For everyone who has been involved in the world of K-pop for a substantial amount of time, few names radiate as much weight and power as BIGBANG. A larger than life group that during their dominant 11 year run between 2006 – 2017, existed on a completely different plane of existence to most. In between the multitude of controversy, high fashion statements and larger than life performances, they harboured an immense discography, one that helped define what many consider their initial perception of ‘K-pop’. As such, it’s seemed a near eternity since the group have last graced us with new music, making the arrival of Still Life all the more meaningful to both fans and the public.
It would be an understatement to say that I was excited for this comeback. It’s BIGBANG. THE BIGBANG. A group genuinely considered to be K-pop royalty. And from its opening moments, Still Life manages to convey exactly why that is. There’s something so special about hearing Taeyang and Daesung tackle that opening hook. In an age where vocal effects muddle and strip away much of the potential personality and unique vocal tones present within a group, it’s an absolute revelation to hear a performance from a collection of voices that feels raw, unique and commanding. Each and every member of BIGBANG have a unique and instantly recognisable voice and Still Life is an excellent display of their strengths. There’s just so much charisma and personality dripping from every single vocal inflection, every single phrase, every single damn moment, that it’s almost impossible to not get wrapped up in the bittersweet drama of it all.
And while not the hype track that many of us would have wanted, Still Life remains a gorgeous reflection of the groups softer, more melodic side. Rock ballads have always been a favourite of mine and though it doesn’t shoot for the rafters like many of my absolute favourite’s, Still Life gets the structure down, building to notable emotional peaks whilst supporting its quieter moments with a gorgeous mix of emotive keys and that beautiful bluesy guitar riff. And if you break it down, it’s honestly quite a simple and inoffensive track. One that I could easily brush off and think nothing much of. But songs like this shouldn’t be viewed through a black and white lens. Still Life is a track that really feels like an end of an era. The end of a legend. The REAL end. And though it doesn’t leave a dent in the groups greater discography, that shouldn’t take away from it any way.
If this really is the end, I would like to thank them with all my heart. They gave the us so much over the years and while this may be the last we see of them as one, at least we got to see them go out with something special. And as cliche as it might be, don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.
Final Rating: 8.75 / 10