After three year absence from the Korean music scene, it’s rather nice to have a Big Bang comeback that spans months rather than days. As we enter the second stage of Big Bang’s MADE comeback, expectations are still high, though some of the excitement has been lost.

Many fans were, overall, not very impressed with the offerings of Made Series [M], “Loser” and “Bae Bae” (though “Loser’s” lyrics and melancholic tune did sway listeners); and after saying that the first stage of this comeback was just the ‘appetiser’ and that the ‘main course’ was to follow in June, YG’s hype for [A] needed to pay off big time.

Unfortunately, “Bang Bang Bang” is too divisive for that to happen.

It’s a real shame, too, because “Bang Bang Bang” starts off so well! We have Taeyang channelling Mad Max, holding the reigns to the monster vehicle atop which he is perched. Next up is T.O.P. who appears to have gone Pixar and recreated Toy Story with Woody and Buzz; but it’s actually another reference to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odessey (following the ape scenes in “Doom Dada”). Then, Seungri rises from the dust with his army, accompanying the crescendo of the music, the clapping and hi hats getting faster and faster, building up to a climax —

And then the chorus happens.

20150602_seoulbeats_bigbang_bangbangbang_posterYour ears are expecting a drop, and there is one; it’s just not at all what you expected. It makes sense lyrically, with G-Dragon’s sqwauk of “Like you’ve ben shot!” being followed by the song’s onomatopoeic title; but the rhythm feels off, and G-Dragon‘s nasally vocals don’t make for a sufficient enough transition — similar to what “I Got A Boy” suffered. Once you recover from the lack of delivery on your expectations, though, the chorus is fun. That “Bang bang bang” could reach “Wow… Fantastic baby” level in meme-dom if the song was catchier.

This actually reminds me a lot of f(x)‘s “Red Light,” in that there is nothing necessarily wrong with the verses and the chorus, but they don’t mesh together well. In “Red Light’s” case, SM was forcing the demo they’d bought into a conventional song structure; with “Bang Bang Bang,” it feels like experimentation for the sake of it.

And like with “Red Light,” everything does come together in the end. After a, frankly, boring breakdown (only made bearable by Glitter Dragon), all the sounds come together as Big Bang raucously chants:

Guys go on top
Girls get low
Pull the trigger, bang bang bang
let the bass drum go

Charming.

The main highlights of this MV are the Mad Max -inspiration running throughout this MV, GD in red glitter and the choreography. Those oiled-up dancers were working those moves very well, while Kiwi choreographer Parris Goebel rocked her appearance during G-Dragon’s lines in the second verse. No idea what the pyramid was about, and I’m not the biggest fan of the collars (even if GD is wearing one, too) but Parris’ dancing was arresting — I completely forgot G-Dragon was there, which is not an easy task to accomplish.

20150602_seoulbeats_bigbang_top_bangbangbang2The lowlights, meanwhile, were Seungri’s headdress and, well, the lack of cohesion. T.O.P and GD’s settings, for example, don’t tie in well with the overall aesthetic of the MV. Then there’s the fact that the need to give each member their moment has led to a predictibility in Big Bang’s MV style.

It seems that if we aren’t getting a drama MV, then we are guaranteed to see one member in a specialised set, then another, then the chorus where everyone is in the same room together, then some more individual scenes, then a final party scene with all the members and some other people, most likely pretty girls. The scenes with all the members together are the most fun — and least pretentious — to watch, and I honestly believe this would feel more like an actual group MV if we got to see the actual group actually interacting with one another.

Ultimately, I feel like I’m still waiting for the main course. “Bang Bang Bang” as a song is all right — if I can grow to love “Red Light” then I can grow to love this — but the MV fizzles more than it bangs.

Song: 3.25 out of 5

MV: 2.75 out of 5

(Pop!gasa, YG Entertainment)