Big Bang’s Alive Surges Among K-Pop Listeners

alive coverA train rolls by on the tracks above Brooklyn. The camera pans down to the street where a young man with purple hair and a fitted hat with words “BAD BOY” printed across the front chases after a girl who clearly wants nothing to do with him. One by one, the rest of the members of Big Bang make their appearances in the video for their single “Bad Boy.” Among them is lead rapper TOP who is almost impossible to miss with his bright blue hair. The song was the second released off their latest album, Alive, an album which has become a staple modern Korean pop music or K-pop.

Alive, Big Bang’s seventh album has a more eclectic sound than any of Big Bang’s other albums. The music, produced mostly by leader G-Dragon, jumps from electronic ballads like “Blue” to upbeat house single “Fantastic Baby” and makes its way back to urban hip-hop – their base – through “Bad Boy.” The beats are perfectly layered to accompany and accentuate each voice of the group that is as diverse as their hairstyles.

TOP’s smooth raps, delivered in his distinct low voice, are paired wonderfully with vocalist Taeyang’s beautiful melody. Daesung belts his verse while SeungRi is designated with a mellifluous hook and G-Dragon completes the song with a catchy chorus.

The album has a more mature sound with songs focusing less on the advantages of being young and wealthy and more on the pain of heartbreak. Although the lyrics are mostly in Korean with phrases in English scattered here and there, the topics mentioned are relevant to teenagers and young adults worldwide which makes them a musical phenomenon in countries outside their native South Korea.

Starting with exposure on the Japanese music charts, Big Bang has grown globally over their six-year career resulting in their first world tour that kicked off in March of 2012, which included US shows in Anaheim, California and Newark, New Jersey.

The video finishes with the five guys standing together, each with a unique pose. Following almost a yearlong hiatus in which the members have grown individually with some branching out into solo careers and others facing the media after drug and musical copyright scandals, they stand unified as a lasting figure of Korean music.