— billboard (@billboard) March 13, 2018
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“This is not the end of us / I hope we’ll meet again when the flowers are blooming,” G-Dragon says on BIGBANG’s new single “Flower Road.” Released Tuesday (Mar. 13), the digital single serves a final farewell from the Korean act to its fans ahead of a lengthy hiatus, as the band members serve in South Korea’s military.
The quintet’s first song since 2016’s duo of singles “Fxxk It” and “Last Dance,” “Flower Road” is effusive in its smooth dancepop vibe, and puts BIGBANG’s evocative vocals front and center over a melody that alternates between rhythmic guitar riffs, a clapping beat, and wailing synths. Balancing out melancholy and optimism, the track is an homage to BIGBANG’s relationship with the millions of fans around the world who have supported them for over a decade.
“Flower Road” was created while BIGBANG was working on their MADE album, and features lyrics written by G-Dragon and T.O.P. The title refers to a Korean term expressing a new, glorious journey, and refers to both the path of BIGBANG’s career as well as the lives of fans, with BIGBANG both asking fans to wait for them and also expressing an understanding if fans move on. “If you want to leave, I understand,” Daesung and Taeyang sing during the refrain. “I’ll scatter flowers on the road you’ll walk on /But if you ever miss me, please come back.”
Serving as a bookend to the group’s career so far, “Flower Road” fittingly begins and ends off with a fading shoutout of BIGBANG’s name by G-Dragon, recalling their 2008 song “Sunset Glow.”
BIGBANG is expected to return to with new music as a group after each of the members completes their military service periods. Following this month’s enlistments of G-Dragon, Taeyang, and Daesung, only youngest member Seungri is left in civilian life for the time being but he took to Instagram today to say he will also enlist soon. T.O.P recently began serving in public works after his original service period was cut short following the rapper’s involvement in a lawsuit based on his marijuana usage.
South Korea’s mandatory military service draft is in effect due to the country’s decades-spanning tension with North Korea following the armistice of 1953. The nearly two-year service period, either in military forces or public works (depending on a variety of factors), has affected the careers of many K-pop boy bands, though enlisting no longer serves as the guaranteed end of the road for boy bands as it did a few years ago. BIGBANG’s promise to return after fulfilling their duty follows that of acts including Shinhwa, Super Junior, 2PM and TVXQ!, all of whom either have members currently serving while the group remains active, or have returned to their group efforts following each of the member’s fulfilling his service.
Since 2007, BIGBANG grew to become one of K-pop’s most iconic acts, with both the group’s music as well as individual solo efforts making their marks on the Korean music industry and its international following. The group has seen two albums, Alive and MADE, chart on the Billboard 200.
“Flower Road” is available on digital music platforms including iTunes and Apple Music. Below is a clip Seungri shared on Instagram: