WINNER are back after their mainstream breakthrough with “Really Really“, and they decided to continue in a similar direction with “Island“. Hey, if it’s not broke, why fix it, right? Well that theory definitely worked out in their favor this time.
This should come as no surprise, but I absolutely love this. As everybody ironically sounds like a broken record complaining about trop house (or at least what they think it is), WINNER come back with “Island”, which is honestly one of the most Caribbean-influenced EDM efforts I’ve heard (after KARD‘s “Rumor“, maybe), and it’s better off for it. In particular, the synth during the intro and chorus gets close to imitating a steel drum sound, and that in particular made this standout to me.
Usually I can find at least sections to complain about (I did with the start of “Really Really”), but basically everything seemed to work for “Island”. The verses were smooth, and the building pre-chorus transitioned perfectly. The instrumental-chorus drop keeps all the momentum that was building and makes it pay off, even if the ‘island’ hook is less of a pure hook than “Really Really”. Still, the ‘i-i-i-i-island’ refrain is hard to resist as it flows organically into the rest of the track, which is basically how this whole song worked.
“Island” has an instrumental that is well constructed and WINNER’s execution doesn’t distract from that fact, keeping things moving along with quality performances. Meanwhile, the music video is the perfect compliment to the song’s whole atmosphere, with Hawaii serving as a fitting and ideal backdrop.
Nobody is more glad than me that WINNER is eschewing YG Entertainment‘s history and usual path of yolosweg messes for upbeat boy group comebacks. Instead of taking themselves too seriously with these upbeat concepts, they remind that K-pop’s supposed to be fun and they certainly embody that perfectly on “Island”. Like with “Really Really”, it has a strength of making you regret when the song finally ends because it’s so engaging, and that’s what makes tracks like “Island” so easy to keep on repeat.