2015 may have belonged to BIGBANG, but the Korean boy band kept quiet throughout most of 2016. The quintet waited until year-end lists were in full swing before releasing their newest music, to complete last year’s MADE project album with the addition of three new songs: “Fxxk It,” “Girlfriend,” and the aptly-titled “Last Dance.”
The trio of songs dropped on Dec. 12, and brought MADE to a close on a sentimental note. Quirky mid-tempo “Fxxk It” and the melancholic “Last Dance” serve as singles, while “Girlfriend” — the only non-single track released off of MADE — is a mellow hip-hop throwback to the group’s early days. BIGBANG’s first studio album since 2008, MADE serves as a sendoff for member T.O.P, who will become the first member to enlist in South Korea’s mandatory military service in Feb., severing the quintet for years to come.
“Fxxk It,” co-written by G-Dragon and T.O.P, pulls heavily on BIGBANG’s international appeal and begins with Taeyang’s English-language lovelorn verse. The song quickly morphs into an electronic hip-hop track that blends an eclectic mix of horns, synths, and tropical beats, recalling the subtle chaos of last year’s “Bae Bae.” The swaggering title utilizes profanity atypical of Korea’s highly-censored entertainment industry, reflecting the band’s status in 2016: without any musical releases earlier this year BIGBANG came in at No.13 on Forbes’ list of highest paid celebrities under 30, surpassing artists including Ed Sheeran and Drake. Saying “Fxxk It” to everything is just natural for BIGBANG at this point of their lofty career.
In contrast, “Last Dance” is an evocative pop-rock ballad that serves as an ode to the band’s time together, promising “I will return to you.” The poignant rap from T.O.P at the song’s climax is accompanied by a sample of cheering fans, incorporating BIGBANG’s fans into their farewell for the foreseeable future. The accompanying music video carries the theme and ends with T.O.P smiling through tears before joining the rest of BIGBANG. Like the other songs on MADE, “Last Dance” was co-written by several members and is one of two songs on MADE (the other is “If You”) not to be produced by YG Entertainment’s in-house producer Teddy Park.
Over the past decade together, BIGBANG shaped the Korean music industry through the unique musicality of their party bangers and poignant balladry, a balancing act that’s enabled the boy band to surpass international boundaries and shirk off the limitations of K-pop’s youth-focused industry. The three songs and the album rose to the top of the iTunes K-pop chart shortly after their release as fans worldwide sought comfort in this last hurrah before the group’s impending separation.