Big Bang Return to Remind the World Why They’re K-Pop Legends
‘Still Life’ is the group’s first release since a four-year break during which the members completed their mandatory military service
Four years since we last heard from them, South Korean superstars Big Bang are back with a new song, “Still Life.”
Big Bang originally made their debut in 2006 and rose to the top of Korean music charts shortly after, making them one of the country’s best-selling boy bands at the time. They were regularly awarded Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year honors at major Asian music award shows, and by the early 2010s their success had crossed over to the U.S. In 2015, Big Bang released MADE, which was then followed by a round of projects to celebrate the group’s 10th anniversary the following year.
Things started to slow down for Big Bang once the members enlisted for their mandatory military service one by one, and their last release before this was “Flower Road” in 2018. Even without new music, Big Bang has remained a major influence on the next generation of Korean stars, and its members have found ways to make waves in other areas. G-Dragon had several successful sneaker releases with Nike, G-Dragon and T.O.P are key figures in the art world as collectors, Taeyang got married and has recently welcomed a son, and Daesung, who has always strayed away from social media, opened a YouTube channel to engage with fans in his own way. Today, following a tumultuous few years with all members having completed their mandatory military service, the group has returned as a quartet of G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, and Daesung.
“Still Life” reflects where Big Bang is right now, but it’s also a track that long-time fans can relate to. Lyrics like “Goodbye now to my beloved young days” and “I keep remembering those glorious and loving days” bring listeners back to when Big Bang was touring the world and selling out shows with nonstop activity. Now, more than fifteen years into their careers, the members have become more introspective and seem to be content with where they are at, and with everything they’ve overcome. T.O.P raps about “burying all the trauma from past nights” and vows, “I’m going to change more than before to become a good person even more.”
Big Bang has been known for writing their own music since their debut, which was uncommon for K-pop groups in the past, and “Still Life” is no exception, with members G-Dragon and T.O.P credited for lyrics and composition. The melody is reminiscent of Seventies and Eighties soft rock, adding to the list of genres that Big Bang has experimented with.
The music video starts with a solo shot of Taeyang standing amongst yellow flowers, and later in the video, G-Dragon looks out at a sea of yellow lights, representing their fandom’s light sticks. The music video noticeably features each member individually throughout, with no group shots, and displays their five-line logo from their MADE album, despite now being a four-piece group.
With “Still Life,” Big Bang shows vulnerability and growth, and leaves fans hopeful for more to come.
Find a playlist of all of our recent Songs You Need to Know selections on Spotify.
From Rolling Stone US.