The long wait for WINNER’s official debut was truly worthwhile. After winning YG Entertainment’s Who is Next: WIN last year, the spotlight was on the boys to see if they can rival the success of their famous label-mates, and their first album 2014 S/S is carefully crafted to incorporate a variety of music styles that highlighted the strengths of the individual members.
Setting themselves apart from the pack: WINNER has drawn comparisons to label-mate BIGBANG, but 2014 S/S proves that they do not need to follow the same formula as their seniors to make it big on the scene. The album, written and composed by the members along with famed producer Teddy and Choice 37, swept the top spots on major Korean music charts simply because it reflects the personalities of the boys and their willingness to experiment with different music genres.
A collection of gems: 2014 S/S opens with title track ‘Empty’, a soulful dance number that blends soft rap by members Mino and Seung-hoon with mind-blowing high notes. The harmonizing effects of their voices are obvious in this track as the vocal transitions from one member to another turns out to be remarkably smooth. Second title track ‘Color Ring’ appears to bear similarities to the typical YG hip-hop tunes on initial listen, but the vocal-heavy track soon breaks down to an emotive melody that surprisingly worked well with piano and acoustic guitar elements after multiple loops.
If you are looking for something more upbeat, ‘Don’t Flirt’ and ‘Love is a Lie’ are addictive alternatives. Member Mino continues to amaze us with his song-writing abilities, churning out solo track ‘I’m Him’ that reminds us of the familiar sounds from GD&TOP. WINNER is equally charismatic in ‘Tonight’, a sexy, R&B ballad that will see you melting into their seductive nature.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Empty’, ‘I’m Him’, ‘Different’ and ‘Tonight’