WINNER’s ‘Really Really’ song & music video review

winner really really song review music video meaning

Having only debuted four years ago, WINNER has still faced quite a bit of adversity throughout their careers, and their Inner Circle (their fanbase) has been with them through it all. From battling out on the competition show WIN: Who Is Next to their multiple prolonged hiatuses, to vocalist Taehyun leaving the group, the road to achieving their dreams has been a bumpy one. Finally, they are back with two music videos for their new releases “Really Really” and “Fool.” While “Fool” is closer to what fans are used to seeing from WINNER, “Really Really” diverges greatly from their usual style, making it the perfect song to dive into.


“Really Really” is perhaps one of WINNER’s most upbeat and lighthearted songs they’ve released and it shows the audience a side to them that we haven’t gotten to see before. Compared to prior releases such as “Empty” and “Color Ring,” this song is a lot more carefree, and it’s nice to see the band take a step away from the ballads for a little bit. The party vibe of the pulsing electronic beats makes this the perfect song to listen to as summer becomes visible in the distance. This is the type of music that could be heard on radio stations here in the United States, something that YG Entertainment has always strived for but haven’t been able to reach thus far. It’s a fresh and modern pop song that instantly shows listeners the new leaf the group has turned over.

winner really really mv music video gif

Via Tumblr

However, we must address the elephant in the room: Nam Taehyun’s departure from the group is bittersweet. His absence is definitely noticeable, as if there’s something off about the song because it’s missing his amazing vocals. This, however, has given vocalist Jinwoo an opportunity to show off how truly talented he is, receiving more lines than ever before. Leader Seungyoon’s strong, unique tone shined as brightly as usual, and it was nice to hear it in such an upbeat and modern song. Rappers Mino and Seunghoon’s verses fit the song very well. I particularly liked Seunghoon’s verses, which were both charismatic and sweet. Combined, they created a cohesive blend of their abilities and talents. Taehyun’s departure, if anything, allowed the other members to grow as vocalists in order to make the missing vocals less evident.

Also on KultScene: Moon Hyuna’s ‘Cricket Song’ song & music video review

Music Video

The first thing that stands out about this video is that it’s shot all in black and white. This isn’t very often done in Kpop, which is known for its explosion of color and over the top nature on all fronts.But this is WINNER we’re talking about and “Really Really” has the artsy feeling their singles normally have. Due to the song’s Caribbean sound it could’ve just been the average run-of-the-mill choreography-based music video, so it’s quite different they went a different route with it.. In fact, the choreography is also what sets it apart from WINNER’s previous releases. We haven’t really gotten a chance before now to see the group in a way that shows that not only are they talented singers and rappers, but dancers as well.

winner really really music video mv gif

via cheonjaes @ Tumblr

winner really really mv music video song gif

via cheonjaes @ Tumblr

Seungyoon and Seunghoon were particularly charming in their dance moves, and it was clear that all of them were having a lot of fun. The choreography focus of this video gives it an energetic, flash mob vibe, and each member was able to hold his own with the professional dancers. It’s worth noting, that Dave Meyers, director of Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and CL’s “Lifted,” was also the creative mind behind this video. WINNER’s growth as a group is the most clear with this video and allows them to show a fresh, new side of themselves.

Also on KultScene: Weekly K-pop faves: April 3-9


It’s so refreshing to see WINNER in this new light. “Really Really” gives life to the group, which is definitely what needed to be accomplished with this comeback. After everything WINNER has been through, they deserve the success that they are sure to get with this release. It’ll be interesting to see what else they have in store for us, hopefully more fun, summer-ready tracks like this. And also, hopefully we won’t have to wait another year, in true WINNER fashion, for more amazing music.

WINNER 'Really Really'

What do you think of WINNER’s new song? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Music Video Director Ian Gallagher on Working with Neon Bunny for Free, Co-Directing WINNER, and Dreamlike Images [INTERVIEW]

Ian Gallagher

Music videos are a huge part of what entices international fans to K-pop thanks to their accessibility online. The work of music video director Ian Gallagher is not exactly the dancing in box or love stories that are so typical to the genre. His work with the queen of South Korea’s electro-indie scene, Neon Bunny is some of the best in the country and shows an entirely more abstract image than the average K-pop music videos (or MVs as they’re commonly known).

