Big Bang Need Support?

A young Big Bang

Its been some two years since Big Bang has grace the stages of  music shows in South Korea dazzling K-popper enthusiast. Just only two full  albums down and a barge of EPs Big Bang took their business to Japan. Hopefully to find the same amount of success but had a slow start. With their first full album Number 1 didn’t quite translated with J-pop. Unlike their second Japanese album self title manage to create a solid fan base for the fierce five men. Including a string of singles “Gara, Gara Go”; “My Heaven”; “Tell Me Good Bye”; “Koe o Kikasete” and most recent ‘Beautiful Hangover.” After two years of hard work and sleepless nights Big Bang leaves Japan. Turning down an invitation to appear on a Japanese award show.Back into arms of the fans who’s been their since  day one.

The K-pop scene has change in the past two years. The recent wave of estrogen has turn K-pop into an all girls club. With  very few male groups still struggling to hold on. Only a few have impact on  a major scale before heading to another Asian nations. Groups like 2am and 2pm remain including BEAST(B2sT), MBLAQ, Super Junior,U-Kiss etc…. all rival male idol groups to Big Bang. YG has been fixated on making sure Big Bang female counter part 2NE1 has created a solid fan base during their absence.

Once a six including So-1 who was later drop by Yang Hyun Suk

In 2009 2NE1 had major success with their first self title mini album. With the help of a Mnet documentary title 2NE1 TV which  bridge the gap between fans and artists. The very same propaganda tactics CEO/Founder of YG entertainment Yang Hyun Suk used to introduce Big Bang.  Instead it was on a string of documentaries Big Bang 1 Day 2 Nights and Big Bang on Intimate Note. As each member try out, train and earn their spots in the band. Giving a much-needed insight look on an often over fantasizes ideal of K-pop stardom. When the group settle down  only five remain G-Dragon (leader); Taeyang (main vocals); Daesung (personality); TOP aka Tempo (main rapper) and Seungri ( maknae). With the lost of So-1 aka Jang Hyun Seung who later join BEAST(B2st).

(left) Big Bang Vol. 1 Since 2007 (right) Big Band Remember 2008 (Korean)

Unlike 2NE1, Big Bang release a string of EPs that feature solo songs, G-Dragon and TOP showed off their lyrically/composer skills. From Always with the  same title track “Always” having Taeyang at the lead. Including their most fan favorite “Lies (거짓말).” A clever pop melody that is part of  an abundance  career defining songs created by Big Bang. To Hot Issue featuring “Crazy Dog” an off beat funky hip hop song. With another power pop track “Last Farewell (마지막 인사)” a Brave Brothers and G-Dragon brilliant  composer collaboration. While Stand Up featuring  “Day By Day (Haru Haru, 하루 하루)” is one of their most memorable tracks to date. Big Bang also release singles which one of them “Big Bang is V.I.P” became the name of their massive growing supporters. The group release their first full album Big Bang Vol.1 (also know as Since 2007) that feature “La,La,La”;”Ma Girl”(Taeyang solo); “Dirty cash” and “Shake It.” The album peak unit sales of 27,877 +  ending with 110,408 units sold by its eighth week. Including lucrative endorsement deals that made Big Bang a household name and a favorite among industry critics.

Big Bang put YG entertainment on the map as a top record label on an international scale. Fans from South Korea and various parts of the world.Who didn’t even understand Hangul could appreciate Big Bang brand and form of pop music. Big Bang wasn’t the only group causing a large amount of frenzy. Since 2005 Dong Bang Shin Ki aka DBSK also TVXQ has been Koreans number 1 male idol group. When it came to popularity DBSK easily knock down Big Bang. Despite all this BB VIP are not jaded nor  Big Bang every felt defeated by their more famous foe. In 2008 with the full album release of Remember made it very clear that Big Bang is here to stay. The album feature “Sunset Glow” and “Last Farewell” remix. Also Seungri second solo “Strong Baby” which became an instant hit. Which quickly made them head of the pack and allow each member to individually stand out even more.

