Swan songs have a particular aura around them, and although Last Dance may not be the last thing we ever hear from Bigbang as a group, it certainly feels like the end of something. As their final single released before years of staggered military conscription service, it’s at the very least the last song the group will deliver for a number of years.
With that frame of mind pre-loaded into every fiber of the song’s DNA, Last Dance marks an important moment for the group, and one marked not by a brash explosion of sledgehammer beats and anthemic shout-along hooks, but by a somber, pensive melody and soft piano-led instrumental. It’s been awhile since we heard Bigbang in full ballad mode — especially with this particular tone. Fortunately, the guys prove that they are still very much up to the task. There’s barely a shred of hip-hop to be found here. Instead, the group empties all they’ve got into a series of emotional segments, climaxing in the gutsy, gorgeously melodic chorus. All five have rarely sounded better, with Taeyang and Daesung providing some of the most showstopping vocals of their careers. Even TOP opts to sing his verse, revealing a gritty, bluesy tone that feels like a true revelation. The instrumental swells as strings work their way into the mix, culminating in a sweeping key change that feels like the aural equivalent of a confetti drop. This is dramatic stuff, but it’s a drama well earned.
There’s no doubt that Last Dance will bring a tear to many fans’ eyes, particularly during TOP’s final verse that filters in the sound of a crowd cheering as he injects a spoken word coda to close this era of Bigbang music. And even if you don’t count yourself as a hardcore V.I.P, it’s difficult not to come away from Last Dance without feeling that bittersweet sense of finality. The song brilliantly taps into that emotion in a way that few k-pop songs do, and provides a strong send-off for the genre’s most influential group.