Cristina Kang (a member of VIP2, a 23-year old fan who was a part of the movement — a movement of fans who visited, supported, allied and protected Big Bang. I am part of the group who brought food to the five boys at 3 am just to make sure they ate something during recording. I am one of the fans who provided shade and protection to the boys when they were just starting out, too unfamous for SBS or KBS to provide a good dressing room for them. I am one of the VIPS who bullied MBC radio because they once banned Big Bang songs for 5 months. Yes, I am a partial VIP, and in my eyes there is no one better. But I am also aware of the reality. This is what’s happening to BIG BANG, and we are best be knowing, best be aware) contacted unfbigsang saying that her friend, Jennifer Hwang (who translated this post) was very appreciative that all us iVIPs could read that post 🙂 Cristina also wished to share her own thoughts to us iVIPs.
Big Bang has gone through sex, cigarette, alcohol, drug, and many prohibited or frowned upon issues among the Korean youth. They have brushed with the law with intellectual property, reckless driving, information theft, breach of contract, and assault. They are a group of men who have been involved in numerous scandals and controversies. But amidst it all, they came through almost always unscathed. It’s not that they are wound-free and unbreakable… it’s more of the fact that their name is resilient… lasting… solid… permanent… embossed… stamped… engraved… I can’t think of any other words. Big Bang is etched in the our people’s minds, they are permanent in our industry, and for that reason alone… they get “special treatment.” So sorry about that. Before, there was all the doubt when Yang Hyunsuk proudly said, ‘I want to create a group that will be like Seo Taiji and the boys.’ People laughed at him. Yes, he came from that legendary group, yes he produced Jinusean and 1tym, but NO. He can’t be the one who can give this country it’s next musical inspiration and idol. No, it’s not Yang Hyunsuk. No, it’s not Big Bang. And then they came, and they were laughable. Is this the next Seo Taiji and the boys? A group of five teenagers who dressed like American singers? Is this who Yang Hyunsuk is proud about? How dare them even associate these wannabes with the legend that is Seo Taiji. But like they say, it’s slowly but surely. It is a metamorphosis, a long tunnel. There is no light in a tunnel without traveling the distance to its end. There is no beautiful butterfly without coming from a dirty and smelly cocoon. There is no star without borrowing the light of the great sun. There is no Big Bang without the rocky, bare, unpleasant and empty universe. There is no G-dragon, Taeyang, T.O.P, Daesung and Seungri without all the narrow and difficult road. Let me tell you this. I have received numerous questions from foreign friends. Is Big Bang over? Is Big Bang done with? Is Big Bang no more? It’s always a question of survival, of stardom, of popularity. And in my heart, I truly am sorry because you from over there fail to see and fail to realize the magnitude of the reality. Some of my friends who come from other fan clubs often say, “We wanted to breathe a sigh of relief, but then we realized it’s Big Bang we are talking about. There’s always the bounce back.” When we watch Ingigayo, we always have a game of who will shine next month, next quarter, next year. We VIPS have been winning since 2007, and we were only beaten a couple of time by some Hottests in 2009, but it has always been Big Bang who shone the brightest. It’s a tough battle, but it’s a battle we and Big Bang always won. It may just be a simple bet, but we VIPS know that in the hearts of the other fan club members, they were awaiting the day when we will lose. And just when it seems that everytime, Big Bang seemed to drown, they always break out and still come out strongest. Big Bang is here to stay. There’s no going away. You might think I am too confident to say this, but haven’t we proven to be the most resilient weed to grow in this field? We are like a weed who only struggle as you fight it. Big Bang owes as too much because we are too forgiving. Sometimes, it is the VIPS against the world. It’s our big, quiet, albeit slow, army. We are not industrious, we are not hardworking, but we pride ourselves to be loyal. We are the most loyal people to ever support such idols. That’s why many of you say that “Oh they can survive this! They have billions of prepubescent and teenagers rallying behind them.” But then, it is impossible for such a name to stay relevant if only the VIPS were there to stay. Only about 20-30% of the population are preteens and teens. How can such a group exist and stand tall after all such scandals if only the most shallow, most undecisive, most fickle-minded part of the society support them? Then you must think that it’s actually not just us. It’s many, if not all of us, in this small country. 