A K-pop act’s full-length album means more than just setting out another promotional cycle, especially if it’s packed with 12 self-created tracks.

Winner, a prominent boyband under YG Entertainment, was confident that their second album EVERYD4Y was a result of their continuous efforts to reinvent and hone themselves.

“For the last few years since our debut, there was no single time we have stopped to become better Winner. I can confidently say that we’ve never received a comment ‘Winner’s been doing the same music all along’ from people except for those who hate us. Such assessment makes us stronger,” said Seunghoon during an interview.

Winner comprises Seunghoon, Jinwoo, Mino and Seungyoon. Their self-made album, led by the song Everyday, marks their first release in eight months, as well as a new recording after four years following their debut with 2014 S/S.

In the fast-paced world of K-pop, returning with a fully packed album wouldn’t have been easy if it were not for YG Entertainment CEO Yang Hyun-suk’s support, said Winner.

Winner

Originally a five-piece act, Winner settled into a four-piece boyband after Nam Tae-hyun exited in Nov 2016. Photo: Filepic

After working all-night for seven days to record their new music, the band asked Yang to confirm the results. What they heard from Yang, known for being stingy with compliments, was the best comment ever.

“He said our new songs were interesting to the ears, and suggested we make a full-length album. It was a totally unexpected gift. We’ve never received such a positive comment from Yang,” Mino said.

Composed by Seungyoon and Mino, the album’s opening tune Everyday is a seasonally apropos bright trap-centred track that uses a breezy dancehall sound. The song, featuring mid-tempo rhythmic beat, is reminiscent of Winner’s previous hit, Island.

The album includes Air, produced by Seungyoon; Hello, a hip hop track composed by Mino; Turn Off The Light, Mino’s solo track that offers a more mature sound; We Were, a bluesy rock ballad created by Seungyoon; and Special Night, where Seunghoon took part in producing for the first time.

And while four may is an unlucky number to some Asians, Winner explained that they chose April 4 as the date for their new music because it was the exact date when the act’s breakout hit, Really Really, was released.

Winner said fans would recognise the musical changes between tracks, as some of the songs were made few years ago. “I think our music became trendier than four years ago. Back then, we tried to showcase something new that didn’t ride on trends, but now we are focusing on a sound that young people can enjoy as well,” Seungyoon said.

The originally five-piece group debuted in 2014, but went through a lineup transition as member Nam Tae-hyun left the group in November 2016.

After a hiatus of over a year, Winner gained momentum again as one of K-pop’s most promising acts by releasing top-charting hits such as Really Really and Fool and offering a softer style than its label mates such as Big Bang and iKon.

Mino shared that he lost about 10kg in the process of comeback due to the hectic schedule. Seunghoon said the members spend a lot of time talking about music and discussing their musical direction offstage.

“I want people to assess our album itself, rather than our appearances. I know it may be hard for some people to go through all 12 tracks, but I would appreciate if they could listen to each of them, as no child is more precious than any other,” Mino said. – The Korea Herald/Asia News Network