Song Review: Kang Seung Yoon (Winner) – IYAH

Kang Seung Yoon (Winner) - IYAHEven before the formation of Winner, I longed for a Kang Seung Yoon album. His early solo songs – Wild & Young, Stealer, It Rains – hinted at a gutsy rocker. And paired with some of YG’s best in-house talent, the music itself was fantastic. So, I was kind of disappointed when Seung Yoon was roped into 2013’s WIN program to compete for the chance to debut with yet another K-pop boy group. Of course, Winner ended up being more than “yet another K-pop boy group,” but their debut did put a brake on Seung Yoon’s burgeoning rock career.

Now, nearly eight years later, Seung Yoon has finally released his first solo album. And while I was hoping for an energetic rock song as title track, IYAH (아이야) is a welcome reprieve from many of the sounds K-pop is currently focused on. Its emotive performance and unusual time signature are reminiscent of Winner’s 2016 hit Baby Baby, though I don’t think IYAH has quite as much bite.

There’s a timelessness to music like this, and that quality is well-suited to Seung Yoon’s raspy vocals. He supplies IYAH with plenty of pathos, and the rootsy, uncluttered instrumental adds to the sentiment. However, the energy is a bit muted for my taste. IYAH builds toward a suitable, singalong climax, but misses the opportunity to come swinging right out of the gate. For me, this is the kind of song you’d put on in the background of a lazy afternoon, indulging in its mood without engaging too closely. I think its simple, repetitive melody has a lot to do with this perception. A rousing bridge might have taken IYAH in a more thrilling direction. Still, this is tasty comfort food – especially for Seung Yoon fans who have been starved for so long.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8

8 thoughts on “Song Review: Kang Seung Yoon (Winner) – IYAH

  1. First of all, one bonus point for being in 6/8th time. I am a sucker for any song in non 4/4 time.

    Second, this guy confuses me to no end. He crushed the competition on King of the Masked Singer SIX times! He is tied for third place all time winner. I had no idea up until then, because none of the Winner songs highlight his vocals. And now we have this song here which is pleasant but a dozen or more other guys could also sing just as well as he does. OK, sure here and there in here the nice falsetto pops out, but this song is hardly worth his talent. He does only 1 OST a year maybe, and no musicals, those are the usual paths they push idols who can actually sing into. Where are his actual songs that actually showcase his voice? (One less point, again, for YG)

    With the bonus point, its maybe an 8 for me.


  2. Considering I waited 50 years for this, I feel like I would’ve loved anything at this point. But thankfully I really like this and its message (maybe I’m just biased). He is a really talented songwriter and I enjoy his lyrics a lot.

    I still can’t believe there is a FULL album of his now for us to enjoy. YG Ent should be ashamed for making us wait this long, especially since some of these songs were written literally 5 or so years ago.


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