What made Big Bang truly different compare to their rival  idol groups is their musically involvement. Since the beginning G-Dragon and TOP have written lyrics/compose songs.G-Dragon especially who is the most focus on Big Bang outcome. Working along with outside producers and fellow YG composers. G-Dragon help develop his own group sound going further then what idol leaders are allowed to do on other major labels. This has been an important factor that separated the group as a whole from other Korean starlets. It’s a know fact that many of K-pop groups have little opportunity to influence what they sing or perform on stage. It may take them several years to develop a musical sixth sense, education and confidence from their own record labels to allow  creative input. Yang Hyun Suk felt confident that his male act Big Bang could achieve this goal. YG male groups that also include Jinusean, 1tym and YMGA have a history  of molding their on sound by any way possible. This also includes contributing to other YG acts who are lessor to do so but developing  a tight brotherly kingship.

(left)Big Bang Number 1 2008 (right) Big Bang 2009 (Japanese)

At the eve of their heighten success Big Bang leaves for Japan. In theory Japanese music market is the closet thing to America. Like in the U.S Japanese music is a make up of different genres (pop,hip hop,jazz,reggae,blues,rock,meta,etc..) and including sub-genre/music cultures.Also has the ability to push unit sales over 500,000 to 1 million plus. Unlike South  Korea where the average unit sale is between 50,000 to 150,000. For most Korean and even other Asian artists Japan is the ideal place to have massive success without going to the west. The issue is that Japanese fans are fiercely loyal to their own artists. Unlike South Korea with cable network music shows like Music Bank, Music Core, Inkiagyo and M!Countdown that allow fans to directly support their groups through votes/download polls. In return allowing groups to earn trophies, perform live and the ability to be #1 on various portal sites separated from main music charts in South Korea.  In Japan Music Station is the few available shows that allow artist to perform live and be televised without it being a music video.

K-pop in general is a very visual scene with the large amount of televised support from various networks. Japan and America do not provide the same propaganda making it challenging for artists starting from the ground up. When Big Bang release their first Japanese album Number 1 featuring title track “Number 1”, “Haru Haru” and “How Gee.”  It created fandom but not on the scale once seen in South Korea. Overall the album musically  was to mediocre and had way to much English. In Japan artist  use less English compare to Koreans. Judging by the main tracks Big Bang wasn’t totally comfortable with Japanese. Making it difficult for J-pop listeners to enjoy them with out looking back on previous body of works or the aid of BB VIP.To make matters a little more disheartening SM launch Tohoshinki aka DBSK/TVXQ in Japan. Even they found Japan to be one tough scene and not for the faint of heart. J-pop fans made it quite clear either convert and speak more of our native tongue or be forever 2,3,4,5 place to our own Japanese groups.

Big Bang was determined to make it in Japan even if it meant ignoring their Korean fans. Upon the release of their second Japanese album Big Bang drop “My Heaven” and receive a more positive review. Then “Gara Gara Go (ガラガラ GO!)” both a Japanese version and Korean. The second single help and J-pop fans saw the potential. Big Bang sold 12,00 copies on its first day and peak #3 on Japan’s Oricon charts. During 2009 SM and Tohoshinki relationship began to fall under. When a contract disagreement  between Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu develop over profit shares. The three men file suit under Seoul District Courts against SM. The condition of the lawsuit stop all promotions activities for DBSK/TVXQ/Tohoshinki opening the door of opportunity for Big Bang.

G-Dragon(Red) with Teddy with Kush working on new album

In the mist of Tohoshinki disappearance Big Bang snag awards for best new comers on various Japanese award shows. Beating their biggest competitor Tohoshinki who are still in negations over their lawsuit. In the mist of all the hype Big Bang release three more chart topping Japanese singles “Tell Me Goodbye”, “Koe o Kikasete” and “Beautiful Hangover.” Headline a sold out Japanese/Korean concerts  Electric Love Tour and Big Bang Big Show 2010. A follow up to their first Korean Big Show back in 2009. In 2010 at The 24th Japan Gold Disc Award Big Bang receive ‘The Best 5 New Comer’ and ‘Best New Comer.’ At 2010 MTV Japan Video Music Award receive Best New Artist Video “Gara,Gara,Go” and Best Pop Video “Koe o Kikasete.” This also includes various of other music awards won by Big Bang strictly in Japan.

