[#30] WINNER - "Empty"

From: "2014 S/S"
Released: August
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: First Appearance
Other notable song(s) from 2014: "Color Ring", ""

YG's first boy band debut since Big Bang obviously made a big impact on K-Pop this year -- and the anticipation/expectations were even higher because two former talent show contestants are in the line-up. While I don't personally like the whole debut package -- the album isn't as consistent or cohesive as I'd like it to be and their image is going to take some time to get used to -- I can't deny that they have had a few good songs to start off their repertoire.

I admit that I wasn't very convinced of "Empty" as WINNER's lead single because I initially preferred "Color Ring" -- but seeing both songs performed over the course of the year made me change my mind. "Color Ring" may have struck me more with a more graceful melody, but "Empty" translates better on stage and even as a song has more depth. "Color Ring" lost its appeal with me after a few listens, whereas "Empty" was an uphill climb. I said something similar when WINNER debuted at #1 on the Gaon chart earlier this year and while I was trying to prove a different point, I still think the same way about the song:
...the structure is much more pronounced, the juxtapositions of dynamics, etc. much more striking, the hook a lot catchier. "Empty" is also the better-produced between the two -- richer instrumentation, tighter arrangement. It's really much more of a single than "Color Ring," and my preferences really are a matter of personal taste. And this #1 for WINNER is a combination of very good marketing...and a genuinely single-material, easy-to-promote track.
What intrigues me more than anything about "Empty" is that at first listen it didn't seem like a very YG-esque track. Even until recently I thought the "slow burn"-type isn't really YG's thing, until I realized that Big Bang's "Blue" remains one of my favorite slow burns to this day. Will "Empty" follow in the footsteps of "Blue"? Ask me in a few years.


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