K-Pop debuts can be tricky things. At times, they’re the best song a group delivers. Sometimes, they’re the only song a group delivers!
But, debuts can also be huge wtf moments in an artist’s career. In this feature, I’ll be looking back at debut songs through the prism of time, re-evaluating how well they hold up and how representative they are of an artist’s eventual singles run.
Debut Date: August 19, 2006
Bigbang returned with Still Life earlier this month, so it seems as good a time as any to flash back nearly sixteen years to their debut. The group emerged with a single album, of which a couple tracks were given a music video. But, We Belong Together stands as their first promoted track – as well as the CD debut of Park Bom who would later be known as part of 2NE1.
It’s hard to put myself in the 2006 frame of mind. I was not yet a K-pop fan, meaning the only “We Belong Together” that occupied my brain space was Mariah Carey’s huge hit. The two songs actually share a similar vibe, though BIGBANG’s version coasts on a more laidback melody. The track presents a leisurely hip-hop beat over which the guys trade rapped verses with Bom’s hooky chorus. By today’s standards, the production is very smooth and unchanging, highlighted by a delicate keys loop that gives the rhythm satisfying swing.
Interestingly, We Belong Together doesn’t utilize the group’s vocal talents at all. Bom does all of the singing and her voice comprises quite a bit of the track. This seems like an odd choice for a debut. You’d think YG would have wanted to highlight all of the members – not just a couple. Whatever the case, it wouldn’t be until 2007 that BIGBANG really broke through with Lies. You can hear the smallest bit of that groundwork being laid in We Belong Together.
Does the song hold up?
I mean, I still like it… but it sounds very of its era.
Is the song stronger or weaker than most of the artist’s title tracks?
It’s definitely on the weaker side. The group didn’t start really finding their way until a year after its release.
Does the song represent the artist’s music going forward?
It feels like a very bare-bones template. It offers a glimpse of their hip-hop/r&b sound but doesn’t hint at their EDM and rock influences at all.