At the eve of their heighten success in Japan Big Bang leaves. Returning home with enough knowledge to understand the different between true success verse popularity. The completions of Big Bang third  Korean album is estimated between 80-90% done. Fans can only get a glimpse via watching 2NE1 TV Season 2.  No tracks has been leak or any teasers yet by YG. Maybe the boys are taking a more organic route instead of creating hysteria. With G-Dragon and TOP at the wheel once again you can only suspect that “high quality” of music YG brags about. Big Bang’s odyssey through J-pop had to thicken their skin. Making them more determine than ever to be the true “leaders of the new school”, the new breed of Korean pop stars. Hopefully in this case lighting can strike a third time bringing  back the fire that made K-pop so hot in the first place.

Note: Solo Activities

(Left) Hot(2008)SOLAR(2010)(right)SOLAR/International

Big Bang also is one of the few Korean idol groups to have major solo album success without compromise. In 2008 Taeyang was the first member to make his first EP solo album debut with HOT.Which is widely recognize all over the world thanks to “Prayer (기도) and earning The 6th Korean Music Awards for the 2008′ Best R&B/Soul Song (나만 바라봐, “Only Look At Me”)’ and the 2008 ‘Best R&B/Soul Album (Hot)’. Making him the first idol soloist to win such awards in South Korea. Follow by “Where U At” and most critical acclaim track “Wedding Dress.”  In  2010 2nd solo album SOLAR sold out 30,000 copies of its Limited Deluxe Edition online. With a slow beginning  the main title track “I Need A Girl” breaking Top 10 spots. The followup SOLAR/International features “I’ll Be There.” Which place briefly on iTunes R&B/Hip Hop charts United States #5 and Japan, #3 in Canada.

(Left)Heartbreaker(2009)Shine A Light Concert DVD(right)Shine A Light Live CD

G-Dragon Heartbreaker full album solo debut one of the top ranking albums in South Korea for 2009 with annual sales topping 120,00 units.  Heartbreaker success  was soon plague by plagiarism accusation. Main title track “Heartbreaker” question of similarities between Flo Rida’s “Right Around.” This also include “Butterfly” verse Oasis “She’s Electric .” Follow by a complaint letter sent to YG behalf of EMI.With a19+ sales  restriction by Korean censor parent/child protection committees finding some songs’ content “adult”.  In the mist of all this G-Dragon was also found guilty of “acts of obscenity  ” in front of minors during his Shine A Light concert. G-Dragon  was later order to pay fines which he appeal. In early 2010 G-Dragon drop his Shine A Light concert DVD including a theatrical release of the concert. Also a CD which include a remix of “Heartbreaker” featuring Flo Rida. G-Dragon solo album is considering to be one of the most controversial album release under YG entertainment.

In 2010 TOP was first YG artists to have his single “Turn It Up” available on iTunes for overseas fans. The MV receive 1 million reviews within a two-day period on YouTube.

Daesung in 2008 is the first YG artist to release a trot song title “Nal Bwa Gwisun” (“날 봐, 귀순”, “Look at Me, Gwisun“). In 2009 “Daebakiya” (” 대박이야”, “Big Hit“) including his first musical debut along with Seungri in  Shouting. Daesung suffer an injury after being in a car accident which force him to drop out. He later feature on the musical Cats and drop another solo song “솜사탕 Cotton Candy.” With the possibility of a solo album by the end of 2010.

In 2009 Suengri earn a triple crown on SBS Inkigayo win with his 2009 solo song “Strong Baby.”

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