WINNER – 'CROSS'
1. SOSO *Title
3. DRESS UP
4. FLAMENCO (HOONY SOLO)
5. WIND (YOON SOLO)
6. DON’T BE SHY
WINNER just dropped their third EP 'Cross.' The meaning behind the album is that four different people came together from different backgrounds. Their paths (if you could see them) would form a cross, coming together, then going in different directions. This EP has 6 brand new tracks, including two solo songs by Lee Seung Hoon and Kang Seung Yoon. They've topped iTunes charts around the world, so it's not like this release went unnoticed.
"SOSO" starts out quite playful, and it never loses that vibe throughout. even when the raps come in. It has a modified tropical house beat and is a pretty decent listen. It changes time at the chorus, and that keeps it interesting. And we get more tender and slow for "OMG." I guess given SOSO's tempo I can't quibble with a soft-pop tune this early. The husky voices and the raps keep it from getting too slow or maudlin.
They hew more to R&B with "DRESS UP." There's some falsetto and some parts that sound pretty funky. I like the synth line that comes in during the chorus. The raps here sound like they're just having a lot of fun with the song, and that's a pretty great feeling. "Flamenco," as you might guess from the name, starts out with a Latin-inspired guitar, but before the long transition to keyboards and some faux horns. It's Latin pop by way of Korea, and it's a pretty good song overall.
"Wind" begins as a ballad, but pretty soon becomes more of a standard club-banger. There are some parts that I like here, the chorus especially. It just has that majestic sound that touches something deep inside. It has the bombast that a K-Pop song should have. "Don't Be Shy" sounds more like the WINNER we're used to. If I'm off-base, it's because it sounds awfully familiar, giving me that deja vu feeling. During the main verses, it's fairly tender, but the raps give it that sense of playful edginess that makes it even better.
I got the sense that a lot of this was tongue-in-cheek. Particularly during the rapping. You could just see them smile as they were singing. This is one of the more cheerful albums I've reviewed this year, and that's a good thing. I know they wanted to do happier tunes since 'Really Really.' And it's not mindlessly cheerful, and some of the tunes were more of a mishmash of the different flavors of K-Pop. Which is not a bad thing at all.
If you wanted to see a weird MV, check this one out.
The boys of WINNER released an MV to go along with their lead single "SOSO." If I said the album was tongue-in-cheek, this MV is somewhat morose.
It starts with a road trip, but things take a bizarre turn after that. You've got Yoon suspended by a cable in a dome, MINO making his way through a crowded locker room, Hoony feeling alone and frustrated even though he's rich, and Jinu chained to large, sharp pieces of metal. If it could get worse for the boys, I don't see how.
That's only part of it.
There are scenes of the boys smashing their fists into walls, pained looks in the mirror, being naked and curled into a fetal ball, and more.
And yet, I get the feeling that these guys are trapped by their own choices. That the decisions they've made have led them to this point. And that's where it starts to make a little bit of sense.
While there's not a whole lot of dancing, what they do show is rather effective. It's decisive, confident, and explosive. I bet this looks amazing live.
So, you might ask, is it worth seeing? Yeah. The sets they used were one-of-a-kind, taking ordinary sets and turning them dark and twisted. I don't think you were meant to feel comfortable watching this, and you don't. It's pretty effective for setting a mood (like the lyrics talk about). And definitely worth a look.
MV SCORE: 8.6
ALBUM SCORE: 8.0