In celebration of Neon Bunny’s return with her new album, “Stay Gold,” and his latest work on her video for “Room 314,” we caught up with Gallagher for an interview about his creative process. The director sheds light on his inspirations, his ongoing collaboration with Neon Bunny, working with YG boy group WINNER, and his work in film.

I’d like to start by asking how you got into film and music video directing?

I had two main interests in high-school, writing fiction and playing music. Playing in bands naturally led me to create images for the band, mostly cover designs and stickers, which led to an interest in visual arts. It was hard for me to stick to one thing though. I loved all the different mediums and how they related to each other, the differences and similarities. I wrote a lot of short stories and attempted a novel, while continuing to play music and study a bit of graphic design in college. It took awhile, but I came to the slow realization that films utilized all these different elements to create something else. I think this was like 7 or 8 years ago. I began writing screenplays and bought a cheap DSLR and went from there.

Were there any films or videos you had seen that made you want to do work in cinema?

The greatest push was watching Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Stalker.” It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. The film has a simple elegance to it, in story and in cinematography, yet it delves into some deep questions about being human. After watching the film I knew that that was what I wanted to do. To make something like that.

How did you end up working in Korea? Any advice for other foreigners who might want to do the same?

I’m a rare case actually. I’m half-Korean, half-American, and pretty much grew up in Korea speaking both Korean and English. [I] went to a Korean elementary school, but then went to an international school for high-school. So the culture of Korea is not foreign to me. I’m not exactly an expat, yet I’m not Korean. I’ve always been sort of in the middle of two cultures. My advice to foreigners is come on over, learn the language, be nice and have a great time. It’s a great place to work; a lot of interesting things are happening in art. I think Korea is just now breaking into a post-modern era, and it’s really amazing witnessing the change.

What’s it like to make films there compared to anywhere else you might have worked?

Koreans have the most intense work ethic I’ve ever seen. I love working with a Korean crew.

What is your process for directing a music video?

I have to love the song. I need to really feel something from the music. It’s a pretty simple process though. Once I have a song, I just listen to it non-stop and try to figure out a visual mood for it. Looking back on my videos, I think I’m more focused on capturing a certain overall tone than individual images. Especially for music videos, I try to mimic the process of writing music and go with what feels right at the time instead of anything too intellectual.

Your collaboration with Neon Bunny started in 2011 with “Together With Me.” How did it come about?

I think her first album had just come out and she already had another video. I heard “Together with Me” and loved it. So I e-mailed Neon Bunny saying I’d make her a video for free with no budget, and sent her the idea. I don’t know what she thought about me, but for some reason she accepted and it turned out to be great fun. I was still learning all the technical aspects of filmmaking and it shows in the video, but it was a blast to do.

Also on KultScene: Seoul-Based Punk Band …Whatever That Means Talks Music & Multiculturalism [INTERVIEW]

What made you continue that collaboration with Neon Bunny?

She’s a truly great musician. Her songwriting abilities are just amazing. It’s no easy task to create pop music which also has depth, it’s one of the hardest things to do in music, but Neon Bunny seems to do it so effortlessly. So I’m pretty much honored to be allowed to create videos for these songs. A music video is only as good as the music. Also, Neon Bunny produces her own music on her own label, so it’s really great to be able to make decisions without having a committee to water down the ideas.

How has your relationship grown over the years?

We’re good friends now. I think we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and that helps when we are trying to create something together.

What is your process for making a music video with her compared to with others?

Much more laid back. There’s definitely a trust that’s developed over the years. Shooting videos is usually a tedious and difficult process, a lot of stress, never enough money or time, but with Neon Bunny it feels like we’re actually having fun. For the video for “It’s You” we just travelled around various places in Seoul and shot whatever we felt like. There was an overall structure but instead of extensive storyboarding, planning, and having a big crew, we let it go loose and it was a lot of fun. It would be hard to propose shooting a video like that to another artist.

