[Review] Still Life – BIGBANG

The biggest comeback of this week is undeniably BIGBANG’s, who returned on Tuesday with their latest single Still Life. This new release ends the four year BIGBANG drought, with their last official group release being Flower Road, which was over four years ago. It has been even longer since we have heard from the individual members. While the group has been inactive over the last four years, a fair amount has happened. The members each undertook their military enlistments, Seungri retired from both BIGBANG and the KPOP industry due to a scandal and T.O.P ended his contract with YG Entertainment (but will remain a member of BIGBANG going forward).

Still Life is a subdued rock track that focuses on two elements – vocals and emotions. Both goes hand-in-hand within Still Life, making this both a somber and powerful release. Still Life‘s instrumental starts off slow and builds as the song progresses, allowing the song to grow towards the peak (i.e. the ‘La La La‘ sequence of the song, which really bundled Still Life in a nice, warm and comforting manner). There isn’t anything mind-blowing with the instrumentation, but it acts as a beautiful background to the members. Each member stunned me with their delivery. Taeyang started off Still Life with his warm and hopeful vocals, while Daesung followed up with his signature husky and raspy vocals. G-Dragon and T.O.P follows with vocals and expertly weaves in some powerful rapping, completing the BIGBANG reunion. The melodies in Still Life are remarkable, captivating and elicit that swaying effect that I talk about a lot when it comes to ballads (or other slow songs). Big ticks from me. I am also in awe with the way the song’s Korean title rolls off from both Taeyang and Daesung’s tongues. It just comes out beautifully. While the melodies and vocals act as an effective carrier of those emotions, it is the lyrics that are deep and meaningful. When I read the English lyrics, it just makes the members’ melodies and vocals just so much more impactful, and I recommend that you do the same for this song. Overall, Still Life marks the return of one of the legendary and famous KPOP groups, and does so in such an emotional and stunning manner that was expected of BIGBANG by all fans.

The music video was a beautiful accompaniment for this comeback. It appears each member represents a particular season, which would be in line with the song’s title. My best guess is that Taeyang represents Spring, thanks to the presence of the flowers and lamb; Daesung’s blue background felt refreshing and so represents Summer; G-Dragon’s umbrella and harsher reds represents the Autumn seaon; while T.O.P’s scenes features darkness and snow, which one would associate with Winter. I believe this order (which is the order in which they appeared in the video/song) matches up with the Korean title of the song. The video has also been theorised to be hinting at a possible disbandment. And personally, I do see that angle, with the members being separated and never coming together. We do see a glimpse of four chairs, but they are never all filled. Taeyang is featured with a lamb on a ship, which might represents his child and his journey into fatherhood. Daesung appears to be looking at himself in the present (based on the silhouette of the person we see in the background with the same hair) and is seen taking a picture with the four chairs, which might suggest that he is hanging back to hold onto the BIGBANG name/title. G-Dragon’s scenes featured a stage and a ‘behind-the-scene’ foldable chair, which might represent his desire to still be part of the industry, but in a producing or off-screen role. T.O.P’s scenes are on a different planet, which might represent his departure of YG, but his presence in the video confirms that he is still loyal to BIGBANG. At the end, we see each of the members walk away, leaving behind their empty set. Regardless of what the meaning and intent of the video, it is one that works extremely well with the song and is definitely nice to see the members in a video once again.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

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