|Single by Big Bang|
|from the album Alive|
|Released||March 7, 2012|
|Big Bang singles chronology|
"Fantastic Baby" is a song recorded by South Korean group Big Bang for their fourth extended play Alive (2012) and released as third single of the record by YG Entertainment. A music video for the song was released on March 7, 2012. The track was described as an electropop and EDM song with an anarchistic theme. Upon release, it peaked at number three on South Korea's Gaon Digital Chart and on Billboard World Digital Songs, as well as reaching the Top 10 on the Japan Hot 100.
"Fantastic Baby" is recognized as "one of the biggest K-pop hits ever", being hailed a highlight of the K-pop part in spreading the Hallyu Wave internationally. Its music video broke several records for K-pop groups on YouTube, including being the first to surpass 200 and 300 million views and being the most-watched video. The song was well received by music critics, with Rolling Stone naming it one of the greatest boy band songs of all-time. The single went on to sell more than four million downloads in South Korea and over 6.5 million across Asia, becoming one of the best-selling digital singles of all-time and one of the best-selling singles in South Korea.
"Fantastic Baby" was released as a single in March 2012. A teaser of the music video was released on the music show Inkigayo on March 4, 2012 and the full video was published on YouTube two days later. The first performance of the song was made in their concert Big Show 2012 in Seoul. A Japanese-language version was released in March, on the Japanese version of Alive. The song was translated by the Korean-Japanese member of M-Flo, Verbal. This version was also included in the 2014 greatest hits album The Best of Big Bang 2006-2014.
Written and produced by G-Dragon and Teddy Park, with additional rap parts penned by T.O.P, "Fantastic Baby" is an anarchistic dance, EDM, hip hop and electropop track that was described as a "full-on banger" with a "boisterous, genre-blending sound."NME compared the single's "boom shakalaka" refrain to music of the 1960s band Sly and the Family Stone.
After four days from releasing the album, the song debuted at number four in the Gaon Digital Chart, charting behind Big Bang's songs "Blue," "Bad Boy" and "Love Dust", selling 450,021 copies. In the next week, the song rose to number three, selling 362,298 copies. The single was the second best-selling song of March 2012, reaching 1,351,429 downloads and charted first on the monthly Digital chart. The song was the fifth best selling and sixth most streamed single of the year, with 3,339,871 copies sold and over 30 million streams in South Korea. As of September 2016, Fantastic Baby reached 4 million downloads in South Korea, the best-selling boy group song on Gaon Music Chart.
Fantastic Baby is the longest charting K-Pop group song on Billboards World Digital Songs, spending over 100 weeks on chart. In September 2012, the song was certified gold by the RIAJ for PC downloads, one of only two K-Pop songs to achieve this in Japan in 2012. In December 2013, the song was certified platinum. Fantastic Baby charted for over 70 weeks on the Japan Hot 100. "Fantastic Baby" has sold over 2.5 million downloads on Chinese download service KuGou.
Filmed in an abandoned warehouse, the music video for "Fantastic Baby" was directed by Seo Hyun-seung. Described as a "visual stunner," the video's theme is "the fight for the freedom." The members are seen wearing powerful fashion statements, such as futuristic helmets, metal shoulder embellishments and jewelled crowns, wearing dark make-up and unique hairstyles. The background dancers act as "rebels colliding with oppressors," wearing masks in stylish sets containing wreckage, spraying wires and waves of smoke, while dancing saja-nori (Korean lion dance). Big Bang released a Japanese version of the music video focused on the group's scenes while they are in a warehouse setting. Some individual scenes were removed and there are no extras in this version.