50 million people, and you can ask them about the singers they know. If it’s not Jo Yongpil, it’s Seo Taiji. If it’s not Bi, it’s Yi Hyori. If it’s not SNSD, it’s BIG BANG. There are very few and far between singers who 50 million people recognize, and BIG BANG is one of the few. There are very, very few singers who can put a song inside the people’s head. There are very few singers who can affect our country and move our markets. Thinking about that, I realize that some of the most hateful comments about Big Bang is true. “Oh he will be forgiven because he is from Big Bang.” “He won’t go to jail because he is from Big Bang.” “He will not be punished because it’s Big Bang.” And the rest goes on. They have a point. We, the South Korean citizens, are forgiving of such a group. It’s not just because they are stars. There are numerous stars out there, and Big Bang is not just any star. I honestly can’t name another artist, idol group or not, who can survive being associated with alcohol, sex, drugs, cigarette. They have tried and tested the name, and the resilient weed just grows stronger. We survive. Big Bang survives. It’s a brand, it moves market, it moves people, it moves money. So foreign friends, citizens, VIPS, other fan club members, there’s no tears to waste, no fret, no sweat. We and Big Bang, we’re not going away. You can’t make a name who has generated 200 billion won in 5 years and has made and established a half-a-billion-won-company just disappear. I do realize no star shines forever. But all I’m saying is, Big Bang’s borrowed light may have to be returned someday, but not today. And even so, their name would forever be remembered, so have a little faith. It’s not just any other star… it’s BIG BANG. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Are you worried about their sales? Reputation? Public image? Endorsement contracts?
If you answer yes to any of this, then you are underestimating Big Bang. I can understand why you would, after all you are in another country. You did not see them at their peak. You did not experience the “Big Bang Explosion.” You were not a part of us. You are not a K-VIP nor a citizen of our country.
But I am not belittling you. As a matter of fact, I thank you because you know Big Bang. You talk about them on Twitter, Facebook, and the Allkpop, and for that, urin Pik Peng were able to perform and visit Bangkok, Singapore City, Kuala Lumpur, many of Japan’s cities, New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Belfast. If not for you and you support, our dear boys would not have travelled the world with their music. Thank you. With all my heart, I really thank you.
I thank you yes, but I also would like to explain something to you. What you read online, what you think you know, they maybe true but not at all accurate. If some people are scaring you that our people are murdering YG and Big Bang with their words, don’t let that reality fool you. Words are just words. Words, for most time, is not money. Internet is just a silly place of whatver. Hater-infested Nate, Dispatch, or Enews articles isn’t going to put an end to the career of five national idols. Not now.
We have known Ji Yong and Young Bae when they were just preteens who had no money, no food, and only had cute smiles and pride. We grew up together. We rode the Seoul Subway with them after practice. We watched them perform in the parks of 마로니에 공원 and 남산. We’ve known them since we were all just 15, thinking life was so easy. But I’m not saying we are friends, because we are not. We are just loyal fans and all I’m saying is, we’ve known them before they built their houses in Chungdam-dong or bought their Audis and Bentleys. We didn’t like them with their golden packages. We became fans because we saw their passion and pursuit and patience to become artists. And they did become succesful on a national level, that’s why we are so proud.
I was 17 when I met Seung Hyun oppa, Dae Sung, Hyun Seung, and Seung Hyun. They were different. I didn’t see in them the raw talent and passion I admired in Ji Yong and Young Bae. I felt like they had it easy. It took a while for our movement to realize that like our idols, these four young men were just searching for their dreams. As the months passed by, we saw that Ji Yong and Young Bae grew attached to the four, and like brothers, they had a very admirable and powerful bond. They exuded the energy of determined dreamers, of fighters, of a family. Ji Yong and Seung Hyun oppa always joked around, Young Bae and Hyun Seung always rode the bus together, Dae Sung and Seunghyun took a while to be closer. But it was only a matter of time for our movement to see that just like the other two, Ji Yong and Young Bae also treasured them dearly. I loved all of them even more, and each and everyday my admiration for them increases.
