Buried Treasure: Winner – 10 Min

Winner - 10 MinA K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. 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.

Preceding the release of their newest album, Winner dropped a promo video that hinted at a synthwave transformation. Unfortunately, this concept never materialized. Instead, title track I Love U delivered an upbeat sound that adheres more closely to the traits we’ve come to know in their music. It’s still a great song, but I definitely crave some brighter synth textures.

Enter, 10 Min (10분). While this isn’t quite the synthwave anthem that first teaser video promised, the track draws from those genre influences and tethers them to a satisfying summer dance beat. It’s sleek and exciting, delivering propulsive energy that explodes in a bounding chorus. As expected, I adore the bright synth textures that color much of the instrumental. Despite being obsessed with a retro aesthetic, 2022 K-pop rarely enlists this specific synth tone. That’s a shame, because it bolsters 10 Min with a breezy appeal that’s perfect for long, sunny days.

Better yet, 10 Min‘s hooks are sharp and sticky. Winner don’t mug for the camera the way they do during I Love U. Instead, they let the song do the talking. My only complaint comes during the second verse. I can’t believe K-pop is still falling back on this tempo-shifting breakdown schtick. It’s especially problematic within a track as urgent as 10 Min because it destroys momentum. Fortunately, the song kicks back into gear before that energy can be completely demolished.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


4 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Winner – 10 Min

  1. That brief trap breakdown actually cracked me up at first because it was so typical of where K-pop is right now, like the producers saying “ok we can’t let this song be TOO fun and dance-worthy, we gotta stick something in here to remind everyone there is RAPPING going on!!!”

    Besides that this is really great, YG can stay in their retro synth era for a while if iKON and Winner keep delivering the goods like they have.

    I must also say that 10 Min pairs well with 10 Seconds by AOA for catchy, time measurement-related throwback summer bops!


  2. Not WINNER related but when talking about summer’s songs I can’t help but think about ONF’s “Popping”.
    This video dropped today showing some of the process behind it and I thought I’d share since I know many of us who read the blog love the song. Praying for more of these summer songs when they come back 🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

    • ahh I love this. Monotree used to upload their production videos but the english subs were usually very very far off, so it’s great to see/hear with very nice subs. Hwang Hyun has always been so generous with sharing his process, he is no man behind the curtain. he’s the coolest!
      I’ve been thinking that U must miss his members, but at least they can hang out together hahaha.


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