The 10 Best BIGBANG Songs: Critics' Picks
With the completion of their MADE album, the Korean band BIGBANG has released a lifetime’s worth of music since their debut in 2006. 2017 will bring a new era for the group as members begin to fulfill South Korea’s mandatory military draft, beginning with T.O.P enlisting in February. But in the meantime, it’s always worthwhile to take a look back at the group’s decade of accolades.
10. “Bang Bang Bang” (2015)
The synergy of the trap-pop track “Bang Bang Bang” is impossible to ignore. Reverberating synths flit throughout the song, playing off the pounding rhythm and powerful horns to create the sort of chaotic environment BIGBANG thrives in. (The title is less onomatopoeic and more homage to the band.) The sudden shift in pacing throughout the single come off as jarring upon first listen, but the stuttering rhythm makes the frenzied energy of “Bang Bang Bang” all that more compelling.
9. “The Last Farewell” (2007)
One of the most blatant pop songs in BIGBANG’s repertoire is “Last Farewell,” a trance-tinged hip pop rager that hits all the right notes to be quintessential K-pop song: catchy chorus, swoon-worthy crooning, and a pump-up dance beat. It’s no accident that it fits the K-pop formula: “Last Farewell” came out on the heels of BIGBANG’s first major hit, “Lies,” and built on that song’s momentum with a radioplay-friendly dance track. “Last Farewell” is more typical than some of the group’s future bangers (“Fantastic Baby,” “Bang Bang Bang”) but was the first hint to the direction the group would eventually go in.
8. “Monster” (2012)
The haunting “Monster” presents BIGBANG at their most dramatic: the uptempo track depicts a denial of one’s own nature (“I love you baby, I’m not a monster”). The song’s tight composition clashes gentle melody against orchestral cacophonies as the members ruminate on their state of mind. The mournful tone of the vocals combining with the instrumentals is glorious, but it’s the sneaking, subtle intro and outro refrains from T.O.P and G-Dragon that provide “Monster” with the perfect touch of eeriness.
7. “Fxxk It” (2016)
“Fxxk It” is one of the last song’s BIGBANG will release as a fivesome for a few years, but its overwhelming sonic elements should be enough to satisfy listeners for sometime. The thumping electronic melody incorporates the best of BIGBANG: strong vocals, dramatic raps, and quirky beats. And, in case there was any doubt of the band’s feelings, the explicit title comes across as BIGBANG’s literal “fxxk you” to Korea’s straightlaced music industry.
6. “Love Song” (2011)
There is no purer pop-rock ballad in BIGBANG’s wheelhouse than the melodic “Love Song.” Like the best BIGBANG melodies, “Love Song” forgoes a heavy rap sound in favor of soaring harmonies. Blending electronic and acoustic instrumentals, the track features excellent vocal performances from the fivesome as their voices blend together towards the song’s building conclusion.
5. “Bad Boy” (2012)
Despite their bangers and ballads, BIGBANG’s roots have remained firmly placed in evocative hip hop and R&B over the years. “Bad Boy” was one of the first Korean songs to introduce a mellow, tropical beat and remains one of the band’s most memorable songs to date, thanks to its airy swagger and swaying raps.
4. “Let’s Not Fall In Love” (2015)
From its first moment the bittersweet “Let’s Not Fall In Love” offered up a more inspired, mature take on the BIGBANG’s softer side, starting with T.O.P’s tender verse in lieu of his typical deep-voiced rap. Featuring a variety of vocal samplings, acoustic melodies, and hazy synths, “Let’s Not Fall In Love” emulated a torrent of emotions through its hazy vocals and sudden tempo-shifts to create a perfect depiction of BIGBANG’s classic heartfelt dance ballads.
3. “Lies” (2007)
BIGBANG’s first hit “Lies” began with a dial tone and was built around subtle piano, brassy percussion, and a clapping beat. Combined with the melodic, surging chorus and some rapid-fire rap, “Lies” took BIGBANG out of their comfort zone of R&B and hip hop, and placed the act down the path into the realm of avant-garde experimentalism that they’ve become known for over the past few years.
2. “Haru Haru” (2008)
The hip pop “Haru Haru” brought BIGBANG into the K-pop big leagues thanks to its evocative lyrics and memorable harmonies from the group’s vocalists. Thumping beats and the dramatic, conversational raps of “Haru Haru” meshed with the sentimental piano melody to straddle the line between dance song and ballad, something BIGBANG’s excelled at over the years. The beautiful tune remains one of BIGBANG’s most popular songs in South Korea.
1. “Fantastic Baby” (2012)
Immediately upon its release in 2012, “Fantastic Baby” was a game changer for the quintet. The pulsating EDM elements felt new for K-pop at the time, and the English catchphrases (“wow, fantastic baby,” “boom shakalaka,” “I wanna dance dance dance”) helped the single spread throughout the globe. That, and the eclectic, fashion-forward music video that presented the most eclectic rendition of BIGBANG yet.
From start to finish, the stimulating melodies demanded attention and, like the best K-pop songs, “Fantastic Baby” didn’t limit itself to one genre. The 2012 hit was built around hip-hop, house, and techno beats, and incorporated charismatic raps for T.O.P and G-Dragon and displays of building vocals from Daesung and Taeyang. With its display of individuality from the five members and its memorable, hyperactive sound, “Fantastic Baby” became the ultimate BIGBANG banger.