I am writing these long and plentiful paragraphs to relay to you what we, K-VIPS, are feeling. I am not speaking for all of us, but I can tell you for sure that what I will say is in the mind of many of us. We want you to see what we’re seeing, to listen to what we’re hearing, to read what we are knowing, to understand what is happening, and to regain your faith and strong pride in the NAME BIG BANG.
Over the years, there have been hundreds of idols that debuted in this little business. At the peak of album sales, almost 30 million albums would be sold in a year, and only about 2 million of that would be from an idol group, and just one group at that — 서태지와 아이들. At the end of the last millenium, tons of groups came to light, and SM Entertainment managed to monopolize the teenagers. I don’t know how to explain it in a global scale. Let’s just say that in the past, no one gave a damn about 13-year old singers, but Disney and RBMG hit gold with Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber. SM hit the jackpot with HOT, Shinhwa, and SES. They hit it further with BoA and TVXQ. Other companies further stroke the iron: DSP with Fin.K.L and Sech.Kies, then Yee Hyori; JYP with god and Rain; YG with 1tym and Se7en. It was like a wide-scale machinery — every year we would produced idols after idols after idols.
There are hundreds of idols in this industry. Namjagreup, yojeagreup, namjagasu, yeojagasu, ahyidol, hundreds of them. But few of them mattered to the wide variety of people. But of the millions of them all, I can only provide you with a few name of idol singers who really MATTERED, who really shone brightest, who really impacted our culture, who really turned around the people and the game, who really set the trends, who people actually KNOW and CARE ABOUT.
S.E.S became our national role models. They were a role model to our youth with their clean music and inspirational messages, and the old wanted them to be their daughters.
Fin.K.L became our national rebels. They projected strong females who fought for their dreams, and their messages was received well by our youth and our parents.
BoA became our national idol. She was the ultimate inspiration to our young dreamers, and every parent wanted a daughter like BoA.
Yee Hyori became our national fairy. Her music and dance inspired our youth, while her charisma and attitude endeared her to our old. Like a fairy, she brought light in our dark days.
Ivy became our national syndrome. Her sex appeal was something unheard of, and her forward image caused a national syndrome.
Wonder Girls became our national sisters. Their freshness and innocence influenced our young, and enterained all our old, men or women.
IU became our national little sister. Her innocence and soft voice is a quality that everyone likes, and all her songs are popular among every one.
So Nyeo Shi Dae became our national idol group. They set all kinds of legendary records and trends, and their music and beauty is widely admired among every kind of our people.
HOT, Shinhwa, TVXQ, Super Junior, Shinee, god, 2PM, Sech.Kies, SS501, 1tym… For years we have seen uniformed men with robotic movements debut and create ruckus among female teenagers. I admit I am one of them. They have made a niche among the minority of preteens, teens, and young adults — all female. They have perfected the art of seduction, obsessions, fanaticism, devotion, loyalty. Their good looks, their costumes, their hair styles, their dance moves, their bodies, their heights, their either effeminate or beastly nature have locked up the support of a sure niche. There’s no going wrong with a male idol group, because just as sure as the United States will support Twilight, and Europe will support Harry Potter, female youth will support male idol groups.
But none of them created an impact. None of them were catapulted to national ranks. None of them set any kinds of new trends. None of them veered away from the formulaic ratio of good looks, dance moves, and pop music. Well, god did for a while, but after two hit songs, god couldn’t go farther than a one-hit-wonder. It’s JYP’s fault, because Rain stole their thunder. None of our male idols created whatsoever to even matter to the Korean people who are not 18 and are not female. For years, female idols stole everything, from #1 song, to #1 fashion, to #1 television ratings, to #1 radio airplay, to #1 newsmaker, to #1 syndrome, to #1 popularity surveys, to national star status. All male idols locked in their hands were album sales and female fan count. Up until now, male idols have dominated the album sales and fandom, but our female idols have always reigned on public image, popularity and other avenues of sales.
South Korea has an unfair stigma for male idols – robotic, manufactured, cheesy, shallow, unrealistic, no substance.