Your work with Neon Bunny, from the soft focus of “Together With Me” all the way up to the crystalline views in your latest work “Room314,” has almost always had an impressionistic quality to it. Is this a particular style you like and what draws you to it over a straightforward narrative?

I’ve never really been a fan of narrative music videos. Of course there are great videos that use narrative devices, but I like to be closer to the abstract nature of music. To me, it’s about feelings and moods, and a kaleidoscope of emotions. The nature of dreams also take up a large portion of my work. I love hazy ill-defined things, and it ends up in the videos. I’m not trying to create any kind of deliberate style though, I think it just happens because I try not to intellectualize the work and make decisions based more on instinct. Anything I do will inevitably have my stamp on it because it’s come through the filter of my brain, so I try not to think of any personal kind of style. The whole process is a discovery really, seeing what happens, how certain elements give unexpected results. This happens throughout the entire making of the video, from the first idea, to shooting, and especially in the editing.

Do you think it works especially well with music videos?

Yes. For films I take a completely different approach. Narrative films are about the story and characters, but with music videos it is a good opportunity for me to explore the more abstract and impressionistic aspects of filmmaking. The works of Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, and Chris Marker have also been a great revelation and influence on my own stuff. In my mind it’s like the relationship between prose and poetry, and playing with the gray area between the two forms.

I also noticed a certain digital edge to a lot of your work. The affected colours of “Romance in Seoul” comes to mind, is that a conscious effort to replicate Neon Bunny’s electronic music?

I like to play with the imagery of more mainstream K-pop videos, and the idea came out of re-appropriating the super saturated color schemes of many of those music videos. Like a twisted version of a dance video, but still poppy and colorful to look at. The electronic aspect of the music definitely pushed the visuals in that direction. The basic idea behind “Romance in Seoul” was a fever dream recorded digitally and played back with glitches and errors. The dancers were amazing to shoot. All the dancing in the video was improvised on the spot.

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What was it like working with WINNER? At the time they were a potentially huge debuting group and you have the task of creating a video from an instrumental song of theirs, not exactly standard idol fare. Is your approach to a song like that different to something more straightforward?

Actually, the song was written and performed by Min Woo Kang, a really great electronic musician, specifically for the teaser video. There’s a bit of a misconception that it is a WINNER song. The co-director, Kim Zi Yong, and I decided we wanted to try something different with the music. Usually for teasers a song from the band is used, or a song is licensed. I think because WINNER was still in production on their album, maybe in the mixing process, it wasn’t possible to use one of their songs, so we decided to hire a musician to basically score the teaser. It was the first time we worked like that and I am really proud of how that came out. The song was written as the editing of the video was taking place, so the editing changed with the song, and the song changed to the edit if we needed anything at a certain part.

Working with WINNER was great. They are a great group of guys, really nice and very passionate about their work. I was pleasantly surprised to see how professional they were even though it was one of their first videos. In fact everyone over at YG was great, with more of a collaborative atmosphere than the other companies.

“The Visitor” is also another example of your impressionistic work, what sort of story did you try to tell with it, if any?

The story aspect came from co-director Kim Zi Yong. The basic premise is the end of a night of partying, with each member being in a different situation. My involvement may have added a little bit of that impressionistic aspect to it, but when collaborating like that it becomes hard to tell what element came from who. Those are the best collaborations too.

How was it working with Kim Zi Yong?

It was probably the most fun I’ve had. It’s great being able to bounce around ideas like a tennis ball, adding a bit here, changing some there, always coming up with something else that you couldn’t have thought up alone. We were good friends before working on the video so it just became an extension of that. Playing around with ideas and seeing where that leads. The editing was also collaborative, with each of us taking a pass at it over and over again, riffing on what the other one did. He’s a really great director and I’m always excited to see what he’ll come up with next.

I watched the trailer for you new short film “망” (“MAHNG”) and am very intrigued. Can you tell me a little bit more about that? Where can we eventually see it?

“MAHNG” is a period piece, and though it’s not based on anything specific, I wanted to take aspects of Korean folk tales and try to spin a new story out of that structure. The basic storyline is of a young woman who has lost her husband, and she drags his body across the land to a shamanistic shrine, and prays for the spirits to bring her husband back to life. At night, a spirit comes to hear her speak, but things don’t work out the way she wanted. We’re still in the process of sending it out to film festivals, but after that run we plan to put it up online for free.

