Formed through YG Entertainment competition show Who Is Next in late 2013, Winner went on to enjoy breakout success with their first full length album. Since that time, the group has seen ups and downs, with truncated promotional campaigns and the loss of founding member Taehyun. But against all odds, Winner has returned as one of 2017’s biggest acts with a new sound and style. Here are their very best tracks.
10. Love Me Love Me (2017)
The disco-kissed Love Me Love Me continues Winner’s transformation as a trendy dance group with hooks and style to spare. (full review)
9. Island (2017)
Pushing further into a tropical sound, Island pulses with a bright synth beat that perfectly captures the anything-goes thrill of a summer vacation. (full review)
8. Color Ring (2014)
Color Ring‘s gentle melody offers a captivating backdrop for Winner’s expressive performance, cresting in a gorgeous final chorus that surges with emotion.
7. I’m Young (Taehyun solo) (2016)
One of the group’s most heartrending musical moments comes courtesy of former member Taehyun, who imbued I’m Young with a compelling layer of pathos. (full review)
6. Sentimental (2016)
The laid-back indie-rock of Sentimental gave Winner a sizable hit on the charts with its breezy, sing-song hook and carefree charm. (full review)
5. I’m Him (Mino solo) (2014)
Proving that Winner were not simply a ballad group, rapper Mino threw down the hip-hop gauntlet with the playful, beat-driven I’m Him.
4. Baby Baby (2016)
The rootsy southern rock of Baby Baby represented a complete reinvention for the guys, drawing inspiration from a style and era that’s far-removed from most modern k-pop. (full review)
3. Really Really (2017)
K-pop’s tropical trend was already well-underway when Really Really flew in to encompass all of its charms into one addictive, all-conquering early summer smash. (full review)
2. Wild And Young (Seungyoon solo) (2013)
Before Winner debuted, leader Kang Seungyoon displayed his rock chops with several solo tracks. Wild And Young is the best, and hints at a meatier, anthemic sound that the group would later explore for some of their album material. Easily one of the most underrated singles of 2013.
1. Empty (2014)
The purest distillation of Winner’s debut-era sound, Empty is the rare example of hitting a home run the very first time out. The group has released more boisterous and sonically adventurous material since, but Empty‘s subdued, syncopated bounce and gorgeous vocal texture remain unbeatable. In many ways, it’s the quintessential YG hip-hop ballad.