BIGBANG's 'D' Single Reveals Flaws In 'MADE' Series
"Sober" LyricsStrong, Diverse Vocals On "If You"
Lacklustre Knock-Offs Of Better Songs Underwhelming
2.5Overall Score
Reader Rating 87 Votes

K-pop fans have short attention spans, especially the ones that pledge their devotion to YG Entertainment, so I understand why BIGBANG decided to release their MADE album as four separate double A-side singles, one per month, until the full album is available.

The campaign started off strong with the glistening “Bae Bae” and the beautifully emo Live Journal entry “Loser,” but the following singles have either been a retread of BIGBANG’s past hits or just a little lacklustre compared to the first two.

It’s not that anything from the MADE series has been bad, it’s just hard not to feel disappointed when they fly out the gate with “Bae Bae” and then nothing else is nearly as good. Who wants to peak this early?

Their latest effort, “Sober,” is essentially the BIGBANG version of G-Dragon’s “Crooked.” I wish they’d go full New Wave with it, but instead it’s artificial pop-rock and a cheap dance beat engineered in a studio that’s probably never seen a live instrument before. If GD revealed that he produced it on his iPad I honestly wouldn’t be surprised.

Lyrics about the struggle to get through the troubles of life without alcohol are great, even poignant, turning “Sober” into a fun kind of anti-drinking drinking anthem. I could definitely sing along to it with my friends towards the end of a big boozy night, but in my current sober state I can’t muster up much more than a little gentle head nodding.

The other a-side, “If You,” is a weepy ballad that kind of rip-offs the greatest ballad of all time, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven.” I thought I was just being extra at first, but then I heard those flutes towards the end and it became clear that “If You” was at least somewhat inspired by Led Zep.

BIGBANG’s attempt isn’t terrible, but other contemporary bands have done far better reimaginings of “Stairway To Heaven,” like The Black Keys’ incredible “Little Black Submarines.” Next to a real rock song like that, BIGBANG’s “If You” comes off like one of those cheesy covers albums from a talent show contestant where all the tracks are butchered and remixed to sound more pop or R&B. Judging it purely as a Korean boy band ballad, then I’d say it’s pretty good (although the bar is set pretty low…).

The MADE series seemed like a cool idea at the start, but now I just wish that BIGBANG would revert back to their Alive era promotional strategy with just three really strong singles instead of eight uneven ones. Unless you’re Michael Jackson circa Bad you’re just not going to get eight killer singles off of one album. Even Hot 100 queen Katy Perry needed a repackage to achieve that.

Blah.

  • poplover

    their songs have been very underwhelming, nothing catches your attention, nothing memorable. very bleh

  • KingBeaArthur

    “Sober” is the best of the six songs that have been released imo (despite it sharing similarities to a western song I don’t know the name of, but I hear all the time on the radio). “If You” had potential, but went nowhere for me.

    To each his own.

    • lucinda veen

      Someone on another site said “Sober” sounds like an MGMT song. The one they mentioned is “Time to Pretend,” but I think it’s another one. Ugh, this is going to drive me crazy.

      • KingBeaArthur

        It’s giving me a little Capital Cities “Safe and Sound” in places. If the tempo -for S&S- were sped up a little more.

    • calvitron

      the song you’re thinking of is glad you came by the wanted

  • keenö

    I didn’t think things could get worst post BBB but here we are.

  • Vivienne Greatly Disapproves

    “If You’ sounds like an attempt to make a worse song than EXO’s ‘Miracles In December’ which to this day remains the worst song in musical history (Not including noise genre ofc). Fortunately it fails but not without putting everyone who listens to it to sleep.
    Are there even any ‘thinking’ kpop fans who care about BIGBANG’s comeback?

  • Sunny

    your “If You” comparison was spot on lol. They’re trying to have a “artistic/off-beat” style but still try to stay in the mainstream pop lane. unfortunately its not really working with “If You”. If you’re gonna be inspired by Stairway to Heaven, either go all the way or don’t. Big Bang’s music has never suited my taste but i admire their chutzpah.

    Sober is great. MV is AMAZING. It sounds like a western song i’ve heard before. I wish i could remember.

  • lucinda veen

    I thought “Sober” was pretty good, but then I listened to “Crooked” for the first time after reading this article, and that’s REALLY good. None of the MADE singles have done it for me, unfortunately.

  • oneclearnight

    I think Sober’s alright, tho it’s definitely cheap sounding. The mv is pretty good coming from YG. GD’s obviously lost his mojo for awhile now. Loser is still the best song for me this era, and it’s not even THAT amazing or different coming from them.

    If You does nothing for me, tho Daesung’s voice in that second verse is amazing.

  • nique

    It would have been easily a a single for gd. I like how the song starts but then is just meh.