Do you have a preference for making films or music videos?

Though related, the two are vastly different in execution so it’s hard to say which I prefer. Each medium offers something different in creative satisfaction. I’d like to eventually make feature films, but it’ll be a long and slow process getting there, especially since the films I want to make won’t fit perfectly in the mainstream. Music videos offer a great outlet for me, but I plan on doing more diverse work. More short films, more videos that aren’t exactly music videos but something else. The goal is to keep plugging at it and always having fun.

What are you working on at the moment?

We just finished a video for Neon Bunny for the song “Room314.” We’re probably going to do another track off the album but it’s still in the preliminary stages. Working on screenplays during the down time.

Thanks so much for the interview. Is there anything you would like add or ask in return?

Thank you for the interview. I think it’s great that you guys are covering some Neon Bunny related news. More people need to hear the music. Buy the albums. Support the artists that you love so they can make way cooler shit.

What do you think of Ian’s work? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

YG Entertainment and Authenticity in K-Pop

The idea of authenticity in pop music is always a contentious one. In the west, every effort is made to make sure the pop star is seen to be the real deal. While in Asia, the idol system is a transparent one in which the fans know young girls and boys train for years to debut and are almost completely controlled by their company. YG Entertainment pride themselves on their more authentic than usual idols and roots in hip-hop. From the acquisition of rap royalty Epik High to the home grown writer producer G-Dragon to the real rappers of iKon, YG has continually put its faith in authentic talent. YG still deal in pop music though, and Yang Hyun Suk and producers like Teddy and Kush are well known as big parts of the music in the company.

Money making and authenticity tend to not go together well, but all pop music is made to make money. So can there be authentic pop music and is YG it? Is their style true or a clever marketing trick? I want to examine YG’s output of 2014 to try and get at some answers. I won’t necessarily be looking at the specific quality of the songs, although it can’t be avoided, but mostly how they were marketed compared to how authentic or interesting they turned out to be.

There is no doubt as to YG’s hip-hop roots being fairly legitimate. YG has come a long way since then however, and are now the second biggest music label in South Korea. In order to get to where they are now though, they have sacrificed some of their ideals in order to get ahead. The idea of authenticity has changed within the company as it becomes more focused on idol groups. The illusion of authenticity has proven to be more effective than putting the work into originality, and 2014 was the year it all came together.

Also on KultScene: YG Entertainment Wants You To Know It’s Different

Last year, YG debuted two new groups, AKMU and WINNER, and created a new one to debut later this year, iKON. Without even getting into the details of the groups, we can see a difference between them and YG’s roots. A lot of them come from talent shows; this immediately raises alarms about the authenticity of these groups. That’s not to say everyone who auditions at talent shows is inauthentic, but it is hard to find true artists through them. There are many talented singers, dancers, and rappers, but how many are the brand of supposed authentic that YG claims it wants?

Akdong Musician were one of these, and were a huge sensation after K-Pop Star. Their music appealed to the Korean market but brought with it an interesting undercurrent thanks to Lee Chanhyuk’s compositions and the vocal dynamic between him and Lee Suhyun. After winning the show, they had the choice themselves to choose between the big three companies. They chose YG explaining that they felt they could express themselves the best there. YG’s image was working for them before even signing Akdong to their label. I have no doubt about the talents of AKMU and they had the right idea by singing with YG, but I wonder if Akdong still feel the same today.

YG has taken the soul of what Akdong Musician are and diluted it with the “YG style.” This is a disservice not only to Chanhyuk and Suhyun but to fans who came to love Akdong’s original sound and image. Their debut single 200% was a generic soft hip-hop pop song which did nothing to showcase the possible talents of Akdong. They even made them dance for the live shows which looked awkward for all involved. They even changed their name to AKMU. It’s not all bad for Akdong though, as their other big song of the year, Melted, is an incredible social critique with a stripped back piano accompaniment, and one of the best music videos of the year.

