingle/Bingeul Bingeul"

"Bingle Bingle" is characterised by upbeat rhythm, electric guitar chords and a catchy beat. Some sequences of the song are slightly autotuned to achieve that dance-song feel. The chorus is memorable yet simple.
Despite having an uplifting sound to it, the song lyrics are actually about worries that go along with relationships. A man wants to take the next step in his relationship, but the woman seems only to be toying with him: "Why are you playing with me? Am i too good to give to anyone else? Yeah, you’re like a bratty 7 year old, I’m just your toy, your barbie doll pow." He keeps hoping, but realizes that she doesn't feel the same way. They only go around in circles and that makes him "dizzy" (bingeul-bingeul means round and round): "Bingeul bingeul, stop switching your words, Why are you confusing me, why are you playing with me, Bingeul bingeul, my head hurts."


This song starts with slow guitar playing, which is pretty unlike the usual style of Big Bang. "Ego" continues to build up and then breaks down every once in a while when the another member takes over the song. It is the most mellow-sounding tune of the album, making it a perfect ending song for Still Alive.
The lyrics are just cute. They are about a confident man falling in love with a girl who is very different from him. He is mesmerized by her: "You’re so beautiful, I’ve been bewitched, I can’t fall asleep tonight at thoughts of you, You’re so wonderful, I have gone crazy, I can’t snap out of it, I’m getting dizzy." He realizes that she has crushed his confidence - "killed his ego": "I’ve never been like this before, that’s right, Girls are just girls, they weren’t that special to me, I’m a prideful, strong, manly, tough guy, But when I see you, I am trembling."

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