I guess that stigma stems from such high honors and pedestal we put on our male musical artists. We have a higher standards for male singers because of legends such as Jo Yong Pil, Yee Seungchul, Yoon Doo Hyun Band, and Seo Taiji and the Boys. These are strings of musical acts, NOT IDOLS, who have become such important cultural figures in our society, that such male idols who debuted seemed like little stars compared to the sun like our legendary male singers. This is why Rain, amidst being an idol, shone among our public. Not since Seo Taiji and the Boys have we even cared for an idol. But 10 years after, there came a male singer who became our national pride. Rain appeared in television and movies and spearheaded the maintenance of Hallyu. He was such a catalyst to the spread of our culture, that even if he wasn’t as musically talented as Lee Seung Chul or Kim Gunmo, the Korean society viewed him as a world star. Not since the strings of male singers I mentioned above have we cared for male performer, and an idol at that, on a national scale.
Rain became our national star. He is our world star, and he became such an integral star among the nation not because of his music, but because of his international achievements.
But still, with the list of all the national idols I have mentioned, there seems to be one type of singer missing — a male group. The high and double standards continued, because up until the peak of boy groups such as TVXQ and SS501, still people from different walks of life did not give a rat’s ass for these male groups much like how my grandma knew Fin.K.L’s songs, my friends’ parents sang to the Wonder Girls, my uncles admired Hyori, the ahjussi who drove the bus danced to SNSD, and the ahjummas selling ddeokbokki wanted their sons to marry IU.
No care at all.
NOT UNTIL 2007 and 2008, when the universe exploded with what would be known as the BIG BANG.
In 2007, our country was still recovering from the Yee Hyori and Bi syndrome. We had high regards for solo singers as they ruled our society’s entertainment. As TVXQ’s fan base among female youths strenghtened, Yee Hyori and Bi were embraced by other demographics outside the female gender and the teen age. Epik High was making waves among music lovers as they offered hip hop genre to mainstream light. Ivy was creating a national syndrome with Sonata of Temptation. Super Junior and SS501 were trying really, really, really, and I mean really hard. There’s just no room for a male idol group for the public. No room at all.
But as we waited outside YG Entertainment for almost all the nights of April – July 2007, we still gave our utmost support and loyalty to Big Bang. We cheered them on, even if the odds were against them. There’s very little of us female teenagers, because most female teens were already at the mercy of TVXQ. Our fan cafe was only in the 50,000 number, and as they ended Dirty Cash promotion, that number decreased by the day. Dae Sung would always joke around saying, “Don’t leave us girls! So many have left and went to FT Island, stay with us please!” And Seung Ri would often tease us, “Is it because Jun Su hyung and TVXQ are in Japan that’s why you’re here?” They played with jokes, but I knew that in the heart of these boys, they were really worried because there’s very few of us taking them seriously.
We stayed through the fall, the rain, the heat. Our movement stayed by the boys’ side as they prepared for their album. We were expecting another single from them, and there were press released about how Ji Yong and Seung Hyun helped in the album production. If you looked at the Internet responses to these news, people were so cruel! No one believed YG when he said Ji Yong and Seung Hyun oppa wrote the songs. Everyone was crucifying the group. Hormonal girls call them “TVXQ wannabes,” “Ugly dogs,” “Short and wannabe idols,” “Lying try-hards,” “Almost idols,” and that’s almost because according to many, they were “too ugly to be an idol.” Most of the Daum articles were flooded with these negative comments. It made our heart ache, and there’s nothing we could do but camp outside their doors and show them that even if the Internet is infested with evil haters, we, the VIPS were here. For every single press release for the “Always” album, there were 800 cruel taunts, and 200 positive remarks. We didn’t even have the energy to defend and protect them from those cruel netizens.
And as the D-Day neared, YG began spreading words that this next album from Big Bang would be a mini-album, the first of it’s kind. It was sold in a unique price that was unheard of(10,000 won compared to an 8,000 won single and a 13,000 won album). It also contained just six songs, a first of its kind (compared to a single’s 3 tracks, and an album’s 10 tracks or up). YG gave us big words such as “this will be a trend setter,” “We will create a new beginning to Korean music,” “Big Bang will revolutionize idol music,” blah blah blah. We, the fans, were so hyped up and at the same time, worried. YG was bringing promises again — promises that baited the haters! “You told us before you would bring us Seo Taiji, but instead this is a lifeless dragon!” “YG with his try-hard promises again.” Only a very tiny little portion of this society, and a tiny little portion of that tiny little portion being the teenage female fans, believed in Big Bang. What was their future? We, along with Big Bang and YG Entertainment, hoped for the best.