While Akdong Musician were taken from outside of YG’s doors, WINNER were created in a reality show made by the company. WIN: Who is Next? followed two different boy groups made of YG trainees as they fought to debut as the first YG boy group since BIGBANG. They were Team A and Team B, with Team A eventually winning, being christened as WINNER and given a debut.

Pop music is a business, and in business, major companies do not take risks on letting the public have a say in their next move. So when a show like this runs, I can’t help but be sceptical. YG ultimately would have total control over what was shown and it would be naive to think that they wouldn’t have made edits in accordance with their own plans. Favour was more than likely thrown in Team A’s direction to keep in line with these. The fact that Bobby from Team B, or iKon now, couldn’t make the top team even though he is the hottest property on the K-pop market right now shows there was a plan for each group prior to shooting the show. Considering that YG had the ultimate say in who won confirms this to be nothing more than a vanity project attempting to showcase their authenticity.

I realise these are completely unfounded claims, but I can’t help but feel that show was completely manipulative. Putting these aside, I want to look at WINNER’s highly anticipated debut. The promo for it was one of the best ever seen in not only K-pop but all pop in recent years. It featured micro films with each member, short documentaries about their feelings leading up to their debut and even an incredibly produced instrumental track over interesting visuals. Everything was done in a consistently stylish and artful manner. Expectation was high for something truly interesting.

… Then they released a ballad.

Ballads are the safest, most mainstream and dull kind of song in all of K-pop. Ballads from drama soundtracks consistently top the charts and have been doing so more and more recently. So when WINNER, after the amazing build up, released Empty, I was severely disappointed. That’s not to say it’s necessarily a bad song, just a completely safe one considering the teasers and YG’s talk of WINNER being more than just a Korean group. So of course Empty went on to be a huge success making WINNER the fastest boy group to win a music program award and winning more awards at the MAMAs and Melon. As soon as YG saw the success they doubled down by releasing a solo song from WINNER’s rapper Mino, I’m Him which sounded like a rejected G-Dragon album cut.

Also on KultScene: Let’s Discuss: WINNER As A New Type Of Idol

I want to save any criticism or praise for iKon for when they properly debut. I will say however that Bobby seems to be trying to make a legitimate career for himself, but doesn’t see that he is now an idol because of this. Trying to distance himself from other idols won’t help him at all as it will only make him seem like a try-hard boy group member.

All of 2014’s releases stem from an apparent move from YG to become a more global company. Even Epik High have lost the personal touch that made their earlier music so good. With CL making her way over to America and PSY already achieving huge crossover success, YG can obviously see themselves as the biggest K-Pop players –in the U.S. at least.

In order to continue attacking the western market though, they are losing any sense of true authenticity in place of a corporate illusion of reality. They put the main focus of their groups on their supposed legitimate rappers to give a sense of originality to them. Yet when music is released, it is generic and uninteresting. YG has essentially tricked their fans into believing everything they do is true artistry, that everything they release comes 100 percent from the members themselves. In the pop music world, this is impossible. This is the true quality of YG, making corporate look authentic.

What do you think of YG’s authenticity? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

YG Entertainment Wants You to Know It’s Different

SM Entertainment is polished. JYP Entertainment is relaxed. YG Entertainment is different. Or, at least, that’s what several songs from YG  have been telling fans of the Korean entertainment agency.

WINNER’s Different and Hi Suhyun’s I’m Different were both released in 2014, when the Korean entertainment industry has been reeling from multiple scandals relating to YG and SM (JYP has been relatively untouched in 2014). The songs, or at least their titles, appear to be an anthem for YG.

The company has not made headlines for the normal abuses of the Korean entertainment industry. While SM has struggled with contract disputes, YG artists have not sued the company. Instead, they’ve been involved in drug scandals. Drugs are taboo in South Korea, but rather than completely destroying the company’s image (Korean netizens do heavily criticize for this,) it instead sets YG apart from other Korean entertainment agencies.

I’m different
I’m special
Don’t compare me

— Hi Suhyun’s ‘I’m Different’

It makes YG seem a bit more dangerous, a bit more foreign, a bit more different. Everything that it does as of late, is different. It has become a trendsetter that has surpassed SM Entertainment, the longtime leader of the industry, in many ways.

