On September 1, K-pop boy band titans BIGBANG will drop their fourth studio album M.A.D.E., the culmination of a narrative they’re telling through a series of singles and videos that, when played together, will comprise a complete story.
In May, they dropped “Loser” and “Bae Bae,” an ironic sad sack ballad and loverly trap anthem respectively, the latter of which features life boo G-Dragon rapping in Korean about being so in love he is possessed. For June, we get this new number, “Bang Bang Bang,” a high-saturated BDSM dystopia that features shirtless cossacks shooting flames from machine guns, G-Dragon gender-fucking (as ever) and walking a not-quite-voguing boy on a dog chain, revolutionary symbolism on a tank, and many hoopties on hydraulics in a parking lot hop contest. There is also a headdress, another example of K-pop appropriation that is not so much intentionally hurtful but is such a precise example of Western culture’s various racial stereotypes consumed and blown-out that it almost seems like an avenue in which to decentralize and possibly even defang some of those. (This video by my beloved CL, for instance, appropriates so many American tropes and subcultures that it practically just negates itself.)
As for “Bang Bang Bang,” the song, it savvily hits every note, including anthemic trap breakdown, a highly singable onomatopaeic chorus, quasi-Migos flow over a hi-NRG dance beat, a totally different hi-NRG dance beat with yet another anthemic chorus (“Let the bass drum go!” on a song that has very little bass in comparison) and a reprisal of the first anthemic chorus, culminating in a tightly choreographed, pogo’ing dance party accessorized with pyro and fireworks. It is, literally, lit. And if, by chance, you are unimpressed by the density, perhaps you should just listen on Spotify, because it is accompanied by another new song, “We Like 2 Party,” a midtempo number with production that hits the midpoint between Steve Miller Band, One Direction, and Biz Markie. Literally fuck America, you know? As Seoul-based agent Bernie Cho told Spin in 2012, “ “Twenty years ago, this place was pretty third-world and Tokyo was like Blade Runner. Now it’s the other way around. Koreans didn’t invent cars. Koreans didn’t invent mobile phones. Koreans didn’t invent flat-screen TVs. But they’ve somehow tweaked and twisted the formulas to the point that they feel fresh.”
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