The D-DAY came. August 17, 10 am, the entire mini-album was released digitally in all major music sites, and the albums dropped in the retail stores. What would have been history wasn’t felt during the first few days of release. Lies entered the top 15 on its first 3 days, and that was already a big achievement for a male group. TVXQ or SS501 couldn’t even maintain the top 20, and for Big Bang to penetrate the top 15, we celebrated like crazy! Top 15 in 3 days! VIPS rejoiced, because that meant the people liked the song!
That was the first sign of what would become a life-changing success for Big Bang. When they peaked at #14 in MelOn, and #15 in Mnet, we thought that was the best it could go. But no, because critics and online reviews became the catalyst of this overwhelming succes.
Reviews came in as early as day 2, and none of the critics had anything bad to say about it. None at all. Kim Jiho, a noted music critic from The Seoul Times said “Surprisingly, leader-penned tracks Lies and Oh Ma Baby are the strongest track of the newly rebirthed form mini album. Always album is a blend of pop, rock, with hip hop undertones that is uniquely Big Bang’s and has never been heard before.” Chosun Ilbo called G-Dragon the future of idol music, Korea Herald coined the album “a surprising twist that branches out from the predictable music for this generation of sloppy boy band songs — if you call that music at all.” The traditional and online print media was suddenly infested with critical rave and universal praise for ALWAYS. During the next weeks, at least 2 newspapers or magazines would review the album and praise its title song, Lies. When Big Bang came back in Inkigayo and Music Core, online query for search terms related to Big Bang jumped 2000% according to Daum news. The hater-infested Internet was suddenly filled with casual netizens who just merely commented about how wonderful and how fantastic Lies, and the album, was. By the time Big Bang performed in Music Bank for their come back on the 26th of August, Lies was already an all-kill in Korean charts on its 6th day of release. Music Bank told VIPS the next week that Big Bang stage on 08/26 increased the ratings by 6%, the highest or all six music shows that time for that year! Only on its 2nd week of release, Big Bang, the song Lies, and the album Always, has already reigned supreme among the critics and the online society.
No one would have thouht that these nobodies could rise to the top with such an experimental form of album. Big Bang did what Super Junior or SS501 miserably failed to do, and not even TVXQ could — bring a male idol group song at the top of the charts and make the general public actually know and sing the song. Suddenly, the nobodies became the break out stars of the moment. Big Bang was very much celebrated the entire month of September. YG staged guerilla concerts in malls and universities. YG reached out to the people and established the fandom of teenagers! By the middle of September, Nate, Daum, Naver, Google, Cyworld, and all search engines were filled with Big Bang. THIS ALL WITHOUT A TV PROGRAM APPEARANCE OUTSIDE OF MUSIC SHOWS. On the 7th of September, Big Bang won their first ever mutizen and celebrated with all of us in YGE! A month ago, we were crying because nobody believed YG’s press releases, and one month forward our group had no rest with all the special fan seats in all kinds of festivals, concerts, guerilla performances, and music shows. Suddenly, Big Bang had 14 high school and university appearances in 2 months! It was not just Big Bang who was busy, VIPS were going to events to support them left and right.