If SM is the old, stalwart company of the Korean entertainment industry–with idol groups that were sure to do well, actors that were very clean cut, singers who were talented but not exactly unique as they promoted dance songs and ballads, all who are in fashion but perhaps not the people who are pushing fashion to its limit– YG Entertainment is the new company that’s different in all of those regards; the antithesis of the old, typical K-Pop model.

YG Entertainment from the start was different– hip-hop reigned ever since the company’s first acts. Jinusean and 1TYM, were hip-hop acts with R&B influences. BIGBANG and 2NE1, the company’s next popular acts, took this hip-hop style and applied it to a more typical, idol model- dance songs, ballads, but infused with hip-hop. As both groups became more and more popular, their styles have become very distinct in an industry where it is hard to stand out. Epik High and Psy, two imports to YG from other companies, also brought the type of music that is atypical in K-Pop.

Also on KultScene: Did SM Entertainment Treat Kris & EXO-M Unfairly?

With the newest crop of YG Entertainment artists (AKMU, WINNER, iKON, Lee Hi) YG Entertainment diversified, going into new types of music that are popular in Korea, but not typical idol music. AKMU’s folksy, WINNER is artistic, iKON is supposed to be hip-hop (so YG’s origins), and Lee Hi sings jazz-influenced songs.

Add to that that YG Entertainment produces most of its music in house and you have a very different, unique entertainment agency in Korea, where most company’s outsource.

But it’s not their music alone that has led YG Entertainment’s artists to stand out– it’s their fashion, their attitudes, their personalities. At a certain point, an attitude of being better, being different, a sort of swag even, became the very thing that made YG known as YG Family. The company is freer with its artists, allowing them more chances to be artistically involved in what music they produce and how they live their lives.

Different is good, and YG’s done a great job promoting its artists as something different from the norm in K-Pop. But it’s also dangerous– Park Bom of 2NE1 was involved in a drug smuggling scandal because medicine she was prescribed in the United States is illegal in Korea; G-Dragon of BIGBANG has been involved in several minor drug rumors; iKON came off too strongly at a BIGBANG concert in Japan even though YG Entertainment’s confidence is usually a key selling point of its new groups.

I’m just different
I’m just different
Don’t expect kindness
I’m Angel and Demon
Misunderstanding can be harmful

— Winner’s ‘Different’

Many Korean entertainers come under fire during different points of the career, sometimes for big things and sometimes for silly little things. YG Entertainment’s artists have faced all sort of problems, but they also, as of late, have gained a reputation as troublemakers.

The term iljin, or “bully” has been connected to several of YG Entertainment’s younger artists; whether the new crew actually bullied people in high school or not, the phrase has been tossed around enough that it’s stuck, likely because of the company’s hip-hop background. Netizens in Korea freely discuss the iljin trainees that YG Entertainment will promote in upcoming years. That, along with the “druggie” label that Park Bom and G-Dragon have gained from their scandals, has seriously hurt the company’s image.

Also on KultScene: Let’s Discuss: YG’s Luck With Damage Control

But despite the image issue, YG Entertainment’s never done better. The company has continuously produced hit after hit. Even the differences that are seen as being negative (i.e., such dramatic, illicit scandals), aren’t able to counteract the fact that the music from YG Entertainment is great.

Both WINNER and Hi Suhyun sing about being different in a relationship. Even though the lyrics don’t apply full heartedly to the brand, YG Entertainment has proved in 2014 that it’s different and those differences are what will get the company ahead of the game.

yg family gif

via rebloggy

Do you think YG Entertainment is different? Would you like to see profiles like this about other Korean entertainment companies? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Let’s Discuss: WINNER As A New Type Of Idol

It may be a bit of a stretch, but YG Entertainment’s latest group WINNER may be introducing a new era to the K-Pop idol genre. But this isn’t the first group to have done that, and it won’t be the last.

The K-Pop genre as a whole is split into segments, generally based on the current trend for male idols. The concept defined by each era is not definite, and there are, of course, exceptions to the rules. These are general, widely-accepted viewpoints of what defines different periods in K-Pop male idol groups.

