BigBang - "Fantastic Baby"

Most big indie types knew better than to release videos this week, seeing as how the entire music internet is raging out in Austin and the blog-feeds are slowing to crawls. But this week saw plenty of striking videos emerge from unusual suspects, be it Korean pop superstars (that’s right, BigBang sighting #2 in two weeks) or chaotic Brooklyn internet-rap insurgents. Check below for our picks, and please note that the Shoes’ video with all the Jake Gyllenhaal throat-slashings fucked me up too much for me too include it. Your mileage may vary.

5. Joey Bada$$ – “Survival Tactics” (Feat. Capital Steez) (Dir. Creative Control)

The hilariously named Joey Bada$$ is a 17-year-old Brooklyn rapper, which means he wasn’t even born yet when Nas’s Illmatic came out and perfected the sort of forbidding, incisive slow-lope boom-bap he’s doing on breakout track “Survival Tactics.” But Joey and buddy Capital Steez do that style with an infectious youthful immediacy, and the grimy video plays around with Occupy Wall Street signifiers and generally makes for a crazy-striking debut.

4. Diplo – “Express Yourself” (Feat. Nicki Da B) (Dir. @LILINTERNET) (NSFW-ish)

Diplo’s inevitable trip into the New Orleans sissy bounce scene is harder and more aggressive than most of the stuff we’ve heard from scene crossover stars like Big Freedia, and so @LILINTERNET makes the wise decision to highlight that hardness by turning this ass-shaking marathon into something less inclusive and more borderline-threatening. It’s fun and intense at the same time, and New Orleans just always looks awesome on camera.

3. Flatbush Zombies – “S.C.O.S.A.” (Dir. The Madbury Club)

I am constitutionally partial to dudes-rapping-in-abandoned-warehouses videos, and this is about as good as one of those videos can get in 2012. After this and the equally great “Thug Waffle,” this Brooklyn duo has shown that they know how to look freaky-insane on camera, and that is a valuable skill. (They are also good at rapping.) Bonus points for somehow making the act of smoking weed look ominous.

2. Orbital – “New France” (Dir. Ian Bucknole)

Some next-level stuffed-lion puppetry went into this video about a toy who tries to break away from its kid and ends up wanting desperately to get back home. It helps that the lion’s night out with his buddies just looked extra-squalid and depressing. And as a father, I am absolute mush for anything about the bond between little kids and their toys. You should’ve seen me at the end of Toy Story 3; I was a mess.

1. BigBang – “Fantastic Baby” (Dir. Seo Hyun Seung)

We used to make things in this country. Among those things were nonsensical high-gloss music videos that made your brain explode in another way every five seconds or so. Not anymore. We’ve totally given up worldwide-leader status in that department to South Korea, where incredible stuff like this comes out all the time. BigBang, almost certainly the greatest boy band on earth right now, came close to topping this list last week with their breezily ridiculous “Bad Boy” video. That was awesome, but this — a candy-colored dystopia of dancing dragons and gas-masked rioters and hairstyles that laugh in the face of God — this is another thing entirely. If you’re in an indie band, please watch this and thing long and hard before releasing another Instagram-looking mediocrity into the world.

Comments (31)
  1. BigBang makes Lady Gaga look like Sarah Palin.

  2. This week’s malnourished list makes me happy to see the week nearing its end. Rest and sober up quickly, SXSW attendees (bands, labels and news sources alike) — You owe the rest of us non-industry types who were strapped behind office desks and class rooms a shit load of interesting content to talk about come Monday morning… and I’m not talking about more live SXSW set reviews.

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  4. Keeping in tune with the early 90s vibe, that Joey Bada$$ track is super fly dope as hell. Love it!

  5. No Jake Gyllenhaal? :(

  6. That BigBang video was indeed ridiculous, but it probably fits the music anyway, so overall makes it “appropriate”. I believe people who like this sort of music, will like this sort of video too. So each to its own.

    Please allow me to introduce you to another video released this week, which in my opinion is superior from any in this list. While this video is unofficial (so far), it’s *original work*.

    • BigBang video is related to all the drama that happened to them the past year,,each member went thru a phase and they’re expressing it in this video in an epic kinda way ;} fans of BigBang who knows their news got the music video and what it means immediately,,that’s what makes it cool,,it’s like they’re talking to fans only xD in a special language that they only could understand…

  7. The new Orbital album appears to be another classic, which fills me with all kinds of happy. I’ve missed classic Orbital albums for about the last 16 years (that would be In Sides, in case my point is somehow missed). So happy to visit them again.

    Diplo is …. umm… not all that. I don’t get his appeal at all. Diplo gotta eat, though, so good for him… I guess.

  8. Did they just use the n word in that BigBang video? I listened to it twice… can’t do it again… if so, lame. If not, that’s some crazy ridiculousness right there.

    • Absolutely no, they didn’t. The Korean words for ‘I’ and ‘you’ are each ‘na’ and ‘neo’ (or ‘ni’). And the subject ending that can make them the subejcts of sentences is ‘ga’. So such words appear frequently in the lyrics, and people seem to mishear them easily… :(

    • Niga in Korean means ‘you are’. A lot of people misunderstand unfortunately…

      • Thanks for the replies. Both of them make a lot of sense in comparison to what my ears were hearing.