The next three months was a roller coaster ride. For 7 weeks, Lies was the #1 song in the entire country, it received huge airplay in radio and television, broadcast shows, dramas, variety and talk shows used Lies as their background music. Television and the Internet catapulted the song to instant fame. By middle of September, students and professors, vendors and buyers, lawyers and crimnals, mother and child, fishermen, bus drivers, little kids and old men and women sang “I’m so sorry but I love you dageojitmal, iyamorasseo ijeya arasseo naega pirhyohae!” South Korea caught the Lies syndrome. And above all, pop culture critics and bloggers took notice of the group’s fashion. It was early September when online posts about Ji Yong’s scarves collection and the boys ever hanging high top sneakers populated all sorts of boards. Dae Sung’s open chest top, TOP’s shades, Seung Ri’s sleeveless top and Tae Yang’s hats were featured in all sorts of magazine articles. By October, if you walk through Seoul subway and the malls, you will encounter at least two teenage boys every minute wearing a Big Bang look. Walking in the malls would tell you easily that Big Bang did not just affect teenage girls, but boys too! What’s more interesting was, Big Bang suddenly populated the background music of Korean online role playing games, which further connected Big Bang’s music to the young men. Young girls wanted Big Bang to be their boyfriend, but young boys wanted to be LIKE Big Bang. The music video and the music performances were repeatedly aired in public places, popularizing not just the song but the group’s fashion too. In a span of two months, without overly appearing in broadcast shows, only doing live performances and television performances for the public, South Korea took interest in the music and career of G-Dragon, Tae Yan, T.O.P, Dae Sung, and Seung Ri.
Big Bang was only dethroned by the arrival of Tell me, which took the number 1 spot by early October and stayed there for eight weeks.
Which really catapulted the group to sudden celebrity status? Upon the release of Lies and the album, online tonality and content about Big Bang changed, and the haters-filled sites was then ruled by new armies of VIPS. IT WAS AMAZING. Was it airplay or mutizens? Was it the number 1 song? No. It all started with the music’s quality. Upon release, critics review flooded on the first two weeks, which resulted to numerous print and online articles that led to people’s curiosity about critic’s rave. Good music, great reviews, people’s ciriosity which was then answered by good music resulted to the song getting number 1. A good image and forward fashion resulted to attraction from teenage fans, which then resulted to online posts and raves about Big Bang fashion, which then resulted to magazine articles and online spaces about Big Bang’s image, which then resulted to more fans and more male and female teens idolizing their music and fashion, which then resulted to multiple airplays, which then resulted to public recognition, which then resulted to parents and grandparents taking interest in the music their kids are listening to, which then resulted to BIG BANG reaching out to the ENTIRE COUNTRY. Their music show performances and guerilla events only furthered their relatability to rhe public. Everything stemmed out of Big Bang themselves, with their music and their image and fashion, and critics and fans only took notice. Big Bang was the real star of 2007, thanks to the unbeatable and long unheard of alignment of the critics, the fans, and the general public. Above all, Big Bang had the media’s backing. Even of YG did not send them to broadcast shows, the broadcast shows made sure to include Big Bang in their scripts, extras, or BGM.
Just as sudden as the success, so are the hurdles. By middle of October, female groups took over again with the rise of SNSD and Wonder Girls. Tell Me stole the spot light from Lies and created another syndrome – a syndrome arguably bigger than Lies. Tell Me became a national song, and suddenly allegations about Big Bang’s plagiarism of Lies took over. Just when they wrapped up their promotion for Always, controversies about plagiarism occured, and Tell Me further rose to the chart. Will Big Bang be a one hit wonder? And again, our hearts filled with agony and worry. Our 50 thousand group suddenly increaded to 150, then more than how much Super Junior had, and more of us got worried.
But Big Bang came back with Lasyt Goobye and Hot Issue, an album ENTIRELY produced and co-written by Ji Yong! If the reviews for Lies were fantastic, Hot Issue was triple that! The album’s quality further put Big Bang at the fingertips of the critics. It also received thrice the critical acclaim, and thrice the sales. The song immediately shot to number 1, and the music and fashion just further propelled Big Bang to superstar status. Big Bang started appearing in broadcast shows to the clamor of the three media giants. Towards the end of 2007 Big Bang stole back from the girl groups the spotlight, and had not just 1 but 2 national songs. Big Bang, along with theWonder Girls, headlined all year-end festivals. Gallup, Nielsen, Forbes, Mnet, and all three major search engines, revealed that big bang was recognized by Koreans of all ages, along with the Wonder Girls. In less than a year, Big bang set the trend for mini albums, digital songs, and electronica music. Electronica was popularized to its extreme. Big Bang was played all over Seoul night clubs and public places! 2007 ended with an explosion. Last Goodbye reigned supreme for 8 weeks and proved to be another national syndrome. And the dance and fashion… they were a blast! Little kids, elementary and high school students, COLLEGE STUDENTS, young working adults, parents, grandmas, they all KNEW BIG BANG. If you asked the poor in Seoul, Jeolla, Daegu, Busan, M*o about their favorite singers, it’s Big Bang. If you ask the business men in Seoul city lights and skyscraper, their rich lawyers, architects, engineers, and family, they knew and listened to Big Bang. This group bridged the gap between the choices of the rich and the poor.
