[Review] BORN TO LOVE YOU – Kang Seung Yoon (WINNER)

The final act to make their comeback yesterday was Kang Seung Yoon, who returned with the single BORN TO LOVE YOU. It is Kang Seung Yoon’s first single since his comeback last year in March with IYAH. So it has been a while since we have heard from Kang Seung Yoon. We also haven’t heard much from WINNER (the group in which Kang Seung Yoon leads). This is partly due Jinwoo and Seunghoon’s military enlistment. The good news is that the group is confirmed for a concert in April/May, and a full group reunion might mean that a comeback is on the cards. I also remember reading somewhere that the members are keen on making another comeback before Kang Seung Yoon and fellow member Mino needs to enlist in the military. But nothing is for sure until it is confirmed. For now, we will have settle for a solo comeback with Kang Seung Yoon for our WINNER fix.

BORN TO LOVE YOU is another ballad to add to Kang Seung Yoon’s portfolio. For me, I found this ballad to be rather typical, which is a major disappointing following the likes of IYAH, which I gave a 10/10 for. It is also a bit surprising, since I do find myself easily enjoy many ballads quite a bit. There isn’t much to really captivate with in BORN TO LOVE YOU, aside from the emotional heft and passion that drives the song. You can feel the pain that is going through the lyrics of the song and his voice, which is all about the emotions following a breakup. This undoubtedly allows Kang Seung Yoon to sound pretty good and adds a boost in terms of appeal for the song. I also like the power he puts behind his vocals, adding some more heft to the song. But that is only one part of a song. The melodies, particular in the chorus, were nice, but memorable as can be with a typical ballad. What also dulls BORN TO LOVE YOU is the instrumentation. I found the piano and guitar to be quite good, simply because they give ballads passion and drive, and I felt that they complimented the vocals well. But the trap elements or drums we get in BORN TO LOVE YOU are on the plainer side and felt too dominant (relative to the vocals/piano/guitar in the song). Maybe if the song kept to acoustics with the piano and guitar, the song would have been more enjoyable. But as it stands, BORN TO LOVE is just another ballad.

Kang Seung Yoon’s acting is pretty good in the video. And that would be expected, given that he is an actor as well. But what drew me to this video was how his emotions that he put behind his vocals are portrayed throughout the video. It is quite heartfelt and emotional to watch him struggle on the bridge, with or without rain. On top of that, the relationship shots we saw were very convincing (from the good memories to the bad ones). I also liked the idea of the rain in the apartment, which contributed to the water in the apartment. Not exactly sure what it is represents, but I am guessing sadness and tears.

Song – 7/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 7.8/10

[Review] IYAH – Kang Seung Yoon (WINNER)

Also making this comeback this Monday is Kang Seung Yoon, the leader of male group WINNER. It has been eight years since we last heard solo work from Kang Seung Yoon, with his last title track being released in 2013, a year prior to his debut with his group WINNER. Back then, he released Wild and Young as a single. If I remember correctly and as per YG Entertainment tradition, his solo release has been in the works for a number of years. But after a very long wait, Kang Seung Yoon has returned with the single IYAH and his first studio album, Page.

If we cast our mind back to Wild and Young, Kang Seung Yoon’s major solo release was a rock release. When news of his solo comeback was announced this year, I had expected something along the same lines as Wild and Young. But interestingly, IYAH is a ballad. Some of that rock sound is still present in the song through the use of the band instrumentation that forms IYAH‘s backbone. What was unsuspecting was the incorporation of orchestral instrumentation towards the end of the song. It just crept into the song without me knowing and delivered a really an amazing and powerful instrumental peak in this song. Complimenting the musical choices in the instrumental is Kang Seung Yoon’s vocals, which blew me away. He sings about growing up and maturing as he gets older, and you can hear that in his voice. To be honest, the start of the song felt very plain. But as it progressed and he built upon his vocals to compliment the building momentum in the instrumentation, he really sounds top notch. The best sequence has to be the bridge, as that classical instrumental comes through. Like the instrumentation, his vocals soar at the end of this sequence into that stunning high note. The use of the choir backing in the start of the final chorus and as the backing of his vocals right after also really tops the emotions that he portrayed in the song. His vocal melodies also tick the swaying box that I have on my list of criteria for ballads. Overall, while IYAH was not the expected release I had in mind for Kang Seung Yoon, it managed to surpass and be even better than what I had in mind.

