It’s hard to imagine what the music world would look like today if BIGBANG hadn’t seen major success in 2008 with their song “Haru Haru (Day By Day)” and its now-iconic music video.
Released on Aug. 8, 2008 — exactly 10 years ago — the song not only solidified the quintet as leaders of the South Korean music industry, but also kicked off their path to global superstardom and helped shape K-pop as we know it today.
Let’s take a closer look at “Haru Haru,” 10 years later.
At first glance, “Haru Haru” may look a bit like an anachronism to international listeners who may be more familiar with dance bangers like “Fantastic Baby” and “Bang Bang Bang” rather than the group’s more sentimental offerings, like this year’s “Flower Road.” And at the time of its release, the group was going through something similar. “Haru Haru” had been preceded the year prior by the group blowing up through the catchy electro-pop vibes of “Lies” and “Last Farewell.” But with their new song, the act proved its ability to diversify its sound while still capturing the attention of listeners and ultimately cemented their place as leaders in the industry. “Haru Haru” laid the groundwork for BIGBANG’s success and much of their later artistry, and is still popular to this day in South Korea and among the band’s global audience.
Co-written by G-Dragon and Japanese producer Daishi Dance, the song blended the hip-hop leanings the group had started out with in 2006 and nostalgia-evoking, piano-based pop balladry of the very sort that thrives on South Korea’s music charts, where sentimentality and lite pop songs trump hook-filled dance tracks more often than not. Thanks to its evocative nature, with romantic regrets relayed by strong raps and desperately delivered verses, “Haru Haru” became one of South Korea’s biggest songs of 2008. It ultimately proved to not only be BIGBANG’s biggest hit of the year, but one of the most popular Korean songs of the past decade; it even made its debut on the World Digital Song Sales chart back in 2013, where it spent one week at No. 13.
The Music Video
As impactful as the song was on its own, the poignant music video released for “Haru Haru” is also largely responsible for the track’s success. Featuring a plot where G-Dragon thinks he’s betrayed by his girlfriend, played by popular Korean actress Park Min-young, and T.O.P, the video featured dramatic fight scenes between the members of BIGBANG and ultimately ended in tragedy, evoking All The Feels.
K-pop music videos that relay heartbreaking storylines aren’t anything new, but “Haru Haru” resonated with audiences immensely, first in Korea and then around the globe, and ended up as a prototype of what K-pop looked like in years to follow. It even got parodied by the cast of hit South Korean variety show Infinite Challenge, where the television personalities turned themselves into “Big Bag” to recreate the music video.
The BIGBANG clip recently surpassed 100 million views on YouTube, becoming the only music video by the act from the ’00s to reach that milestone.