After much fandom drama, WINNER has returned with three songs and three music videos in “Baby Baby“, “I’m Young“, and “Sentimental“. While I realize this was something fans were hyped about for years now, truth be told I simply haven’t liked what WINNER have released up until this point. Yeah, I follow Mino for his rapping and all the members are fine by me as idols, but I found their debut rather boring. That trend somewhat continues for this trio of releases, but at least for this comeback they hit one home run among the strikeouts.
“I’m Young” is one of those songs that I just have a hard time appreciating at all. While it emotes better than your standard K-pop ballad, at its core is the same stagnant, boring instrumentation. Yeah, hypothetically this is supposed to let the vocals and/or songwriting shine, but that type of stuff doesn’t work unless you have a either a truly standout vocalist or exceptional songwriting, and there isn’t going to be much of that found in K-pop, much less here. Hell, even if it did have either of those standout elements, it still wouldn’t make me want to listen again.
I enjoyed the band wrinkle thrown into “Sentimental”, which sparked brief interest in me … until I realized that the base of it was like “I’m Young” in that it has a plain, beige aesthetic to the music. It basically continues the trope that “artistry” is synonymous with “boring” and … well … “sentimental”. Again, I’m not sure if you could pay me to listen to this again.
That said, I enjoyed the music video after I sorta tuned the song out.
OH WHAT THE FUCK
“Baby Baby” came out of fucking nowhere to be the first song by WINNER that I actually like, and I happen to like it an awful lot.
Within the first five seconds of the song, I was into it, and when the guitar and drums started hitting, I was hooked. Goddamn, this sounded like some kind of blend of early Motown realness and contemporary country, and I just couldn’t get enough. The vocals were on point throughout, and their upper register was remarkably smooth at key points like the irresistible chorus that is fun as hell to sing along with. I dunno who hits the lower register at around 3:39, but that switch had perfect timing and was just what the track needed. At that point, the higher tone was at risk of getting a tad repetitive, but the more authoritive, somber tone provided a much-needed break and I almost wish there was more where that came from.
Shit, even the standard K-pop rap verse that’s usually just lazily shoehorned into tracks worked on “Baby Baby”. The flow is perfectly adjusted to match the instrumentation, and it ends up feeling seamless like it actually belongs instead of completely out of place like on most K-pop tracks.
In conclusion, it’s lit. Goddamn.
…trolling of your own fandom in the music video as well? I can’t not love this.