The music video for IYAH shows us the life story of Kang Seung Yoon from a young age to now. We see him enjoy music from that young age to pursuing it in high school (where I believe we see him score that life-changing opportunity to participate on SuperStar K). We then see the pressure that he experienced leading up to his debut with Winner. The black and white sleeveless shirt and hat were his debut outfit. And we see him in the present performing on stage with his fellow members. Mino made a cameo appearance here, which made the present appear more clearer. From what I understand, fans and other viewers find this life journey and song very relatable. And I think that is the best compliment to pay this release. What I also liked about this life experience journey that is shown in the video is that it isn’t in chronological order. Instead, the different scenes and life stage are edited together in a jumbled manner. However, the scenes all interlink and the transitions all flow into one another.

Song – 10/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating 10/10

Colour Ring – Winner

 

This is the second review for Winner this week (and probably this is the last review for the band for this promotion round. Let’s hope they don’t come out with another 6 music videos, like Big Bang or 2NE1. I need a break). My last review was of their official title track, Empty. Now it is their other song. Colour Ring!!! Hopefully, this review is a lot better than yesterday. One thing is for sure, these boys should have debuted ages ago. Like no kidding. Doesn’t YG have plans for like 3 other debuts and also a comeback from 2NE1, Epik High, Psy and Big Bang. Kind of cramped up for the end of the year don’t you think? Hopefully, YG does not over do it and undermine their power. Also another thing, what is YG’s new approach. I like ballads and RnB but where is the good hip hop stuff that we liked. But enough that, on with the review!!!

I honestly think this song is much better than Empty. Though the start sound really bad (runs away from all the fans). Mainly because I absolutely have no tolerance to rappers singing. They sound so bad when they try to sing. I understand sometimes bands do so to fit in a line for the rapper, particularly in the ballad, just something that I don’t want to hear. The rapping in this song sounds really good and loads better. Also, the chorus has a bit more of a rhythm to it and feels like it can become pretty catchy. The vocals are pretty soft and it actually fits the song. No hard vocals that ruin the tempo of the song, which is a pretty good thing. The ending when they kind of all come together and make that mess of a sound (and it is a pretty nice sounding mess to be honest) makes the song sound so much better. The instrumental sounds pretty good with the gradual addition of each instrument. The lyrics talks about what seems to be like the exact same thing as Empty did. Kind of creepy hey.

The music video this time contained only a little more colour compared to the last one, giving it a vintage look. The music video is okay, just nothing I would watch over and over again. The scenes of them seeing, were filmed with a really bad camera. The quality was good, but was it necessary to have the extreme close shots. Also, the product placement in this video is pretty bad. Is there like at least one scene when they are acting they are not holding a phone. I liked the transition of the sofa into the pool or bathtub. That looked pretty cool. I liked the setting of the whole music video. From that place that seemed like limbo and the city, everything looked cool. Also the ending. Gah… why do they try so hard to contact the girl and then give up. Umm maybe that everyone is calling her and your calls are not going through????

No extremely short shorts. That is a bonus right here.

8/10. So much better than compared to their title track. But here is my question I wish to put forward to you: which Winner song did you like out of the promotional singles? Empty or Colour Ring? Put your preferences down below.

Empty – WINNER

YG’s newest group has finally made their debut after making fans wait so freaking long. WINNER was a band that was formed on the reality TV show, W.I.N (Who Is Next?). The group consists of Kang Seung Yoon, who assumed the position of the leader and vocals. Members Jinwoo and Taehyun also are the vocalists in the band, which leaves Seung-Hoon and Mino to be the rappers of the band. Kang Seung Yoon is also a solo artist, making his debut under YG back in 2012 and is now a apart of the band. WINNER was also known as Team A. Team B, the group that did not win the W.I.N (which was a pity, because I really liked Climax), is still under YG and have been said to be gearing up for their debut. So that is a little background information of the band. It just has been so freaking long since we actually got something back from the band. But hey, at least they are here now…