[Disclaimer: Please note that I am loosely using the term “generation,” due to the fact that these differences have happened over time. However, there is, of course, overlap.]

Original male idol groups (Seo Taeji and Boys aside) H.O.T, g.o.d, SHINHWA, etc. all had similar concepts; they had masculine charm. Idol groups from the second generation, like Super Junior, TVXQ, SS501, and BIGBANG, had pretty, flower-boy concepts; sometimes they pull out more masculine concepts, but fashion is always important for male idols ever since the second generation.

The third generation began with 2PM, who redefined manliness to mean “beastly,” for the lack of a better word. BEAST and MBLAQ are two other male idol groups that followed this trend.

The fourth generation of idols is defined by androgynous-ness and youthfulness, with groups like SHINee, INFINITE, and Teen Top having members who can easily pass for girls. This conceptual era is a bit different from the earlier flower boys, who still were more “handsome boyfriend” material; the newer groups are fashionable and pretty for the sake of being fashionable and pretty.

The fifth type includes groups like B.A.P and Block B, who debuted with powerful images, most similar to the original idol groups, but perhaps without the lack of theatrics and a more powerful message.

It would seem that all the different concepts have gone through their period, and we will see the cycle repeat, but there is always something new under the sun, and WINNER has proven just that.

[Disclaimer: I did not watch even a single episode of Who Is Next: WIN. I expected, as I believe many people did, that YG Entertainment would promote the group as the next generation of BIGBANG. I was very wrong.]

WINNER debuted with two songs, Color Ring and Empty. Idols in general, especially ones from YG, debut with songs that are more suited to a club than to a rainy day. Even idol groups like JJCC, who debuted with more ballad-sounding songs, have some sort of dance beat to the song; a complete debut without any dance songs is very rare.

The songs are not unique among the K-Pop genre; there’s no reason idol groups can’t produce rap/r&B/pop medleys. BIGBANG’s songs like Blue and Bad Boy are part of this genre. But to debut with a video like this seems like a statement done on purpose in order to differentiate WINNER from the rest of the debuting groups. And it did just that, but so much more.

Concepts overlap, but when one iconic idol group does something different from previous idol groups, it sets trends. WINNER, a high profile group from YG Entertainment ,is in the perfect position to do that; to start a new trend of debuting idol groups that focus more on melodies of song and a sentimental image. Sentimental, of course, is the key word.

Stylistically aside, WINNER also dresses a lot more like an average Korean in Empty and Color Ring than most idol groups do. There’s no real synchronization, no overly fashionable outfits. In fact, in comparison to YG’s top boy band, BIGBANG, this is as far as YG could get.

So, why? BIGBANG is immensely popular, and on Who Is Next, the group’s seemed to create typical YG Entertainment dance songs (I listened to the two team’s final songs to make sure I knew what I’d expect from WINNER).

Why would YG Entertainment debut something so stylistically new, and, essentially, simple? Not that the songs are simple musically; but they are a lot less flashy than songs coming out of SM Entertainment and JYP nowadays.

Because simplicity is now favored in South Korea; the most popular songs in Korea recently are by another seemingly incongruous YG Entertainment act, AKMU. The simplicity of AKMU’s songs is very similar to WINNER’s debut sound.

But while AKMU is recognized to be an artist, WINNER is most definitely an idol group. Idol groups have been consistently topped on Korean music charts by indie artists like Roy Kim, Busker Busker, etc. As Korean music tastes turn more towards indie and alternative sounds than to traditional K-Pop, the trend of K-Pop will be to produce more artistic songs.

There is no doubt that WINNER is a complete idol group; YG Entertainment trained the members, produced them to perfection. WINNER’s songs debuted at the top of the charts, partially due to the group and YG’s popularity, but also because the sound is more reflective of popular taste than other recent K-Pop debuts.

It’s expected that WINNER comes out with a dance song in a more typical K-Pop group style in the future; idol groups tend to do really well with catchy songs. But while many groups focus on international markets nowadays, WINNER is the type of idol group that South Korea needs, and YG Entertainment has read the signs. More idol companies will follow the trend that YG sets.