In "Fantastic Baby," the story starts with a clear revolution aimed at stopping music symbolized by the simplified version of Big Bang's skull logo with a slash. The black-masked people represent those who capitalized on past controversies and tried to discourage, discredit and ultimately disband the group, whereas the white-masked people symbolize the V.I.P.s, Big Bang's fans, who continued to defend and protect Big Bang despite everything. In the video there are three frames of T.O.P. wearing a variety of outfits reminiscent of historical revolutionary figures such as George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte, representing Big Bang's status as K-Pop's musical revolutionaries. The video also features Daesung in chains, representing the emotional turmoil he went through after his accident. The images of a frozen Taeyang, a scarred Seungri, and a seemingly silenced G-Dragon, portray the publicity nightmare the boys faced in the past. However, the video shows how they strained to change the world around. The video concludes with a giant dance party and the five boys being crowned kings upon thrones.
Kevin Perry from the British music publication NME compared the music video's outfits to Lady Gaga's style. When commenting about "Gangnam Style"s success, The Daily Telegraph recommended "Fantastic Baby" to its readers, highlighting the video's "fashionista eccentricity and excess." Francois Marchand from The Vancouver Sun felt that "Fantastic Baby is easily one of the most colourfully twisted pop videos we've seen in a while, combining RPG style art, riot gear, steampunk elements and street pop swagger." Tamar Herman of Billboard praised the video's "stimulating visual feast" when "promoting music as a form of rebellion."The Guardian named "Fantastic Baby" the best K-pop music video of 2012, claiming that the "supremely demented" video "establishes global equilibrium." The music video for "Fantastic Baby" won the World Music Awards for "Video of the Year" and the MTV Video Music Awards Japan for "Best Dance Video."
As of March 2014, the official music video for "Fantastic Baby" on YouTube surpassed 100 million views, making it the fourth Korean video to do so, after PSY's Gangnam Style and Gentleman, and Girls' Generation's Gee, and the first by a boy band. In 2016, the music video became the first from a K-Pop group to reach 200 million views and later the song became the first Korean group music video to surpass one million likes on YouTube.
Writing about the single's influence, Tamar Herman from Billboard recognized that "'Fantastic Baby' was the first song to cross international boundaries with its then-groundbreaking EDM style" and that it "took K-Pop to a whole new level." The author also praised the song for being "nothing short of fantastic". Kaitlin Miller from the Sun-Times called the track one of Big Bang's best songs, hailing it a "quintessential K-Pop song" for being able to reach an international audience.Rolling Stone stated that "this instantly accessible single from K-Pop phenomenon Big Bang blew off many doors of American crossover with little effort on the band's part" and labeled "Fantastic Baby" as a "modern-day essential" for showcasing "K-pop's genre-bending, visually-oriented charms." Smith Sonian included the track as one of the highlights of Korean music in the Hallyu Wave.
"Fantastic Baby" was featured in the American TV show Glee and included in the trailer for the movie Pitch Perfect 2, which was described as a "win for Korean music that has seemingly penetrated yet another traditional media source." The members' visuals in the music video, especially G-Dragon's long red-streaked side hair, have been parodied several times, including by Running Man cast members and by Dynamic Duo. The South Korean network Arirang TV considered the song as part of Big Bang's "mega hits".
In 2018, the song was played during the Opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. "Fantastic Baby" also picked by music critics as one of 100 greatest boy band songs of all time released by Billboard.
|Rolling Stone||50 Greatest Boy Band Songs of All Time||22|||
|Stereogum||20 Best K-Pop Videos||2|||
|The Dong-a Ilbo||Top Male Idol Songs in the Past 20 Years||6|||
|Watch Mojo||Top 10 Iconic K-Pop Songs||1|||
|Billboard||10 Best Big Bang Songs||1|||
|Japan (RIAJ)||2× Platinum||500,000*|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|2012||Cyworld Digital Music Awards||Song of the Month (March)||Won|||
|Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards||Song of the Month (March)||Won|||
|MelOn Music Awards||Song of the Year||Nominated|||
|Global Star Award||Nominated|
|Netizen Popularity Battle Award||Nominated|
|2013||Seoul Music Awards||Bonsang||Won|||
|MTV Video Music Awards Japan||Best Dance Video||Won|||
|2014||World Music Awards||World's Best Video of the Year||Won|||
|South Korea||February 29, 2012||digital download||YG Entertainment|
|Japan||March 28, 2012||YG Entertainment, YGEX|