Where do you go when the Flower Road meets an intersection? You sit down, I suppose, and paint a ‘Still Life.’ That is, apparently, what global sensation BIGBANG has been up to for the past four years while we VIPs wait patiently for the finished product.
‘Still Life’ dropped yesterday, and 24 hours in, the tears have not stopped flowing. The music video was a kaleidoscope of pastels and nostalgia, the lyrics a retrospective look back over the span of 16 years and the journey of boys who became men.
But, is ‘Still Life’ the goodbye that everyone seems to think it is? The song and corresponding video give us plenty of clues to help us find the answer to the question on everyone’s mind. Is this the end for BIGBANG? Have we come to the end of the Flower Road once and for all? Or will it split in four directions, taking us down new and winding paths? And why is this the most emotional journey we’ve taken with BIGBANG to date? Let’s deep dive and explore what we know.
Taeyang And The New Hope Of Spring
The song and video open with Youngbae in the Spring, atop a shipwreck covered in flowers. But what does this mean? Even in the wreckage of our past, beauty can bloom. He sits on the deck, cradling a lamb in his lap and singing of the seasons, of midsummer night’s dreams, and backed by Scripture. The lamb, the scripture, and even the season represent the faith that has seen him through the darker times of his past. He’s standing amidst the wreckage of a ghost ship with tattered sails, damaged but ready to sail into new waters. There is beauty even in the broken pieces of yourself.
“Thou has turned for me my mourning into dancing; Thou hast put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,” Psalm 30:11. But, what does this mean? That his faith has seen him through the mourning stages of what they have been through and encircled him with gladness despite it all. He has risen from the ashes of what he’s left behind and is moving forward into a new Spring, a new life, and renewed hope for the future.
In the end, Youngbae is missing. Now, the focus is on the flowers and the scripture: a reminder that there is always a new hope and a promise of something better.
Daesung And The Nostalgia Of The Fall
Daesung is in the Autumn, the only one who faces the four empty chairs and stares at them as if not quite ready to let go of what is past. He’s the one who directly says, “Goodbye now to my beloved young days.”
At the beginning of the scene, he is in black and white, his hair is straightened, and covers his eyes as reminiscent of one of his iconic hairstyles. He sits alone, surrounded by three empty seats, and looks into the face of a clock with no hands. The clock, perhaps, symbolizes that time has passed, but he has not kept track of it.
It should also be noted here that at the end of the video, Daesung stands behind his younger self — his past — and makes a choice, in color, to turn and walk away from it, leaving all four chairs empty (and in color). It’s sometimes okay to leave the past in the past. Letting go is healthy.
G-Dragon And The Cleansing Rains Of The Summer
Rainbows always follow the rain, and Jiyong points that out in the way only he can. By talking about the happy ending that comes after the storm, a reminder that rain (tears) are cleansing and that all trials come with a reward.
Jiyong’s umbrella is a pastel rainbow on the underside as he talks about rain. The rain is the world, the critics, the past mistakes, and his reputation from it. But he has preserved what’s inside, at peace with the man he has become.
Jiyong talks about missing the glorious and loving days as he faces a stage and a sea of yellow. The fans who have loved and supported them for 16 years, waiting patiently for them to return. BIGBANG know how they got where they are, and they acknowledge the VIPs who have waited for them to return. We will forever be a part of their story.
He stands in front of a picture of himself from the past. In front of the picture are signs “WRONG WAY” and “ROAD CONSTRUCTION AHEAD.” In other words, don’t revisit the past, this man is a work in progress.
In the end, just like the others, the scene is empty. The image of his younger self is collapsed into a puddle on the floor, and a director’s chair is in the center of the set with Kwon Ji Yong, Director, emblazoned across the back of it. Not G-Dragon. Kwon Ji Yong. He has been in charge of his story, and he remains so. He moves into the future as himself and not the image the public chooses to perceive.
T.O.P And The Darkness Of Winter, Leaving In Search Of Light
As someone who battles seasonal depression, the darkness of the Winter resonates as Seunghyun makes his first appearance in the video. He is on a snow-covered moon and masked. Halfway through the video, he removes the mask, a twisted conception of a bunny, and looks into the camera, eyes filled with awareness perhaps, or regret. It is possible that the mask represents the public’s concept of him following past scandals.
By removing the mask, Seunghyun acts out his lyric, “I’m going to change more than before, A good person more and more, A better person more and more…” He reveals the man behind the mask, his true self, ready to face the world and continue forward with a fresh start. He’s “With the morning dew, burying my anger in the past For Life…” moving forward, past a sign that also represents life.
With the mask gone, he disappears from his Winter setting altogether. Perhaps ready to walk alone into a new Spring and leave the winter of his youth behind him (and possibly BIGBANG), which he’s hinted of in interviews since the news broke in February that he has parted ways with YG Entertainment after 16 years. He leaves behind the barren landscape and a view of the earth, his past. It is the dawning of a new era for him, and he shares that with us here.
- “Immature and long gone without maturing, Marchin’ Vivaldi Tchaikovsky, greeting the seasons of today…” Both composers listed in the lyrics have written pieces about the seasons.
- “Going through our hearts by staining red and bruising blue…” We can only assume that their past has left them bleeding, bruised, and battered. And yet, they’ve still come through. And with lyrics like “For the day, the moment that will come again someday (for you) Our beautiful spring summer fall winter…” they say wounds and pains they endured on their journey are ones they view as worth having acquired when they look back.
- According to Google, a ‘Still Life’ is any work of art depicting something that does not move or is dead, such as flowers (which are displayed throughout the video), fruit, etc. And yet the song is about the changing of the seasons, fresh starts, new life, and moving forward.
This is not goodbye. It might be goodbye for now, but it is not the end of their story. Seasons pass, time passes, people change and grow, but one thing that will never change is the path they carved on their journey to where they are now, and that includes us. The song ends abruptly and not with the kind of closing that would give us a sense of finality. It’s like their story is not over, and as VIPs, we must believe that.
Whether this road continues forward with four sets of feet carving a path together or four distinct roads blazing trails of their own, the legacy of BIGBANG is one that we built together. And nothing can take that away.
What do you think of our deep dive into ‘Still Life’ by BIGBANG? Did you observe anything we missed? There’s so much to unpack that after 24 hours of tears and acceptance, we’re sure there’s plenty for you to point out that didn’t make our list. Please find us on every social platform by searching @thehoneypop and let us know what you’ve found!
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