The group, Vixx, is known more for their trap and EDM-style songs. However, as a solo artist, Ravi stands out by leaning more into hip-hop tracks. Joining him on his latest single, “Winner,” is the rapper, Ash Island.
If you have never heard of Ash Island, he appeared on Mnet’s “High School Rapper,” and officially debuted in 2019. Ravi’s and Ash Island’s rapping styles are so similar that they create a seamless transition between the two in this song. While Ash Island does not appear in the MV, Ravi is joined by Kang Hyewon (formerly of Iz One) who plays his romantic partner. The MV does a decent job of showing Ravi’s distress as he continuously tries to avoid his partner.
The shaky camera work and Ravi’s own expressions give the audience the sense that his persona is disorientated. There are a few scenes suggesting Ravi’s persona may not be all there including one where he standing on a bar with a glass of wine.
Ravi is also shown bumping into walls and through a distorted camera lens indicating he may be drunk or dizzy. Without the song’s context it, at times, seems like a horror concept. His persona runs and hides in various locations seemingly from the female lead. Like a ghost, Kang Hyewon appears in various scenes with a deadpan expression. While she does not seem mad, Ravi’s persona is actively trying to avoid interacting with her. The MV’s concept brings to life the song’s lyrics about avoiding confrontation.
The voice of the song talks about giving in because he is trying to avoid a fight with someone. With a title like “Winner,” it may seem like it would be about someone who is successful in life. However, the song is actually about a semi-toxic relationship. The voice of the song is sick of fighting and letting their partner “win” just to avoid any discussions. At times the voice of the song sounds condescending by depicting the discussion as a competition that can be won. Ultimately, the MV’s takes the theme of the lyrics and interpret it with Ravi literally running from his problems.
In addition to avoiding confrontation, the symbol of masks runs through the plot of the MV. In various instances, Ravi is shown wearing an odd mask covered in feathers and sparkles. The mask completely blocks out his facial features and essentially his emotions. We see the mask motif again on the painting of “Mono Lisa” covering her smile. This is significant because that painting is known for its sly smile, and covering that is hiding the painting’s emotions.
In relation to the lyrics, the masks point again to the voice of the song who is holding back their true feelings in order to give in to their partner’s demands. Although the song is called “winner” there seem to be no real winners because the voice is simply lying about their emotions:
I’ll let you win it all
It’s all my mistake, you are winner
I don’t put it out, love, I’ll win
Babe, it’s all my mistake, you are winner
I don’t fight for you, love, I’ll win
While the lighting and setting have an overall dark tone, there are still a few bright scenes in the MV. Ravi is shown going through an amusement park with lots of lights showing merry-go-rounds and other rides. Additionally, his dance routine initially takes place in that amusement park. For the final routine, the background is a vibrant mix of yellows and oranges. The bright colors let Ravi and the dancers stand out as they are dressed in mostly neutrals. As the story is more significant, there is not too much emphasis on the dance in general.
Overall, this is another great selection for Ravi’s recent album. While the song’s genre is similar to that of “Virus” Ravi does show us a completely different MV concept. His music’s style may not be everyone’s cup of tea because it is more hip-hop-heavy than what he does with Vixx. However, it is always nice to see artists express themselves differently on their solo projects instead of regurgitating the same kind of music.