Taeyang Credit: Chung Sung-Jun

When Big Bang’s T.O.P. began his two years of mandatory military service at the start of 2017, it felt like the future of the South Korean pop band might be in question. Big Bang had just celebrated their ten-year anniversary, and multiple members had announced solo releases. Then T.O.P. was arrested for marijuana use (it’s very illegal in South Korea) and overdosed on benzodiazepine. He’s recovering now, but the rest of the band (G-Dragon, Taeyang, Daesung, and Seungri) and their label, YG Entertainment, have been working overtime to make sure fans know Big Bang isn’t dead—shouting out the group on Instagram posts, even announcing a T.O.P.-less Japanese tour to close out the year. In the midst of all this chaos, Taeyang released his third solo record, White Night. While Big Bang have an almost Borg-like approach to pop music, relentlessly evolving their sonic palette, Taeyang’s work has been laser-focused on R&B. The genre’s a perfect fit for his silkily emotive voice. While the brittle warmth of lead single “Wake Me Up” gives Taeyang plenty of space for heartfelt crooning, White Night is at its best when he’s at his most immediate. The disco stutter of show-stealer “Amazin’” makes a perfect soundtrack for strutting around in summer, and “Naked,” an ode to drunken hookups, segues from Taeyang stewing in longing and second-guessing straight into a blunt chorus of “I want you naked.” This is his first Chicago appearance.   v