You know, I didn’t really have a whole lot of interest in WINNER when they first debuted. I don’t really know why, they just never grabbed my heart the way other groups did. Well, okay, that’s not entirely true… Kang Seung Yoon managed to steal my heart long before WINNER made their official debut but the group as a whole just didn’t resonate with my soul the way other groups do. Until now.
This week WINNER made an impressive comeback with EXIT: E, a five-track EP so full of emotion it makes my heart want to explode every time I give a track a listen. You wanna know what’s really great about this album? What’s really great is, it doesn’t matter which track I’m listening to, every single one of them makes me feel like my heart’s either going to break or pound its way out of my chest. Yeah… I just love that, don’t you?
Needless to say, I’m sold on WINNER and yes, I’ve been listening to EXIT:E non-stop since I gave it that first go. I really can’t help myself. There’s just something about these songs that draws me in and I just have to listen to this whole album over and over again.
I love the eff-off attitude of “Immature” mostly because there are days when I really wish I could say the exact same thing, sometimes to specific people and sometimes to life in general. The emotional turmoil in “Pricked” kills me, as does the combination of Minho and Taehyun’s voices (Holy flip, those two can sing!) while Taehyun’s solo, “I’m Young” rips my heart out of my chest and stomps it into oblivion. (Oh my gosh boy! Can you please just stop with the singing and the heart crushing already!?! My heart can’t take you and your perfect hair and your even more perfect voice and your dumb, heart-breaking video! It’s way too much to deal with all at once!)
Continuing with the themes of heart-break and loneliness, we’ve got “Baby Baby” and “Sentimental” which, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed (or know), are all about the loneliness that one feels when you’ve got one around to love. Where “Sentimental” talks about the lingering feelings that come after love has gone, “Baby Baby” is all about trying to escape the sting of loneliness with anything and anyone willing, even if only for the night.
While the lyrics to each song pack quite an emotional punch, the music adds something special to each track, making the entire album totally worth your time. “Sentimental” has a peppy, almost Beach Boys-ish vibe to it which is an interesting juxtaposition to the lyrics but it works so well! (Of course my childhood obsession with the Beach Boys might be coming into play here but whatever.) As every good eff-off song should be, “Immature” has a strong rock feel to it that reminds me very much of Seungyoon’s solo work. “I’m Young” is everything a heart-breaking ballad should be; it’s emotional and beautiful and it makes me want to cry every time it plays. “Pricked” is another slower track that’s so hauntingly beautiful it makes my heart feel like it’s going to explode. There’s just something about Minho’s voice when he sings… It’s beautiful and it pairs so well with Taehyun’s softer, sweeter tones. It could easily be my favorite track on the album… If not for “Baby Baby.”
Out of all the track on this album, “Baby Baby” is the one that does it for me. This track is so smooth, so emotional, so perfect. The touch of funk underlying this soulful R&B ballad works so well for this track and the vocals… Oh gosh! The vocals make me swoon so hard I can’t stay upright anytime this song plays. I’m convinced this track was created for the sole purpose of killing fans the world over. It’s that frickin’ amazing.
For one who didn’t give a flip about WINNER when they first debuted, I’ve definitely had a change of heart. This single EP has won me over. I’ll definitely be going back to their debut album to give it another go and I am most definitely looking forward to their future work. I highly recommend checking out this album, if you haven’t already. Just watch out! Your bias list could be in serious danger if you hang around these boys too long. You’ve been warned!