Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
Last month I introduced Blackpink, the Korean girlband primed to take on 2NE1’s K-pop crown, and now it’s time to meet their male equivalent. In addition to the new girl group, YG Entertainment are also promoting a new boyband to take the reins from their hugely successful act, Big Bang. Most British pop fans won’t know Big Bang, but they have a massive UK fanbase – they even sold out two dates at Wembley Arena in 2012 (and the tickets weren’t cheap!). New foursome Winner were formed on a reality show called WIN: Who Is Next in 2013, and have since had a no.1 album in Korea, which also reached no.2 in Japan. Last week they released a new “single album” (or double a-side, to us 90s kids) featuring summery tunes Island and Love Me Love Me, the latter particular in synch with Western pop trends. My favourite of their tracks is Really Really, from their previous single album, which is their most popular YouTube video and has sold over 1 million copies since its release in April this year. Their style is sweeter than the boyband EXO from rival K-pop label SM Town, but they still have character and individuality within the band, always important for a K-pop group as it makes them more relatable and marketable.