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New YG group successful after delayed first album

The name of YG Entertainment’s new boy group, Winner, has two distinct meanings: one being the name of the group itself and the other being the title the members won after claiming victory in the TV program, WIN: WHO IS NEXT. On the show, two YG Entertainment trainee groups, Team A, now Winner, and Team B competed to determine which group would debut under the name Winner as the first YG Entertainment boy group to debut in eight years since Big Bang.

The victor was originally supposed to debut 100 days after the final episode of WIN, but fans were left waiting an additional 160 days until YG Entertainment announced the debut of Winner on Aug. 12. Between the two dates, MNET organized another 10-episode program, WINNER TV, in order to document the major events that occurred during Winner members’ transition from trainees to artists.

“[The members of Winner] were exposed to the public from a very early stage in their careers,” said Sarah Kim (10), Winner fan. “Although this has now become typical, the way in which they were [initially] exposed differentiates them from many other similar artists in their pre-debut stage because they both had to go through series of competitions. The painstaking efforts of the members during the battles portray their level of dedication in both producing and performing.”

Every member of Winner participated in writing and composing tracks in the album before its release. After showing fans the production process of their album, which included many video and photo teasers, Winner shot to the top of Korean music charts immediately with the release of their first album, “2014 S/S.” One of the two title songs of the album, “Empty,” produced and written by two members of Team B, B.I and Bobby, topped the charts in every music downloading site, such as Melon, Genie, Bugs and Naver Music. In addition, they won first place on M! Countdown, Music Bank and Inkigayo all within a week of their debut.

“Winner stands out because their first album is comprised of music from all genres,” said Lauryn Kim (10). “The songs are also unique because people can relate to them on an emotional level, not only with the melodies but also with the lyrics. Although Team A, now Winner, had some problems with teamwork on WIN, I think the group managed to overcome problems by blending every member’s style into their songs. The variety of genres in the album reflects on the members’ individualistic music styles.”

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