KPOP Tuesdays: Taeyang’s Ringa Linga
Olivia of WangGuk
Sorry that posts have been really hap-hazard this past week; being busy is a blessing, but it kind of sucks when it comes to trying to post everyday. I’ll try my best to have a better posting week this time.
Anyway, this week was full of great comebacks by so many of my favs in KPOP that it was fairly difficult to choose which I was going to review first. But I decided on Taeyang’s new song and video Ringa Linga. Because it’s awesome.
There are so many comments on this video, it’s insane— many of which are a little frustrating and silly to me. Let me start off by saying that I really love this new song from Taeyang. It’s fresh, it’s innovative, but it’s still completely Taeyang.
The sound is a little different for Taeyang, compared to most of his past work. I mean, there’s a lot of electro-synth-y sounds and auto-tune, the video is visually super different than most of his other ones, and let’s not forget the most exciting new aspect of this song: Taeyang raps! There are many reasons I love this song, but I think the main reasons are the fact that Taeyang has tried something so new and fresh and different from his past work and also that he seems so much more himself in this new image of his.
I have heard a lot of criticisms of Taeyang’s new look, all of which seem a little ungrounded to me. Many people have been commenting things like “Oh Taeyang just copies whatever GD does” and “Oh, I just miss the old Taeyang” and other such sentiments. Numero uno, no one is copying anyyyyyone. Yes, Taeyang has blonde hair now and yes, he tried rapping in this song. This does not mean he looked at GD and was just like “Hmm, that looks cool; I’ll just do that for my next video”— it means Taeyang has blonde hair now and explored rap in this new album. These two artists are BFFs, yes, but they are so distinctly different, it’s kind of astounding to me that people could even say they’re even somewhat similar. Because they really aren’t. And to all who “just miss the old Taeyang”, I guess I’d simply say this: being an artist is a journey. Artists grow and progress; they explore new ideas and concepts and new ways to carry out those concepts. I love Taeyang’s past work because he’s always been talented, but I love his new work because it means he’s moving forward and exploring all of his many selves as an artist— it’s a good thing that his new stuff doesn’t sound like his old stuff; it doesn’t mean he’s not Taeyang anymore, it just means that he’s exploring different parts of himself as an artist.
As for the setting of this video— it’s sick. I love the underground, modern-day dirty-grunge-clubkid look and I love that the song matches the scene. The colors are icy and cool, which perfectly matches Taeyang’s new personal look. And honestly, I like this look on Taeyang— he looks a bit more chic and high-fashion to me now, and I think his stunning features pop a little bit more now.
Some key aspects about this video that really make it for me are the unique spin on androgyny, the exploration of cultural and social diversity, and the creativity behind the dance and song. Firstly, I noticed that all of the girls in this song were sexy, yes, but not in a stereotypical way. At one point, they’re doing their little baby-got-back booty-raises, but they’re not wearing vagina-high shiny club dresses, as expected; instead, they’re wearing these super cool almost sack-like black dresses with hardly any shape at all to them, paired with big black snapbacks. Their dresses are loose and baggy, and they honestly look more “guyish” than some of the guys in the video— I love this! I love this unique spin on the modern-day concept of androgyny; it’s a great challenge to how we view sexiness and I honestly think it’s a step ahead of the curve. The subtle comments made by a simple stylistic choice— genius.
Secondly, I love the social and cultural meshing that occurs in the setting of the video. It’s this grungy, underground party scene, but it’s super chill and there are people from many different cultural and social backgrounds present in the video— I like this. I also like that, at the end of the video, we see some of this modern-day grunge-clubkid hip-hop scene mixed with some traditional Asian culture and also some traditional hip-hop culture. There’s something about the setting of the video that is inclusive yet diverse— it’s very progressive, actually. The scene is set around these club/party kids who kind of stand as the youth of today, including all social outcasts and rebels of the day, but I like it because diversity still exists among them and cultural identity is so interwoven in social identity in the video. It’s quite smart, I think.
Finally, let’s be honest— no one moves like Taeyang. No one ever will. His dance for this song is unique and progressive, so it matches the scene of the video, and his movements all perfectly bring to life the feeling of the song. I loved it; I was impressed by all aspects of the song and accompanying video. Taeyang has come such a far way since I Need a Girl, and I’m really excited to see where he goes next in his journey as an artist.