And they are killing the charts with their new songs. Perfect all-kill as soon as it was released, the band has the potential to become one of the biggest “monster rookies” (ie. rookie bands who just debuted but managed to take first place on the weekly music shows). This song however to me really is not that great. I know, I probably gonna end up dead tonight, just I don’t really feel the song. The chorus is pretty good, but it lacked that “long-lasting impression” that rookies are meant to give out when they debut or gradually get popular. I am gonna say this, but the song sounds monotone. It really does not have that much impact to it. And let me tell you, some slow songs have left a big impact on you. It felt awkward when I listened to it, listening to  a bunch of guys sing a note higher than what their voices are actually are. Couldn’t they make use of their husky voices. However, I also feel that the guys have managed to pull the song together quite well and still managed to show off what they are known for (or what they will be known for, cause really, they only just debut and still have plenty of time to change around their image). The song also a pretty deep message, as the guys sing about how they yearn for their girl, just everyday is a reminder that they cannot be together.

The music video opens with the girl hanging up on the dude. The dude than starts singing (sorry, don’t know names). And then rest of the video is just about the guys sitting around and doing nothing, because they have nothing to do as they miss everything about the girl. I just love how they find anywhere to sit. I see the stairs and the train station, but the laundromat. I don’t see how anyone would want to sit there.
“Oh just doing my washing… Damn I miss her” -starts being depressed next to the washing machine-. “You are the only one for me, washing machine”. Well that escalated quickly. Me, forever making the next plot line in the next KPOP music video. I find it really odd how the whole music video just finishes off with all of them in the same room. But hey, not one to judge. (?) LOL. I like the darkness and “greyness” of the video. It really does sum up the song quite well.

As for the performance, I like shorts. And I also like Summer. Just this song feels so out-of-place with them wearing shorts and sleeveless shirts. I think I am only complaining about the shorts, because that dude standing (sorry, don’t know names yet) with the shorts on, why are your shorts so short???? I also don’t like their hair. It looks really geeky on them. But I really like the stairs. The stairs were a great addition in my point of view.

Though this is just the debut, and seeing how well they are charting and also seeing that they have a pretty big fan base which could rival some of the biggest bands, I think these guys have a lot of potential. Just this to me is really not the right song for a debut. 6/10. Come back on Friday, where I review their second music video, Colour Ring.

Wild And Young – Kang Seung Yoon

Source: http://upload.enewsworld.net/News/Contents/20130731/30001176.jpg

Kang Seung Yoon was formerly a contestant on a Korean talent show, where from which he signed with YG Entertainment, the home of Big Bang, Se7en, 2NE1 and the world phenomenon, Psy. He made his debut on the July 31st on the stage as a solo artist. It must also be noted: he did release “It’s Rain” as a pre released single, and despite not promoting the song in anyway, achieve an all kill on the charts. He is also a singer that is awaiting to debut under a group name later in the future. He released this song, on his debut date, achieving what I think shall be called as “minimal success”.

Yes, as mentioned above, this song technically failed. I did not perform greatly on the charts as his pre released single. Honestly, he has a good voice, but the song does not suit him. Ballads is what he has in the bag, but giving him a One Direction feel song really ruined the idea of a mellow and deep voice, like his. I found the boring quite boring. It lacked emotion. His ballad was pretty amazing, and his second song (I was planning to review it, but decided to cut it out due to a last minute decision), Stealer, sounded ten times better than this. However, despite not liking the song and finding it boring, it had a pretty nice instrumental and a catchy part. “Cause I’m wild and young“. However, the instrumental really conflicted the voice he has. His voice is quite husky, and YG is not using it to its full potential. Overall, boring song, with some good points, but really boring for me.

As for the music video, am I the only person who thought he looked like a penguin for most of the video? Seriously, anything with a white belly, looks suspiciously like a penguin to me, regardless if there is a beak or not. Again, the music video was quite boring. There are just scenes of him rocking out with friends, and some of himself as a loner. Cause you all know, that you are “wild and young” when you are by your self. No, okay. Not I really thought the music video was low budget. YG, I don’t think you are doing it right. You are basically throwing away a good voice. And those microphone cords? Oh geeez, wireless is the new wires my friend. Have not seen a wired microphone in so long, which goes to show that is not “young”.  That filter as well, disappointed. Not gave that 80’s or 90’s feel to it, which looked OLD.

As for the live performance, it is just him singing with a band. Simple, but fits the feel of the song really well.

2.5/10. Boring basically sums up the review and song. Sorry, if I made you fall asleep.