A lot has changed for WINNER since 2016’s Exit : E EP. Following Nam Taehyun’s departure from the group in November, the single album Fate Number For emphasizes the act’s new beginning as a foursome.
Released on Tuesday (April 4), the relaxed house track “Really Really” and the reflective “Fool” mark the first new music WINNER has put out since last February — a lifetime in the fast-paced K-pop industry. The piano melodies and building harmonies of “Fool” recall the sentimentality of the group’s incredibly popular debut album 2014 S/S, while “Really Really” turns WINNER away from the pop-rock sound they’ve most recently pursued with its propulsive dance beat.
The two singles retain WINNER’s emotive styling, alleviating concerns that the absence of lead vocalist Nam would diminish the group’s musicality. YG Entertainment announced the singer’s departure last November in the same press release that revealed 2NE1’s breakup, stating that Nam’s ongoing battle with mental health issues was affecting WINNER’s career.
To compensate for the loss of the frontman, vocalists Kim Jinwoo and Kang Seungyoon took lead roles in the pair of songs while rappers Song Mino and Lee Seunghoon showed off their mellow singing tones on “Fool.”
Kang, Song and Lee co-wrote “Really Really” with frequent WINNER collaborator Uk Jin Kang while Kang, who has previously pursued a solo career as a singer-songwriter, also co-write “Fool” with YG Entertainment producer Airplay. Fate Number For also contains instrumental versions of both songs.
The rollicking black-and-white music video for “Really Really” was directed by Dave Meyers, the man behind Kendrick Lamar’s imagery-filled “Humble” video. Meyers previously worked with YG Entertainment labelmate CL on her “Lifted” music video last year.
Meanwhile, “Fool” took a much darker, literal interpretation of the song’s lyrics, offering an antithesis to the feel-good times featured in the “Really Really” video. Singing forlornly about the mistakes they made in a relationship (“I know it’s all my fault/ Baby I was a fool”), the video shows WINNER in a variety of eerie settings, including a church pulpit and appearing to kill the object of their affection.
Immediately upon their release, the two songs topped Korean music charts, setting the foursome up for continued success with their new lineup. In the past, they appeared on both the World Albums and Heatseekers charts, proving to be one of K-pop’s most promising up-and-coming acts.
Watch the dramatic music video for “Fool” here: