After almost six years of music, Winner’s third full album Remember arrives just as the group is set to go on hiatus. It’s also on the heels of member Jinu’s military enlistment, essentially ending this era of Winner. And, what a turbulent, musically diverse era it’s been. The group first debuted with a solid, sophisticated concept before moving into more rock-infused material. Then, after founding member Taehyun left in 2016, Winner found a second life amidst the burgeoning tropical trend. Since then, their music has largely focused on public-friendly, earworm tracks – to varying success.
As is typical during this moment in a K-pop group’s career, new single Remember is one of those sappy “goodbye, for now” ballads. I’ve written about my fair share of these swan songs before, and my thoughts are usually the same. A track like Remember hinges entirely on your fondness for the group themselves. As a piece of music, it’s a bit of a snooze – especially when compared to Winner’s strongest ballads. But, none of that matters if you’ve got tears in your eyes while watching the music video.
I don’t have tears in my eyes, but then again I’ve been hardened by an industry that churns out these kind of sentimental singles on the regular. It’s nice to hear the guys’ vocals front and center for the first time in a while, even though the bulk of Remember’s verses follow the sing-talk structure often favored by YG Entertainment ballads. I like the song’s delicate, acoustic guitar instrumental. It sidesteps the temptation to go overly grandiose, keeping things simple for a sound that feels comfortable and inviting. Still, Remember is too melodically repetitive to keep my attention the whole way through. It does what it needs to do, but when I crave a good Winner ballad there are many superior songs to choose from.
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