Alongside their two group title tracks (Baby Baby and Sentimental), Winner has also released a solo from youngest member Nam Taehyun. Taehyun previously gave us the sweet, brittle Confession from the group’s debut album. But I’m Young does it one better, taking on darker, more nuanced territory.
When writing about a song, I try not to let the quality of its music video influence my rating too heavily. Still, I have to quickly mention how heartbreaking I’m Young is on screen. All three videos for Winner’s new releases feel distinctly international, but this one is shot more like an independent film than a promo for a kpop song, and carries much more emotional heft. However, even without the video, I’m Young is a ballad with bite.
Sparely produced, the vocal is supported by a distant, ghostly piano and string section, giving it an almost a cappella feel. It has the characteristics of a lullaby, or maybe a hymn. This lack of distraction helps highlight every little emotion running through Taehyun’s voice. The song is an exposed nerve. However, its power lies not in cathartic vocal runs and peaks, but in a more resigned, helpless reaction to an immovable situation. In this way, it’s not your typical Korean ballad, and carries some necessary pathos that pulls you in further. It’s another indication of how much Winner has matured as a group, and a promising look at what these individual members are capable of on their own.