I tried not to review multiple songs from a single artist or group at once, neither do I really want to do album reviews (I like being rather specific about individual songs) but I failed this time when Bigbang releases the music video of “Fantastic Baby”. (Don’t remember what I did? Click here to read the review for “Blue”.)
In terms of the song itself, “Fantastic Baby” doesn’t have that many highlights.Even thoguh the instrumentals are in deed very YG styled, “Fantastic Baby” is not special enough to be defined as “Bigbang”, or say, if it’s not the members’ voice, I wouldn’t know it’s a Bigbang song. To me, at some parts the rhythm of the lyrics are dragging the strong rhythm of the beats, and even though the melody of each section is beautiful on its own, the breaks between verses unfortunately cut the song into fragments. However, it is catchy, catchy enough to let different parts stick together, and thanks to the short and playful “Boom! Shakalaka!” and “Fantastic, baby” phrases, the song (at least some parts of it) is still nice and memorable. Though not that unique, “Fantastic Baby” would definitely make a great dance floor song.
However, the music is not what I am going to talk about with “Fantastic Baby”. It’s the music video. The music video gives an amazing visual challenge and satisfaction (maybe not to some people 🙂 ) and really brings the “we are the kings of the world, and we party no matter if you like or not” spirit. Take a look at each member’s appearances.
So many people hate his long, dripping-looking half-shaved long mohawk and want to just “find a pair of scissors”. However, if taken out all the fan-girling attitude, this visually challenging hairstyle should have more credits – especially the red burning one that’s long enough to lie all the way down the stairs. If you take a look at the picture, you will find that this image is perfectly symmetrical: the hair and the red cables, the pillars in the background… GD’s left arm and leg (on the right in this picture) even extend out straight to balance out the bright un-even hair on his right. The messy smudged makeup on his left eye also helps balancing GD’s whole look.
Somehow Taeyang has always been the “werewolf” of the group – he’s always more or less naked, his hair has never been combed down once, his body is full of muscles, and his facial expressions always make him look violent and energetic. In “Fantastic Baby”, Taeyang even got tattoos on his entire body.
Top becomes a Napoleon-styled general, or a military emperor as he sits proudly in a golden “emperor chair”. In addition, TOP perfectly pulled of the blue hair and green-ish eyebrows, which becomes a huge highlight after GD’s long mohawk.
Daesung has been the “strong vocal” in the team, but never had he shown any powerful manliness. First time ever showing off his muscles in MV, Daesung, with his blond hair (he never got a hair-dye for MV before either), certainly blows away fans’ mind as he screams and yells like a beast, breaking out from the usual “nice and emotional guy” image.
Despite of Seungri’s natually handsome features, I have to complain about his appearance. He looks too normal. GD’s got crazy hair styles and makeup, TOP’s got fancy general suits and green eyebrows, Taeyang’s continued his “werewolf” image and even further becomes a “monk”, and Daesung’s got his hair dyed and shirts off for the first time – everyone has shown something new, except for Seungri. He just remains perfectly “human” and “idolistic” with his makeup neat, hair neat, shirt neat, facial expression neat… The only thing Seungri has are his wide-open neat suit, three lines of cheesy scratches on his chest, and some lustful cat women around him, making him look like a sexual symbol but nothing else. Yes, Seungri is the one in the team who takes care of the whole team’s “idol status”, and therefore he’s the most standard one: neat, cute, no crazy appearances, handsome. However, being standard has hidden Seungri behind other members from standing out: nothing wild happens to him; attentions don’t go to him (not the first flow of attentions at least). Serungri, remaining idolistic and standard, becomes only an icon of handsomeness for fans to admire, but never gets the chance to really show his charisma.
Now, let’s come back to the MV itself. Despite of the unreliable of those unstable fences, the
plot of the MV is simple and clear – a rebellion against conservative society to achieve the goal of…. partying. Sounds quiet funny now, yet when the MV plays with the exciting beats and lyrics, the rebellion is pretty convincing. What’s more, Bigbang becomes the king of this partying people – each member has his own “chair of the throne”. In the music video, GD becomes the head of the church(based on the wand he holds and his seat position while everybody else is fighting at about 0:56 ), TOP becomes the head of the military, Taeyang becomes the leader of all the Buddhists (buddhism is also a huge religion in Asia), Daesung becomes the representation of all the prisoners of rules of current society, and Seungri becomes the big leader of love or lust, leading the women toward freedom (or particularly partying).
Another highlight of the MV is its subtle blend with Korean traditional culture. When GD sits in his chair of authority at the top of a pile of ruins (0:59), on his head is – yes, if you recognize it already – an ancient Korean emperor’s hat! By wearing an emperor’s hat, GD fully becomes a king of his “nation”. One other Korean traditional cultural allusion in the MV is the lions (starting from 3:07). Yes, those funky “creatures” are lions. (To do a brief introduction, each lion is played by 2 people holding a huge lion costume from underneath/ inside, one playing the head, one playing the butt.
The specific performance of it is called lion dancing. There are two kinds of lions: the southern kind – usually seen in China – and the northern kind – usually seen in Korea. I am personally involved in a lion dance team as a lion head ^_^. ) In today’s fast-growing society where technology and pop culture grows exponentially, many traditional cultures are getting forgotten, and few foreigners know about lion dancing. By putting two lions in the MV, Bigbang not only makes the MV itself more fun and varied, but also brings a subtle call for the protection for traditional Korean culture. What’s more, this can even bring some interest toward traditional Korean culture from young populations (which consist mostly of people who are indulged in pop culture and care nothing about traditional culture) and foreigners.
Even though the music itself for “Fantastic Baby” is not that unique (it’s still a pretty good song), the music video makes all up for the music. Most of the members’ appearance are refreshing (and maybe challenging), the plot makes sense and is artistic, and the subtle blend of traditional Korean culture makes the music video even more unique. The music video of “Fantastic Baby” is a success in terms of complementing the music and satisfying my visual experience for this song, so I hope you will enjoy it. ^_^
* All pictures of Bigbang members come from snapshots I took from the official MV of “Fantastic Baby”. The Southern lion picture comes from asiaexplorers.com. All rights about the pictures and music video reserved to original authors and YG entertainment.