Review

Buried Treasure: Winner – Mola

Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.


I was thinking about it the other day, and realized that I haven’t given a 9+ rating to a YG song since June of 2017. Unfortunately, I’m just not enamored with the agency the way I once was. I don’t think their current crop of in-house songwriters are all that great, and none of their new gen artists have clicked with me in the way that Bigbang and 2NE1 did. YG’s output has become quite predictable over the past few years. They’re in need of a shot in the arm. None of the tracks on Winner’s latest album are going to change this pattern, but a song like Mola (몰라도너무몰라) hints at new sounds that should be explored further.

I like that Mola never really lets up. It kicks off with a high tempo, and that continues throughout the entire track. The thundering drum beat is almost metal in execution, though tethered to a bright synth-pop beat. The instrumental drop (usually a low point in these kinds of songs) is powered by inverted electronics that send the track spiraling in disorienting directions. The melody is a bit one note, peppered with rapid-fire repetitions of the titular phrase. The song could do with a more fleshed out hook, but by keeping the energy high and the pace brisk, Winner don’t give you much chance to dwell on Mola’s shortcomings. I would love to see how this would have fared as a title track. Ah Yeah is definitely the safe option, but the last thing YG Entertainment needs at the moment is safe.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

12 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Winner – Mola

  1. Mola should have been the title track. No other Kpop groups have ventured into this path of glam/rock/disco/dark wave, why can’t this be the title track ? Sigh.

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  2. The song is a lot of fun, catchy.
    I think the repetitive mollado mollado is the best part of it.
    But idk if it is as good for me as you grade it here – hey, your bias list, your score, whatever you want to do.

    To quote a recent encounter:
    “Hi! Congratulations! The Cure, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, 2019!” Keagan says. “Are you as excited as I am?”
    Robert Smith, scratching his faces, responds, “Um, by the sounds of it, no.”

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  3. I am slightly revising my opinion. YouTube helpfully autoplayed all the rest of the tracks off the album.
    It feels like Winner is in their Genesis “Invisible Touch” phase. They found their groove. All solid pop songs. Some songs are objectively “better” than other songs. No one really hates the band, some love the band, but most find the band at least pretty good and buy one or three of the songs. There are parallel solo careers which are equally good.
    and you know what, its all good. its fine. Really really fine.

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    • Your comments are always veryyyy interesting to read. Since you mentioned Genesis, I just have to ask you if you’re a fan of their prog period.

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      • Before my time. But for those of us who were progressive leaning but born slightly later, we shifted to Peter Gabriel solo albums. Biko. Shock the Monkey. In your eyes.

        “Biko” was huge, prefaced all the Sun City boycott stuff and enabled U2 to do what they do. (“Bad” is like the heroin version of “Biko”), It also greatly influenced the Paul Simon Graceland album too.

        I don’t think “We are the World” and “Do they know its Christmas” would exist if “Biko” didn’t exist. I don’t think LiveAid would have happened without “Biko”.

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      • Incidentally, Peter Gabriel “Sledgehammer” is apparantly the most played video of all time on MTV.
        This generation gets Baby Shark on youtube, or something.

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        • I’m actually a huge fan of prog-era Genesis and Peter Gabriel. Supper’s Ready is one of the greatest songs of all time. The Musical Box too !

          I agree with you on “Biko”. It’s one of the earliest protest songs and also, one of those rare songs that actually could move me to tears. I remember watching Sledgehammer as a kid, that dancing headless chicken thing terrified me ! XD

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        • I listened to them, just because you mentioned them.
          1) Phil Collins had hair once!
          2) those are full suppers of songs, soup to nuts. Fork and knife songs.
          3) they just don’t make songs like those 70’s rock epics anymore
          3) good thing I poured myself some Laphroaig
          4) Behold! Stonehenge!
          5) (perhaps too much Laphroaig)

          Related note: not too long ago, my husband was playing an album from his vinyl collection. I am listening along from the other room. Hey hubby, what is this, its really good. Answer: the Who “Quadrophenia”.
          Hey, lol, the first time I heard it, and yeah, its really good.

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