I know…the title of this chapter is enough to spark some disgruntled looks. If you’ve heard of Big Bang before reading this memoir, it might sound confusing. But as someone who’s been into k-pop since nine months before they’re first release, I can tell you that they’re debut was anything but an actual Big Bang.
Let’s start from the beginning.
By the fall of 2006, I had just turned 20-years-old and DBSK was still my favorite kpop group. H.O.T. would be the greatest in my book until about the year 2014. But H.O.T. disbanded back in 2001. Se7en latest album was awesome, but it was DBSK that actually got me into kpop with their hits “Rising Sun” and “Triangle”. In September of 2006, they released their third album, “O” and their music video was phenomenal.
I was glad to see they hadn’t lost their touch, having spent so much time trying to make a name for themselves in Japan. The choreography was on point and the song was fire. While I was super psyched to hear from them after some time…there was one problem that I couldn’t overlook…aside from their use of the World Trade Center collapsing as b-roll…The title song, “O” was the only song that I liked on the album. The rest, was garbage. Especially their follow up hit, “Balloons,” which if you saw, you’d see was very bubble-gum poppy with the video super focused on the visuals.
Back in film school, we had a word for albums like this. “Duds”. An album everyone thinks is going to be the bomb, but makes no explosion. That’s not to say it didn’t do well in Korea. It was the highest selling album in 2006. But part of that started to breed resentment in me. That they’re fans would just accept anything. Or maybe I’d gotten spoiled from uncovering albums from artists that had already been released, one after the other. While, with DBSK, I now had to friggin wait for God knows how long for their next album to come out.
And when it comes to the fans…dude. I’ve been referring to these boybands as groups…because that’s what they are to me. However, in Korea, they’re called idol groups. And it’s not hard to see why. DBSK had the largest fanbase of all the groups, probably the whole world. I think at one point, it numbered around 500,000. They were called Cassiopeia. That’s the name of their fan group.
I was a fan, but I never would call myself a Cassiopeia. Why would I?
After listening to just “O”…a single song on an album of eleven tracks, I was left with more to be desired.
It was around this time that was also listening to Se7en of YG Entertainment. And as you’ve learn from the end of the last chapter, I stumbled across a video of a pair of YG Trainees dancing. It was G-Dragon and YongBae.
After that…I saw on the Youtube sidebar a pre-debut song G-Dragon put out. It’s a remix of Maroon 5’s “This Love”. And dude…I’m telling you. Back then, I didn’t know how far he’d go. Only that he was by far the most talented artist of our generation. I recognized all of this from just one listen to this song. He was only 18-years-old at the time and he wrote all of his own lyrics.
“This Love” by G-Dragon was amazing. It’s one of those timeless songs that never gets old no matter how many times you hear it, no matter what year it is, no matter what the trends are. The song, the style, the vocals, everything works.
Coincidentally, it was just like when I discovered DBSK. I saw the video of Yunho before learning he was the leader of DBSK. I saw videos of G-Dragon and learned he was the leader of YG’s up and coming 2nd generation group following in the steps of 1TYM. That group went by the name of Big Bang.
The first video I saw of all five members was “LaLaLa.” I’ll let you listen first before hitting on some key points.