Of all the acts that have been screwed over by YG Entertainment‘s unreliable release schedule, none has had to put up with more than Winner. First there was the nearly two year wait between their debut and follow-up, and then came last year’s botched EXIT project (they never made it past “E,” regrettably). Though the group has suffered some behind-the-scenes drama with member Taehyun ultimately leaving, Winner has always seemed like a band capable of putting out a steady stream of material. YG has promised this exact strategy for 2017, but it’s wise to take the agency’s promises with a gargantuan-sized grain of salt.
Winner have given us double title tracks to kick off this alleged blitz of 2017 singles, with Really Really leading the charge. On paper, its tropical house production reads as ultra-trendy at best, and kind of desperate at worst. Luckily, the popular genre fits well with Winner’s core sound, resulting in a comeback that feels true to their sensibilities rather than a quick cash grab. Really Really makes a nice pairing with BLACKPINK’s Playing With Fire. Both draw from the hip-hop influenced, slightly melancholic melodies synonymous with YG artists, but succeed on the strength of their performances. Down one member, Winner sounds no less dynamic. Each voice stands on its own, bringing unique character to the track. Because of this, Really Really provides a near-perfect blend of vocals and rap, each element complimenting the other to create a patchwork of hooks that feels organic and unforced.
The same can be said about Really Really‘s chorus. It’s a simple refrain, but the kind of simple that sneaks up on you. Supported by the track’s robust synth beat and leader Seungyoon’s gritty vocals, the hook is in line with Winner’s mature sound but allows the group to dip their feet into the dance music genre. And now that they have a successful song like this under their belt, I hope they feel bolstered to increase the level of complexity and experimentation next time around.