What do you think? Is WINNER’s debut style going to set a trend? Be sure to share it and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblr,
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K-Pop Release Cheat Sheet 08/10/14-08/16/13

In case you may have missed some of the latest released songs and music videos, KPOPme has you covered. Here’s a look at all of the K-Pop releases from the second week of August.

This week was filled with high profile releases, including the two debut MVs from YG Entertainment‘s new group WINNER, and SM Entertainment’s new solo release from SHINee‘s Taemin. Girl group SECRET also made a comeback, and the Peppertones released several music videos that you can’t help but loving.

[Music Video]

Taemin – Danger

WINNER – Empty

WINNER- Color Ring

SECRET – I’m In Love

ESNA – I Love You

Peppertones – New Chance

Ian Thomas & Tiny-G – Love X 4 Remix

Hong Junghee – Scenery

Tae & E.SANG – How Much Will Come

EVE –Mystery Love

Peppertones –Youth

Peppertones –I Don’t Know

Peppertones –Good Morning Sandwichman

Mayson The Soul- 6 to 9 feat. Loco

Jace – My Serenade

The Vinylhouse – Just Dream


Park Ga Eul – Help Earth

Bobby – Go

Vasco- Guerilla’s Way

Wheesung – For You (It’s Okay, That’s Love OST)

What was your favorite song released this week? Be sure to share your thoughts and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.


YG’s highly anticipated boy band WINNER is finally debuting. Although the group has already a large fan base around the world, there might be a few folks that may not know anything about the members.

WINNER consists of five members: Kang Seung Yoon, Kim Jinwoo, Lee Seung Hoon, Song Minho, and Nam Tae Hyun. They opened for BIGBANG in their Japan tour and starred in various CF prior to their debut. They successfully concluded their ten episode run of WINNER TV , where we all got to meet them without the stress of competing, went on to open senior label mates 2NE1 on their All Or Nothing tour, and appeared on Taeyang’s Ringa Linga video as backup dancers.

WINNER members

The group has already released various photos and teaser videos that demonstrate how their image has changed from their trainee days. They have matured their cool boys style into fashionista men. The launching show will be on August 8, 2014, followed by the online-release on August 12, 2014, and offline-release on the 14th.

[WINNER’s 1st Teaser, The Visitor]

[WINNER’S Debut Album Teaser]

The Name:

They were formerly Team A in the show WIN: Who Is Next? where they competed against Team B. They won the show and got crowned as WINNER, which became the name of their group.

The Members:


The leader Kang Seung Yoon might seem familiar: he was a former contestant of Superstar K2 and appeared on High Kick 3. He debuted as a solo artist on YG Entertainment with three successful singles: Wild & Young, It Rains, and Stealer. He was born in 1994.

Kang Seung Yoon

Kim Jin Woo is the oldest member of WINNER. He is the main vocal of the band and started training in YG since 2010. Throughout the run of WIN: Who Is Next?, he showed that he was a hard worker. He worries a lot about his members, and, as their hyung, he takes good care of them. He was born in 1991.
Kim Jin Woo

Lee Seung Hoon is one of the rappers and main dancer of the band. He was a former KPOP Star 1 contestant when Yang Hyun-suk saw his potential and signed him as a trainee for YG Entertainment.  He was born in 1992.
Lee Seung Hoon

Song Minho started as an underground rapper, who then went to train as an intended member for BLOCK B and later on dropped the project. He debuted as a rapper on the group B.o.M, but the band disbanded after not having popularity. His rapping skills were recognized by his seniors, T.O.P. and Tablo. He got recruited for YG in 2013. He was born in 1993.
Song Minho

Nam Tae Hyun is the maknae of WINNER. His droopy eyebrows gave him recognition throughout WIN: Who Is Next? He is one of the vocals of the band and one of the most popular members. Beside having a beautiful voice, he helps the members with producing and composing the songs. He was born in 1994.
Nam Tae Hyun

Everything seems to point out to the right direction for WINNER. They will have a very successful debut as the newest boy band from YG, since BIGBANG. They debut has been highly expected by many and the time has come for WINNER to show what they have.

What do you think of WINNER? Do you think they’ll have a successful debut? Don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.