In 2008, Big Bang did the same, even better and even bigger. The next year, the following legendary milestones happened:
1. Seoul Gayo Daesang, an award that locked Big Bang to the highest pedestal of idolatry.
2. Lies in MelOn top 10 for a record 22 weeks. Last Good Bye #1 for eight weeks, in the top 10 for 19 weeks. Haru Haru broke all digital and airplay records. It was #1 for eight weeks, and was downloaded 4 million times, streamed 200 million times, and was the ringtone of 43% of SKT and Nate subsribers at one point which is a record only broken by Gee (47%).
3. Big Bang topped yearend polls and surveys.
4. Big Bang accepted 5 endorsement contracts, a record for a male idol group. Baskin Robbins paid an idol group 800 billion won, a price only a-list movie stars commanded! Big Bang and Baskin Robbins made waves among advertising society.
5. Big Bang became the blue chip of the industry. FILA topped the asking price with 1 billion won. LG went all the miles with 1.1 billion won.
6. Big Bang toured the entire nation with their 6-city concert. Global Warning tour enhanced Big Bang’s public image and increased anticipation.
7. Big Bang’s face was plastered around Seoul, Big bang’s music was heard everywhere, Big Bang was embraced by the whole country. THAT WITHOUT APPEARING IN TELEVISION SHOWS.
8. Daesung appeared in Family Outing, up to this day the highest rated variety show with an idol. No other idol (besides Yoona and Nichkhun) have ever been endeared in the hearts of the old citizens.
THEY DID THE IMPOSSIBLE. By end of 2008, the media coined them “the national male idols,” “the national hope,” “the national brothers,” everything was on a national scale. No one didn’t know Big Bang. EVERYONE KNEW Big Bang and the five boys . G-dragon was conducted in the a-list, and remained to be the only idol at the time with a song book submitted in the copyright association. Big Bang was coined “the most expensive idols.” The year wrapped up with Big Bang in the hearts of the citizens, while TVXQ came back to steal the hearts of their fan club. BUT THAT WAS NOT FOOLING ANYONE. Anyone in Seoul would choose Big Bang over TVXQ, unless they are a cassiopeia. TVXQ maybe legendary in Japan, but in South Korea, they were never as publicly recognized, loved, and honored as Big Bang.
2009 was no joke for Big Bang. They accepted 10 endorsement contracts, earned $20 million dollars, with G-Dragon earning his own $12 million, and still made headlines with their hiatus. Big Bang was still unbeatable.
They did so many things, and what makes it all the more impresive was the fact that they got popular because of their music and fashion, not their looks, dance moves, or personalities. BIG BANG rarely attended broadcast shows outside music shows. YG just gave in to broadcast clamors by end of 2008. But overall, Big Bang propelled to the top by word of mouth, critical praise to their music, fashion and music that was loved by the public. THEY DID NOT RUB THEIRSELVES IN, THEY WERE NATURALLY APPRECIATED. And so is the main reason why when they are on a hiatus, it’s as if they get drowned with quietness. They are not television stars, they are idol musicians who only make news when they have something to give, and not for other reasons to further their popularity. Never before have the public, the teenage fans, and the critics been so on terms about an idol group, and a male one at that.
BIG BANG is a game changer. NO ONE BEFORE HAS DONE, AND REALLY NO ONE CAN SOON DO, WHAT THEY HAVE DONE THE WAY THEY DID IT AND THE WAY YG PROMOTED IT. While other idols frequented television appearances, Big Bang chose the music and popular culture route. No one else could have been a national star with such route. Just Big Bang.
