Big Bang’s Comeback Reminds Fans of Their Place In K-Pop – ‘Still Life’ [MV Review]

The much-awaited return of sensational boy group Big Bang has left K-Pop fans across the globe and of all generations rattled with anticipation.

Aside from their good-bye track to fans titled “Flower Road,” which was released in March of 2018 before the groups’ mandatory military enlistment, the group hasn’t had an official comeback or track release since 2016.  Since their last commercial success with the tracks “Fxxk It” and “Last Dance” from their ‘MADE’ album, the group have been out of the spotlight and even parted ways with member Seungri due to the many controversies surrounding him after the “Burning Sun” scandal became a hot issue.

Reuniting as four after taking time to recover from the many media issues surrounding the band, Big Bang has finally dusted off their mics and teased for comeback fans believed would never happen (especially with the way YG neglects his groups).

On April 5th at midnight KST, Big Bang unveiled the music video for “Still Life” which is an emotional track T.O.P and G-Dragon co-composed and co-wrote. Within 24 hours, the MV already garnered 18 million views and sold more than 1 million digital copies in China. Get cozy and prepare for an emotional voyage as you set sail and rediscover cherished memories with the familiar voices of Big Bang in their MV below.

A soft rock genre track describing the particular qualities and comforts of “Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter,” the song is a charming description of their life and the passing seasons. In the music video, each member represents each season as they serenade fans through sentimental feelings and create a serene atmosphere.

The MV begins with member Taeyang gazing into a mystical sky as he rides a ship filled with vibrant flowers. The soft tinted lighting and the misty cotton candy sky surround him as he appears to float freely in this atmospheric wonderland. His soft vocals open up the song magically and immediately set the tone for this pleasantly tender song. His angelic but powerful voice is the beauty of a natural spring season.

Daesung prances through time as he meanders around a vintage but opulently decorated mansion. His vocals echo through the halls and his emotions seem as long and winding as each corridor. The greyscale filter that suddenly brightens as the sun seeps into the scene portrays a calming arrival of brighter days ahead. Like we all do, he takes a photo to capture the essence of his past and begins to look forward to the rest of his story. His future is the ever-shining sun that cascades the earth in summer.

G-Dragon is displayed in his element and seems to be as artistic as ever. Looking at the world through rose-tinted lenses, he merrily dances with his umbrella, blocking off the harsh rays and imagining the rainbow that is guiding and shining over him. His lyrics “Finally the four at last” feels like a not-so-subtle metaphor of Seungri’s absence and how the four have reappeared to the fans after all the rain has fallen down. His creatives spirits are the shadows and gentle breezes of a tinted afternoon in autumn.

T.O.P is spotted on the moon, as he walks across an endless snowy plateau. The atmosphere feels like a subtle reference to his unforgettable dance on the moon in their swanky MV “BAE BAE.” The concept comes from the simple reference of making rice cakes like the rabbit in well-known Asian folklore. This can symbolize how the artists, like the rabbit, are busy at work building and making something special (rebuilding themselves). He represents the frigid winter with his cold-worded rap.

Each of the members sported long hair, which is another symbolic gesture of time passing, wisdom gained, and being a person of experience.

From the beginning, you can tell the song and MV are something special as YG was not hesitant in promoting the group’s comeback with nothing but the best in effects, sets, designs, and styles. While many agencies may scrimp and scrounge and take a more frugal route in regard to their artists’ comebacks (think Brave Entertainment’s Brave Girl’s “Thank You”) YG proved they always splurge a hefty budget for their artists. This may be the key reason why all of their productions are always so astonishing and eye-catching.

The song is reminiscent of Big Bang’s familiar style. Although it has been years, the group mesh together effortlessly as if no time has passed by and they made a comeback just the other day. Outside of the acoustic guitar strumming, the song’s electric guitar seems to be the most playful and energetic part of the instrumental. What remains consistent throughout the song is the utilization of a somber piano melody at a low key alongside delicate drumming sequences rather than a rowdy blaring one often heard in their dance hits.

Similar to “Last Dance,” “Still Life” manifests an atmosphere that showcases Big Bang’s ability to be passionate singers driven by emotion. Despite getting the part started with its like “Bang Bang Bang” or “Fantastic Baby,” “Still Life” is a conceptual masterpiece of peace, serenity, and harmony as the voices gently travel through the listener and seem to offer some sort of condolence. The lyrics gingerly peek at the past memories that hopelessly escape our grip and we cannot help but relish and recollect them.

The song paints the realism of time changing the seasons and a person evolving the same way. With our own unique perspectives, qualities, and colors, humans change and bloom like a flower in the spring, shine like the summer, feel melancholy in the autumn, and maybe fear and despair in the coldest winter.

Despite the fear of inevitable change, we must continue this process through the rough rains, gentle winds, and darkest nights. Lyrics like “Goodbye now to my beloved young days” and “Those who left and those who came… I’m going to become more of a better person” symbolize not only how we change but also how the environment and world around us will as well. Check out the meaningful lyrics below.

The popular saying, “Some friends are here for a reason, a season, and a lifetime” comes to mind when considering the poetry behind the lyrics. The song reflects deeply on the career of the artists themselves as they have overcome various obstacles over the years – including moments that may have disappointed their fans. As G-Dragon, T.O.P, Daesung, and Taeyang appear on the familiar stage in front of their fans again, Big Bang wants to express they may have transformed in some ways but the change is for the better. Like the passing seasons, we need to accept this new appearance, sound, and color.

“Still Life” is also a bitter pill to swallow as it casts an eerie reminder of the gripping hold Coronavirus had over the world for the past two years. It enforced change that some may have struggled with but the song can remind listeners that we must continue to prevail. As we look back on some time lost, moments gained, and changes experienced, the seasons represent the chapters of our life that complete the history that is us. The title “Still Life” itself can be a suggestion of a childish wish when someone tries to desperately hold on to the way things were, but as Big Bang said, “Good-bye to my old self,” and “to become better and better.” 

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Collectively, the song is not only well developed but beautifully sung by the wonderful voices of Big Bang. If one had to nit-pick, T.O.P’s rap could have been better. It lacks the energy he used to project and the sudden deep auto-tuned additions make his part off-putting. The song does a good job of maintaining a balance between the members and Seungri’s absence doesn’t present a massive gap that can’t be filled. The MV is an aesthetic masterpiece but, towards the middle, Taeyang’s set is too visible and suddenly takes the viewer out of the scenario of floating through a flower-filled ship in the periwinkle sky of memories. Instead of feeling uplifted, I suddenly feel grounded (Check the 1:51 mark).

stilllife

Again, the group has seemed to have easily drifted their way into our hearts and our playlists. Despite being gone for so long, this comeback is a large reminder of their presence in K-Pop and how the legends will never be forgotten but remained immortalized in music. The song is just the beginning of a long history with Big Bang.

What did you think of this emotional track by the group? Did it satisfy the expectations you had held onto for so long as a fan? Perhaps it was lackluster and you’re awaiting their next release? Share your comments down below and let us know which season represents you.

MV Storyline…..9

MV Production…..10

MV Concept……..9

MV Score: 9.3

Song Production……9

Song Concept………9

Song Composition……………10

Song Score: 9.3

FINAL SCORE: 9

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