On April 9, Korean boy band WINNER dropped their third full album Remember. The group is now set to begin their first hiatus after almost six years, temporarily ending the glamorous but turbulent era of WINNER.
With an emotional mix of tender R&B, quirky pop, and sappy ballads, this release thematically centers on memories and sends a final message to fans: “Goodbye, for now.”
WINNER made its official Korean debut on Aug. 17, 2014, through a competitive survival program called “WIN: Who Is Next,” produced by YG Entertainment. Thriving amid a controversial debut and drama with the departure of group member Taehyun, WINNER earned their success with their characteristically playful, infectious music style under the patronage of K-pop mogul Yang Hyun-suk.
The record, more like a memoir, consists of 12 tracks. It contains eight new songs, such as the pre-released singles “Hold,” “Remember,” “My Bad,” as well as re-recorded versions of the band’s memorable signature tracks — “Different,” “Empty,” “Don’t Flirt,” and “Color Ring.”
This time, however, WINNER departs from their usual funky and energetic styles and caters entirely to fans’ fondness to the group.
The title track “Remember,” featuring a cinematic setup where they look back on their journey as a group, narrates the group’s earnest wish to stay in the memory of their fans — Inner Circles.
YG Leisure indicates that the album is a present from WINNER to Inner Circles, reflecting on the beautiful moments and laying out the inspiration for their brand new comeback in the future.
The song starts with a downcast piano melody, signifying the pain of leaving (referring to their impending hiatus). Vocal extraordinaire Seungyoon then takes the reins of the surging melody, oozing with charm, and eventually shines over the sophisticated beat.
“I’ve loved and also been hurt/For you, if those memories last as a warm feeling I’d ask for no more/Feet don’t fail me/Not even going to look back/Even if I run away like a coward, Please don’t forget me/Remember that there was someone next to you …” Following the sing-talk structure, this nostalgic verse paced with a delicate guitar sound sends their last gift — precious past memories — specifically to their avid fans, the Inner Circles.
With most of the group scheduled to enlist in the South Korean military in the coming months, the album harnesses this sense of melancholy, making its release a bittersweet moment for Inner Circles.
On a more lively note, “Hold” provides a respite from the melancholic mood with an infectious chorus and catchy melodies, temporarily dragging listeners out of the sorrow of separation. The song reminds Inner Circles to look forward to the promising future — that this is definitely not a “goodbye forever,” but instead a short separation.
“I want WINNER to be able to continue to put up good music and accumulate good memories with fans even after [the members] return from the military,” WINNER’s leader Seunghoon said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.