After a year of preparation and hype, YG Entertainment’s new boy group, WINNER, finally debuted last week. For those who don’t know, back in August of 2013, YG put together a reality show called WIN: Who is Next where two teams consisting of YG trainees, Team A and Team B, competed for a chance to debut as YG’s new boy group. At the end of the competition, Team A won, and was given the new name, WINNER, as their official group name.
Now I’ll be honest: I didn’t watch WIN: Who is Next (except for the one episode featuring GOT7), nor have I really been following the group’s activities since the conclusion of the show. All I know about WINNER is from the promo for the show, the things I’ve heard people say about the group online, and from watching their two debut music videos. I don’t know exactly what the plan was for them, why it took so long for them to debut, or even the names of any of the members or what their specialties are.
I have noticed the intense hype for them though. I feel like they already had a full fanbase way before their official debut. It is understandable, considering that they are under YG Entertainment and they went through the show. They have done other performances between the show and now at various shows and many of the K-pop Reactioners who I follow on YouTube had been talking about them (and Team B) for a while.
Given all of their history, I was expecting a pretty mind-blowing video. Then on August 11th, the following two videos came out:
“Empty” is very clearly a YG song and music video. Everything about it screams Big Bang and 2NE1. This is not necessarily a bad thing, considering how often this happens to other groups, but for a debut video, I would have liked to see something much more original. The video does convey the lonely theme really well, but overall I find it not very interesting to watch. A lot of the sets and actions seem very recycled, which is a real shame to have for a group’s very first video. Maybe it would have been more effective to have the sets look more realistic, to convey the feeling of everyday life being empty without their love?
This video actually does make me sad. The story depicts the members all waiting for their ex-lovers to call, and after they finally give up and abandon their phones, she calls. It is such a bitter ending. The acting of the members, while it is cliché, does draw me in more than “Empty” does.
It will take time for me to like this song, though. On the first couple of listens, I don’t like it right away. I don’t think the melody of the chorus quite suits the voice of the member who sings it. However, I do really like the lyrics to this song, especially the rap. My only question: What is “color ring” supposed to mean?
Of the two, I think “Color Ring” is definitely the better video as a whole.
My final ratings of the two videos:
– Song: 4/5 – Cinematography: 3/5 – Wardrobe: 4/5 –
Overall Final Score: 3.7/5
– Song: 3.5/5 – Story: 4/5 – Cinematography: 4/5 – Wardrobe: 5/5 –
Overall Final Score: 4.1/5
When I went through and scored everything, I did try to be as fair and unbiased as possible. Basically, the videos were good for the people who like this type of sad music, but for me, I was expecting something much more epic. Part of me wonders if YG simply skipped out on making something attention-grabbing because they knew how popular WINNER already was before they even debuted.
Given how much they were talked about and how much work was put into their debut, both of WINNER’s debut videos leave me extremely unsatisfied, a huge part of it being that they did not include a dance even though part of their training on the show was dance. Also, since I’m already not a fan of this type of song, WINNER’s debut is unfortunately on the more disappointing side for me.
Totally biased perspective: I also don’t feel very good about WINNER already getting awards on music shows so early in their career. I really do think the majority of the credit goes to the simple fact that they are under YG. The songs aren’t terrible, but plenty of other artists have songs so painfully similar to “Empty” and “Color Ring” and are never even nominated for first place. There are a lot of very deserving artists performing on these shows who I would have expected to win over WINNER.