        Also, although it’s truly unfortunate, if you look at the lyrical content of a majority of hip-hop in the States it’s easy to understand why someone would hear that word when it’s not actually there. Push play on that Flatbush Zombies video, they say it about 50 times before the first verse.

        • yeah in Korea they would be banned for using such an English word. Their song Knock out was banned on several tv stations because the word Ppogigayo (knocked out) is slang. banned for one single mild slang word that indicates having consumed alcohol. :))) they wouldn’t dare to use the N word :D or the F one :) K-pop lyrics are almost all completely free of any swearwords or serious implications of anything “immoral”, otherwise songs get banned. So compared to American music trends, K-pop lyrics are as pure as a white rose. LOL :) some songwriters try to rebel, like Bigbang’s G-Dragon did with the lyrics of Knockout but it resulted in the video only circulating on youtube, and never on music channels. Korea is a funny society. :)

  9. BIGBANG!!!! I love their music!!! they are talented and work much!!!! so many videos are with the nice persons of girls and boys – bothered already, and here we see original approach!))

  10. Well, I can’t say that I understand a word of it but I do kind of dig it….

  11. What’s all the love for Bigbang about? Glossy, polished, big budget videos for frankly awful sub-Eurotrash pop tunes are ten a penny. If these guys were American or British we’d be laughing at them or at least ignoring them. But no, they’re from a distant Asian country, so our “Aw, bless them, they’re really trying hard” colonial guilt kicks in. I understand there’s a kind of ‘cool’ being bestowed on K-Pop recently but surely people realise it’s purely ironic?

    • That’s your opinion. Big Bang are actually pretty talented. They’ve pretty much touched every genre with their albums or solos. They don’t really need any Western “aww” votes, because they’re simply the biggest thing coming out of Asia, with fans literally all over the globe, and they earned them with their music. Besides that, you should look up the translations of the lyrics of a lot of their songs; they’re really meaningful. And they aren’t churned out pop music; these are songs written by the band themselves. G-Dragon (the one with the long hair) pretty much writes and produces the bulk of their music (even the solos for the other members). T.O.P (blue hair) writes all of his raps. Korea has good enough music for people to like it on it’s own merit, and not on some “aww” colonialism tip. Besides, nobody ever “colonized” Korea. The only countries that ever had control over Korea were other Asian countries (China, Japan.). You Euro guys never touched Korea. Honestly, the thing that drew me into Big Bang was G-Dragon’s solo album. And trust me, I was not going in planning to like it. Straight up, GD impresses me; not because he’s Asian or something stupid and racist like that, as if Asian’s can’t make music or something, unless they’re copying sweet ol’ America. He impresses me because his lyrics are beautiful, his songs sound good, and he’s extremely hard-working. Sure, Fantastic Baby is dance pop. Okay. But they have SO MANY styles of music that the 5 of them sing (or rap), that dismissing them because you’re a snob who hates dance pop is a bit naive. Also, if you simply don’t like the style of the last two songs Stereogum posted, that’s your personal taste, but it doesn’t speak for the personal taste of other people. Big Bang has tons of fans, sir. Not just Asian ones, or white hipster kids from America that like them because it’s different or “ironic”. They have fans that like them because they’re talented. VIPs (Big Bang’s fans) are very passionate about them, there’s nothing “ironic” about this love, or their success.

    • And if these guys were American or British, groups like One Direction would be the only joke. I’ve definitely heard WAY worse pop music coming out of America and Great Britian, from artists everyone praises who sell 20 million copies. If these were 5 white guys from California, they’d be megastars by now.

      • I appreciate the thoughtful reply. Obviously our tastes seriously differ and that can’t be solved but I have a couple of points. Firstly, I was waiting for someone to point out that Korea wasn’t colonised. I know that, but it seems to me that it was the same sort of mentality that was giving these guys more respect than (I think) they deserve. Secondly, I’m glad they write all their own lyrics and am perfectly willing to accept your point that they are perhaps meaningful and insightful, but the song still sounds appalling to my ears. The sort of stuff we got rid of over a decade ago. Now, if Korea is a culture that is appreciating this sound right now then fine, but I still get the impression that some people are praising them when they would be mocking an identical sound, with equally ‘good’ lyrics, by a Western act. Also, I don’t think disliking ‘dance pop’ as you put it makes me a snob but hey, whatever. Also, on your second post, I entirely agree. That was kind of my point. And if they were Western, they certainly wouldn’t be getting posted on this blog or receiving praise in this thread. Again though, I appreciate that you took the time to reply.

        • When has there ever been sympathy / rooting for for Asian males in America? Your argument is invalid. And nice cover up on the “I know they weren’t colonized, just was waiting for someone to point it out der herrr”

          • The fact that you think I’m American and am talking about post-colonial guilt when America has never had any colonies in the sense that Britain did shows that you have almost literally no idea what you’re talking about. Therefore your misplaced doubt about my sincerity is pretty ironic.

  12. Speaking for myself, I didn’t give them any love. I said the video was “crazy ridiculousness”. If Bon Iver, Radiohead, Joanna Newsom or “five white guys from California” had made that video I would say the same thing.

  13. Awww. There’s sensitive people leaving comments here. I guess only sensitive people are allowed to have opinions.

  14. Wow, fantastic baby.

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