Big Bang turned nine years old on August 18, and K-pop fans around the world celebrated.
The extremely popular five-member K-pop act have released so many songs together that it’s hard to figure out what songs of theirs could ever be overlooked, but here’s our best attempt at picking Big Bang’s nine most iconic Korean songs.
1. “We Belong Together” feat. Park Bom (2006)
“We Belong Together” introduced the world to not only Big Bang as a group, but also 2NE1’s Park Bom. Big Bang had been put together through a survival competition show, much like their label mates WINNER and iKON.
"We Belong Together" was one of three singles off of the group’s first album, “Bigbang.” Not only did it introduce the sound of Big Bang with an up-tempo ballad that includes raps, but the track was composed by the group's leader, G-Dragon, and included lyrics written by himself and fellow member T.O.P.
The music video for “We Belong Together” showed off Big Bang’s synchronized dancing and introduced their iconic hip-hop fashion style.
2. “Lies” (2007)
This was the song that made Big Bang who they are today. “Lies” broke records left and right in South Korea, and was the big hit that Big Bang needed to be propelled into superstardom.
The song, yet another upbeat dance track, highlighted Big Bang’s talent, and is also credited to G-Dragon. Even though the song and music video for “Lies” are pretty tame in comparison to later Big Bang releases, numerous Big Bang songs are grounded in what can be seen here.
3. “Last Farewell” (2007)
As the follow up to “Lies,” “Last Farewell” had a lot to live up to, but it didn’t disappoint. While “Lies” was somber, “Last Farewell” was the fun counterpoint that showed where Big Bang was going with their career.
With some of the clubbiest sounds seen from Big Bang up until this point (although the 2006 “La La La” also tried), it’s not difficult to see how “Last Farewell” set the tone for Big Bang’s party attitude. If “Lies” set the darker side of Big Bang’s identity, “Last Farewell” set the tone for everything else.”
4. “Haru Haru” (2008)
At the time, Big Bang had just released their two biggest hits and then had to come out with something to top that. So they released the heart wrenching “Haru Haru,” a hip-hop ballad with a music video that still leaves fans in tears.
It’s very clear that “Haru Haru” built upon what the group started with “Lies” to create something even edgier. Raps by G-Dragon and T.O.P played a much larger role in “Haru Haru” than most evocative songs in South Korea at the time and highlighted their artistic capabilities, while not outshining the vocals of the other members.
“Haru Haru” became one of South Korea’s most successful singles of all-time, hinting to what was to come from the group that could simply do no wrong. (Also, if the music video doesn’t make you shed a tear and Taeyang’s crown make you laugh, you’re a liar.)
5. “Tonight” (2011)
Big Bang released a bevy of songs in 2011, but the title track “Tonight” is probably the first real taste of modern Big Bang as we know them. The song brought with it more of an electronic club style than their previous hits. The song is clearly grounded in dance-pop, but that’s where Big Bang excels.
While “Tonight” isn’t one of Big Bang’s most acclaimed songs, the style is reminiscent of what we’ve seen in recent party songs from the group.
6. “Fantastic Baby” (2012)
Everything from the early Big Bang catalogue essentially led up to "Fantastic Baby." Big Bang had already gone from basic K-pop boy band to headliners, and then in 2012 released an insane, anarchistic dance song that really pulled out all the electropop stops.
Big Bang shot to fame with “Lies,” but “Fantastic Baby” is often regarded as the group’s best song and one of the most well-known K-pop songs around the globe. It also set the tone for future artistic concepts from the group, such as…
7. “Monster” (2012)
Again with the duality, Big Bang released the dance song “Fantastic Baby” and then the eerie, sober “Monster,” on the "Alive" album repackage.
The concept of the music video brought the Big Bang members some of their craziest looks to date, which is hard to believe in comparison to “Fantastic Baby.” "Monster" acts as a modern interpretation of the late 2000’s sad, upbeat songs (“Lies,” “Haru Haru”) that really made it for the group.
8. “Loser” (2015)
Most recently, with eight new singles released since May 1, Big Bang has spoiled fans who have waited nearly three years (through an exciting period of solo projects and collaborations from each of the members, mind you) for the quintet to come back with new music. The first of these was “Loser,” which introduced a more mature style to Big Bang as a group, without losing the images they had enforced through previous releases.
Another upbeat, somber song, “Loser” discusses the hardships individuals face, and the music video is reminiscent of the likes of 2010’s songs like “Monster,” “Blue,” “Bad Boy,” and “Love Song.”
9. “Bang Bang Bang” (2015)
Again showcasing the group's penchant for duality, “Bang Bang Bang” brings back the bombast of “Fantastic Baby” for what has turned into Big Bang's party anthem of 2015.
With an explosive modern EDM buzz, "Bang Bang Bang" is agressively layered and fun and kicks off Big Bang's new era.