[review/kpop] BIGBANG’s mini-album, ALIVE. but it seems more like half-awake..

I will review the songs and their music videos (if applicable) in the order they appear on the album. Then I will offer my overall conclusion on BIGBANG’s ALIVE. Let’s get to it!

Just a word of warning, I am not an antifan or anything, it is my opinion on the tracks, and not malignment on BIGBANG personally. Thank you for understanding.

01. INTRO (ALIVE) 

So, I’m getting this retro vibe, and the swagger vibe, like the I’m-back-so-you-better-hail-me-as-your-king-vibe. Because of this, the introduction sets me up for a retro feel album and cockiness, strong beats and rather aggressive.

02. Blue

In context of the introductory track, Blue is totally wrong to be the next track. Perhaps a song like Fantastic Baby would have been better next. You get so amped up for BIGBANG, and then Blue hits, and frankly, it is rather depressing.

However, for the song itself, I think it is rather genius. It breaks free of Korean mid-tempo ballad cliches and manages to have a melancholy yet uplifting feel. It is fresh, as I said in my initial review.

03. 사랑먼지 (Love Dust)

Dust? Is BIGBANG referencing God, now? The second question I have is, why is this such a sweet and sticky song? I was so ready for a strong sing-a-long chorus, but the chorus seems so muted and half-baked; it’s like background music played at some little cute bakery in the middle of nowhere. Also, cute and sticky and TOP-singing do not mix (well).

04. Bad Boy

I have to admit this kind of sound is rather novel for South Korea but this kind of Caribbean sound and reggae beat is already overused and passed over in Western pop. And so, considering the reggae-ness of this song, G-Dragon’s gritty voice, Seungri’s bubble pop, TOP’s grating voice do not fit at all on this track. This song is very low-key like Blue, but at the same time, the pathos that Blue evokes is not here.

Yes, I will say it again, Bad Boy is half-baked.

The music video? Well, there are five different girls, and they all do not look like couture models. Yay, YG. Something is going right.

05. 재미없어 (Ain’t No Fun)

I know I said before that I do really like G-Dragon’s nasally sound in Blue, but here, this is just too much with all of them being nasally. This nasal sound is not G-Dragon’s real voice or any of BIGBANG’s real voices, as judging from previous albums, and using it too much causes it to lose its specialness. Also, I will say it again, using the nasal voice all the time makes it seem like you were singing half-baked. TOP’s one-phrase repetition in the chorus is also a bit creepy, because if I heard correctly, that’s the only time he appears in the whole song.

06. Fantastic Baby

This reminds me of a 2NE1 song, but I have no idea what it is; I spent about 10 minutes trying to find it. If you could point me in the right direction, I’d be much appreciated. This is actually a rather good dance track for a non-mainstream club, but I admit I raised my eyebrows when I heard TOP saying “Boom shakalaka”. Okay, I get that this album is supposed to have a retro feel, but really. This is just pure corn instead.

07. 재미없어 (Wings, DAESUNG SOLO)

When Daesung sings “Yeah” it reminds me of a rather classic American song, but again, I’m not sure what it is exactly, and I’d appreciate any help in this direction. The one question I had while listening was, is this really Daesung’s style? Whether it is or not, it is an average pop song masquerading as rock (think Pink).

Overall?

I am disappointed. You can mainly tell by the brevity with which I reviewed each song; I had nothing much to say. As I said in my Blue review, I was really excited to have BIGBANG come back, but once I listened to ALIVE, the discontinuity of the album just really hit me to the core. It just seemed like a mish-mash of what seemed good at the time; a bit of alternative, a bit of clubplay, a bit of reggae. And I’ll say it for the fourth time, this album just seems so half-baked. I don’t like my fish undercooked, and my steak bleeding.

One of the best albums I have seen in terms of continuity is Kanye West’s College Dropout. Just listen to his introduction, and you can feel the force of his whole album crashing down on you (such as Jesus Walks, All Falls Down, The New Workout Plan, Slow Jamz, etc.). Everything in that album, though each song is self-contained, references back to the introduction and forms a cohesive musical piece.

Perhaps BIGBANG’s vision is too fragmented now, with each member on their solo activities. Perhaps so. And yes, marijuana references; you know who sings with a nasally voice? Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. Yet, I am such a diehard fan of Green Day.

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One thought on “[review/kpop] BIGBANG’s mini-album, ALIVE. but it seems more like half-awake..

  1. Pingback: [review/jpop] STILL / One More Thing, TVXQ | the innocent lam

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