Film, TV + Theatre

Review: Episode One of Taeyang’s solo documentary ‘White Night’


By Ronn Tan

Review: Episode One of Taeyang’s solo documentary ‘White Night’

When Coachella announced that the 2020 line-up included Big Bang, fans were elated. However, it was revealed in March that the music festival would be postponed from April to October. This was scheduled to be the legendary South Korean group’s first comeback since 2016’s Made. With the postponement, fans are wondering when they will be able to see G-Dragon, Daesung, Top, and Taeyang on stage together again.

I remember when Lies was released in 2007 and how much I adored the track. It was my first introduction to Big Bang and since then, Big Bang has become one of the most iconic K-Pop artistes of all time. The group’s discography is extensive and filled with hits—such as Haru Haru, Fantastic Baby, Bang Bang Bang, Bae Bae, and Loser. Oh, Lollipop with 2NE1 in 2009 is another record that I thoroughly enjoyed.

While fans of Big Bang wait for the group to return once again, Taeyang has released the first episode of his documentary White Night. A successful solo musician himself with songs such as Wedding Dress, I Need A Girl, Ringa Linga, as well as Eyes, Nose, Lips, Taeyang’s latest project is an intimate look into his life prior to the military enlistment.

Through White Night, viewers get a behind-the-scenes view of Taeyang’s marriage to Min Hyo Rin, the production of his 2017 album, and solo tour. The documentary premiered on 18 May 2020 (also his birthday) with English subtitles. What happened in the first episode?

The 11-minute episode is directed by Kim Sun Woo and Jung Young Jun. The first episode began with Taeyang (or Dong Young Bae) in the United States; days before the album release date. Here, Taeyang said that he loves Joe’s Pizza and Shake Shack—the only two options he requires whenever he’s in New York. Burger and pizzas? Sign me up, Taeyang!

Taeyang’s friend, Peter Chun, revealed that he introduced these joints to the singer. The episode goes on to show what people around think of him. Peter said that Taeyang is “extremely open and hardworking” while bodyguard Choi Jae Ho stated that “Taeyang himself always lives a disciplined life”. Kim Da Som, his tour manager, shared that Taeyang “always takes care of every member in his production crew, the team, the dancers, and band members on a daily basis”.

About four and a half minutes into the episode, viewers are introduced to the special date: 16 August 2017. It’s the release date of the album White Night. Here, we get to see Taeyang’s emotions prior to the launch. “I just hope people can understand that making an album like this is not an easy job”, he said. It’s clear that he was worried about how the album would be received.

He also acknowledged the fact that many would compare White Night to the wildly successful predecessor Eyes, Nose, Lips. At the eighth-minute mark, the documentary shows Taeyang in the studio with R. Tee, Joe Rhee, and 24. From this specific scene, fans get to understand how hands on Taeyang was (still is) with his projects. I think this is really important because it shows how much he really cares about what he does. Just like what 24 said: “he really looks into every detail”.

“Whenever I release an album, I make it as if it’s my last album”, Taeyang said towards the end of the episode. VIPs and fans of Taeyang are waiting patiently for his next release and while we don’t know anything about that yet, we know that he puts his heart and soul into his work. That’s something everyone can and should appreciate.

In my opinion, this documentary is a brilliant showcase of who Taeyang is—as a person and as an artiste. Although the duration of the episode is relatively short, it still allowed viewers to get a solid grasp of  the project’s message. As a fan of Taeyang myself, I really enjoyed the flow and production of the series so far. It’s also an easy watch with English subtitles. Honestly, I can’t wait for more!

For the duration of four weeks, episodes will be released every Monday and Thursday. What are your thoughts on the first episode of White Night?

For my review of Netflix’s Extracurricular, click here.

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