YG’s Winner came back this week with SOSO, the title of their third mini-album Cross.
The past few years have been one of musical reinvention for the quartet. Winner has leaned heavily into Kpop’s major tropical house trend, alongside a liberal amount of autotune and ubiquitous titular phrases scattered within the lyrics.
Unfortunately SOSO, written and composed by Winner’s leader Yoon, with additional lyrics by Mino and Hoony, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. In itself, the song is not bad, just a victim of something overdone.
It is laden and heavy with typical trends, that dates the song and makes it seem out of touch. The composition of the song is one we’ve before. An upbeat, layered and complex verse gives way to a disjointed, bare chorus with a completely different tempo. It sounds like two different songs that have been mashed together to form an incomplete whole.
Excitement at the truly good bits of the song (Mino’s rap, Hoony beginning the second verse, Jinu’s bridge) is lost in the dredges of a tired musical direction.
Where Winner does not fail in shining, however, is in the lyricism. Once again, the narrative tackles an angle about break-ups, relationships and, in general, being a flawed young adult that so many other groups tend to shy away from.
The visual concept of the MV is another aspect in which Winner isn’t afraid of being bold.
Mino showcases his lip piercing and rich red hair off in a delightfully gestural performance. Yoon dangles from metal cords, in a grapefruit orange jumpsuit, in a beautifully coloured and lit set.
The most surprising, however, has to be Hoony’s nude scenes. Alone on a raised platform, surrounded by mirrors, he contorts and stretches his long back, arms trying to reach every part of his skin.
It feels raw and almost too intimate which, in any case, achieves exactly what the song set out to do.