Even before a single preview has been released, some songs are released to great acclaim. Not only does Vibe mark Taeyang of Bigbang’s long-awaited comeback, but it also marks the titanic coming together of two K-pop generations. Bigbang contributed to building the international hubs that made K-pop such a success on a global scale in the early 2010s. Years later, BTS rewrote the definition of that same global success for a new generation, paving those roads in platinum. Taeyang and Jimin, as representations of these two titans, are well-known just by their first names.
A day before the release of “Vibe,” Rolling Stone met with Taeyang in the Hapjeong area of Seoul. Sitting in the offices of THEBLACKLABEL. It’s difficult to envision Vibe living up to expectations with such serious foundations. I entered this project with some pessimism. Since “vibe” has come to signify a lack of ambition in mainstream music, it may be rather annoying. However stupid it may sound, the song is a welcome surprise. It’s far groovier than I expected, and I certainly didn’t expect it to borrow so strongly from the new jack swing.
Given that these two K-pop singers have become household names over the past ten years, Vibe is wise to give them in-depth solo spotlights. Taeyang, who opened the track with easy charisma and control, is still unstoppable. Before the beat drops, his vocal powers the opening, producing a seductive tone that draws us in right away. From this point on, Vibe gradually creates a brittle funk groove propelled by rhythm guitar slashes and a swinging snare. This percussion’s range is really novel. We’ve been accustomed to hearing only the most basic hi-hats tossed over an entire track, and we’ve forgotten how potent the intermediate range can be. The instrumental from Vibe makes extensive use of white space.
Finally, If anything, the song could stand to develop further. Like so many modern pop tracks, it’s too short. Just as the final hook grits its teeth and delivers extra texture, Vibe sputters to a halt. The track is begging for a climactic finish – a dance breakdown that sends us off on a high and forces the replay button. But while it’s not the instant classic it could have been, I’m impressed by the overall direction and the amount of star power on display, despite the fact that it’s not the instant classic it could have been.
At the end of the film, when Maverick makes it back from the mission alive, he goes to find Penny but she’s gone. Eventually, she comes back and reunites with Maverick, who then takes her on a plane ride.