Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I know. I'm sorry. I can't stop thinking about BIGBANG.

I spent the last day or so trying to pick apart my BIGBANG experience, much like picking apart a ball of yarn tangled by my cat. I can't let it go. My librarian-brain needs to figure this thing out. I read over a handful of "professional" reviews of the concert and some other pieces and I keep returning to the same handful of threads. Americans have a limited tolerance for spectacle; at least 95% of "professional" arts critics are full of shit; what gets lost in translation when pop goes global; and BIGBANG is fucking awesome. (The last one is most important.)

The review at Jezebel really hammered home how differently people can view the same show. Where the Jezebel review saw an extravaganza of confetti and background dancers, I saw a subdued stage with only a handful of confetti cannon blasts and a minimum of required background dancers. It all depends on where you're coming from. When your baseline for pop act are the slackers of One Direction--who don't even dance--then twelve dancers seems like a lot. When your baseline is a Johnny's & Associates concert featuring sixty-plus backing dancers, many of whom have fans of their own, then twelve feels like the absolute minimum for a decent concert. When you've seen concerts that feature hundreds of multicolored balloons released into the air, water features, harness work, multiple moving stages, random sword fighting, skits involving cross-dressing and robots, and a record-breaking number of backflips in a row, then a couple of confetti cannons and some pyrotechnics feel subdued, rather than cra-zy pop stuff.

I also found it interesting how the lack of literal wings in Daesung's solo "Wings" this time was seen as "growth" by one critic.

(For reference, from the last tour.)

Was the choice to not use the wings and flying again "growth" towards an American ideal of no stagecraft at concerts or a cost-saving measure? Again, it's all a matter of perspective.

But there is something rather fascinating about global K-Pop. The music is pure Michael Jackson international but the lyrics are all in Korean--except for in Japan, where the Korean groups will sing in Japanese. One has to wonder what is lost in export. Is it the difference, as a commenter DPSF pointed out this morning, between Bollywood and Tamil films? Does one lose all meaning beyond "We like to party"? I suppose for some that is the whole point of pop culture, especially pop music: "We like to party." I think there is a lot to be gained digging deep into the music but I also think we need to keep in mind that K-pop, like American movies these days, is aimed at the export market. It's a global product.

As for BIGBANG, there is a reason they have really been the only K-pop act I've cared about and it's because their music is fan-fucking-tastic, baby. What sets them apart is something I hadn't put much thought into before I saw them live. I'd just enjoyed the music. Sort of like the difference between enjoying a Bollywood hero on DVD and then seeing it live in the theater with the fan club. You get caught up in the excitement. Producer Teddy Park is certainly a huge part of their sound, as is the phenomenal G-Dragon. And the rapping of T.O.P. I listened to his "Doom Dada", built over a Bollywood-style beat, on repeat for ages yesterday trying to figure it out. The way he plays with texture and sound and tone. Alternating rising, falling intonation. Spitting words fast then slow to build tension. The layering of his voice to create a weird pipe organ effect. I dare One Direction to produce something as creative. Then we'll talk "boy band" v. "boy band." BIGBANG ain't no American style boy band. They're BIGBANG.


ThelondongirlUSA said...

Cant tell you how much i love Big Bang. Did they do Zutter? Gdragon can sound so whiny but you have to respect his skills. Sarangheyo lol

Filmi Girl said...

They did do Zutter!! What a great song! After seeing them once I really wish I had bought tickets to more shows... I could have flown to LA, maybe...

And G-Dragon can be really whiny lol! That's why I like him better when he's collaborating with somebody than on his own. A little bit of his voice goes a long way... but he is One of A Kind for sure. XD

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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