Winner is back with a new mini-album, just in time for the summer! The tracks are all perfect candidates for this year’s summer anthem. Let’s get into the review.
The title track Ah Yeah is upbeat and sweet, yet the poignant lyrics give the song that classic old-Winner-style pathos. The rappers’ verses are smooth and well delivered, and the singers’ belting voices fit perfectly. Although I do think the tropical house theme is overdone, especially by Kpop boy groups, I still really enjoyed this song. I especially loved the last part of the song where the chorus of female voices join in. This is especially enjoyable during the live stages, as Inner Circles can feel like they’re taking part in the song.
“Let’s promise each other
I can’t be just friends
Let’s make this clear Ah yeah
Sometimes, it’s so cruel
We’re just strangers”
Zoo is playful and sexy, which is not surprising given that Mino contributed to its composition. I liked the use of funky percussion in the instrumental, and the brass is shocking yet perfectly placed in the chorus. There is a lot going on in this track, from shout singing, to a trap beat, to animal noises. It may be too much for some, but that’s Winner for you!
The next track Mola is a bass heavy track that has a classic EDM flavour. I commend Winner’s risk taking when it comes to musicality, but I’m not sure this is a direction they should pursue! It was a fine track, but not groundbreaking. Nevertheless, I especially enjoyed Mino’s rap in the second verse, and the live stages were very exciting to watch.
“What am I to you, am I just a friend?
At least draw a clear line for me…
Don’t know, don’t know, really don’t know…”
I knew from the first few seconds that Boom would be my favourite song on this album. It starts off with Mino’s deep and sexy voice – his rap style is funny, with a dash of arrogance, which takes me back to his “I’m Him” days. I loved this version of Mino, so I am very happy to have it back! Seungyoon’s impressive vocal ability really shines through on this song too, as he really goes for it in the choruses.
We then move to the two bonus tracks on this album. I really enjoyed the Everyday Remix, as it added a level of intensity to the original song, making it perfect for the club. Both versions are cool, but this song noticably lacks the highlight of the original, that being the iconic cash register sound in Seunghoon’s killer verse, of course.
Finally we have First Love (2019), which is a laid-back ballad track that Winner had originally performed on TV over a year ago. I really liked this song, especially Seungyoon’s parts. Although YG Entertainment’s boy groups tend to have a hip-hop/rap image overall, they harbour some of the best male voices in the industry! (I’m still waiting for that Taeyang-Seungyoon duet).
This album was short yet sweet. I really love Winner’s versatility as artists – every time they make a comeback, they manage to reinvent their image in some what. The new Winner is example of a perfect team: each member has such a unique and bright personality, yet they meld together perfectly to form a group where everyone plays an equally important role. As always, I wish for their happiness and that they release new music soon!
Kpop Review Café’s Overall Album Ranking: 6/10
Written by Jessica