What is the point of letting you all know how Big Bang got to their national idol group status? THE POINT IS TO MAKE YOU SEE HOW THIS GROUP HAVE BECOME SO RESPECTED, SO WELL KNOWN, AND SO PUBLICLY EMBRACED THE WAY NOT EVEN HOT, SHINHWA, god, TVXQ and Super Junior ever was or ever will be. Big Bang is a league of their own. NO, THEY ARE NOT INVINCIBLE. But don;t lose faith so easily. Don’t worry or don;t think of the worst, because someone as iron clad and as wall-sturdy as Big Bang can’t be toppled by a Nate article that has 1349 negative comments. The Iternet is a free place, a place where fans and non fans alike can just post. Big Bang fans are not teenagers alone, they never were just the VIPS. Big Bang is a group patronized all throughout the country by all types of people, of all ages. NOT EVERYONE HAS THEIR TIME TO GO ONLINE TO EITHER COMMENT NEGATIVELY OR POSITIVELY. What you think you see, what you think you read, does not represent the entire public, and does not dictate Big Bang’s future. The main reason YG’s stock debut more than doubled on its debut was Big Bang’s win in MTV Europe, and Big Bang’s financial standing all throughout this year. Big Bang is still as sturdy as ever, and you will see that in 2012.
Whenever Big Bang gets involved in any kind of controversy, they always get infested, eaten alive, asked to kill themselves or leave the country online. That’s a normal cycle of netizen behavior. Big Bang was never the peefect angels like the female idols such as SNSD and IU are. Big Bang never went to the role model route. They became national idols on top of being famed alcohol drinkers and cigarette smokers. They became idol group amidst G-Dragon’s endless controversies with his cursing, tattoos, clubbing, girlfriends and drugs. There was no good image to ruin with all these issues because they had no “good” image to protect in the first place. G-dragon is the most polarizing idol in Korea. Teens and young adults are impressed by him, but parents and old people always frown at what he does. BUT THEY STILL LISTEN TO HIM AND HIS MUSIC. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE BIG BANG, the musician idol. Big Bang is nationally loved because of their music, and all the trends they set. They are composed of members who brought in their own demographics. Dae Sung is so much endeared by the old people, Seung Ri is a hot issue for kids and teens, G-Dragon impresses the young working adults, T.O.P is respected by middle-aged adults, while Taeyang brings in the most cynical music lovers of all ages.
Big Bang is the only national male idols, along with Seungki and Rain. And among the lines of all national stars, they are probably the most dirty imaged and most controversy-laden. To still maintain that status for four years and counting, what does that tell you?
It means the name is strong, very sturdy. That’s not a reason to worry. Only worry when they get into an accident, or is at a health risk, or is at an emotional downfall, or is in a civil or criminal case. But to worry over netizen omments about their shamelessness and inability to own up to their mistakes? That is too shallow of a reason to doubt their name, their status, and their future. BIG BANG AS A GROUP HAVE MAGNETIZED ALL POSSIBLE CRUEL AND HATEFUL ONLINE COMMENTS. They existed out of running jokes and criticisms. They were welcomed with negative remarks. Online search engines were filled and infested with anti-Big Bang comments. BEFORE 2PM, THEY HAD THE BIGGEST AMOUNT OF ANTI-FANS! What makes you think they are not gonna survive this?
Big Bang remains to be the only star who bridged music, critics, teenage fans, and the Korean public altogether into agreeing with their choice of songs and artist. Juat remember that all the time, and that might give you the push you need to regain faith in these five bad boys. Remember that.
VIPS are not worrying nor fighting the enemy. We’re not fighting because there is no use. We’ve always been a quiet bunch, and never will you see us fighting WORDS WITH WORDS. We fight the enemies with loyalty and patience and love, and it has always worked. Hatred will pass, but fierce loyalty and support? Never.
Big Bang will come back, wounded and scarred, bu all the more stronger. Just hang on.
Kindly spread these words to your community, because she feels like we all need a PUSH, A RUSH OF PRIDE, and A REMINDER OF FAITH.
Text by: 안정화 Ahn Junghwa – Daum Blog
Translated by: Jenny Hwang
[I’m gonna translate this post into Vietnamese soon]