BIGBANG’s Taeyang: From ‘Prayer’ to ‘Darling’, let’s take a look at the style of music by the ‘Prince of R&B’
On this joyous occasion, let’s dissect the various record breaking tracks by the vocalist of BIGBANG.
Dong Young Bae, better known by his stage names Taeyang (meaning sun in Korean) and SOL (when performing in Japan), is a South Korean singer, songwriter and dancer. After appearing in Jinusean's music video ‘A-yo’, Taeyang began training under YG Entertainment at the age of 12. Six years later, he made his debut in 2006 as a member of BIGBANG While the quintet's debut was met with lukewarm receptions, their follow-ups cemented their popularity, becoming one of the best-selling digital groups of all-time in Asia and one of the best-selling boy bands in the world.
Following the release of several albums and extended plays with his group, Taeyang pursued a solo career in 2008, releasing his first extended play, ‘Hot’. Two singles were released from the album, ‘Prayer’ and ‘Only Look At Me’. The EP was well received by fans and critics alike, winning two trophies from The 6th Korean Music Awards for the 2008 Best R&B/Soul Song and the 2008 Best R&B/Soul Album. Taeyang is the first ‘Idol group’ or boyband member to receive such awards.
This was followed by Taeyang's first full length album ‘Solar’ Four singles were spawned from the album: ‘I'll Be There’, ‘Wedding Dress’, ‘I Need a Girl’ and ‘Where You At’ (featuring bandmate G-Dragon). The international edition of the album, titled ‘Solar International’, was the first K-pop release to be sold worldwide on iTunes with both an audio and video album. ‘Where U At’ (featuring Teddy Park) was the first promotional single of the album. It was released on October 14, 2009. ‘Wedding Dress’, an R&B song, was released in November 2009, just a month after the release of ‘Where U At’, making it the second promotional single of the album.
‘I Need a Girl; (featuring G-Dragon) was an R&B track, its lyrical content consists of Taeyang expressing the type of woman he wants. Both the music video and dance version video features labelmate Sandara Park as Taeyang's love interest and includes appearances by G-Dragon. ‘I'll Be There’ served as the second single from the album. The music video released for the track pays homage to ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson, set against the backdrop of a graveyard and haunted mansion with lifeless, jerky choreography.
In 2014, he dropped arguably his most famous studio album, ‘Rise’, with ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’ as the lead single. ‘Ringa Linga’ was the first single for the album, released in November 2013. The track is a hip-hop and EDM song with rhythmic rapping. The album, however, was only released six months after this single with a more R&B sound, with Taeyang saying there was a change in concept during the recording sections.
Although most tracks are R&B, ‘Body; is an ‘old-school disco’ with ‘heavy electronic and digital vibe to it’ while ‘This Ain't It’ is reminiscent of British pop, ‘Let Go’ of gospel music and ‘Intro (Rise)’ includes tropical elements. ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’ was described as an R&B-style song with a solid piano sound accompanying the singer's appealing vocals. ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’ received universal acclaim, being named one of the best songs of the year and winning many awards.
His third studio album, ‘White Night’, was released in 2017. The album starts with the title track and intro ‘White Night’ that runs only for around one minute and a half, being described as a psychedelic stomper that launches into a progressive frenzy of electronic grooves and trancey rhythms, while speaking of cherishing the moment with a loved one and wanting that moment to last forever. The lead single, ‘Darling’ is a R&B ballad that was compared to his previous single ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’.
Lyrically, the song shows sensibility for one's significant others' actions and claims, while the singer realizes the imminence of the moment's end, then the resulting heartache. ‘Wake Me Up’ was described as having a dream-like atmosphere, featuring strong EDM beats, and an introduction using sounds that play off the notion of dawn and the various fauna that can be heard during that time.
Even though it’s been 5 years since Taeyang released any new solo songs, we hope to see him try new genres like rock or even bubblegum pop! It’ll be popular without a doubt!
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Which solo track by Taeyang is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.