As much as I complain about tropical house’s takeover of K-pop, there are a few acts who get a pass. KARD is one of them. Variations of the tropical sound have been their thing since pre-debut, so their continued reliance on the style doesn’t feel as patronizing as other groups. With that said, they’ve already accumulated five singles’ worth of tropical beats. Is there really room for more?
Ride On The Wind looks to extend their summery streak. Like last year’s Hola Hola, it incorporates EDM elements that give it a dancefloor-ready, uptempo drive. The song opens with a heavily-autotuned J.Seph breaking from his usual hip-hop to croon a melodic verse. From here, the other members gradually join as Wind builds to its breezy hook. The pre-chorus is the song’s strongest asset, layering their voices to create a refreshingly airy texture that relaxes even as it sparks energy. The plucked guitar of the instrumental acts as a strong counterpoint, adding percussion without feeling overly aggressive.
Unfortunately Ride On The Wind’s chorus relies on a generic instrumental drop that is easily the least memorable refrain of any KARD single. And rather than build on the pre-chorus with an expansive melody, Wind simply retreads a slight variation of the same hook we’ve already heard. It’s a strangely low-energy moment for a KARD summer song, and doesn’t work nearly as well as Hola Hola’s similar structure did. At just under three minutes, the song comes to an abrupt ending, leaving unfulfilled expectations in its wake. It’s a shame, because the interplay of the members’ voices sounds fantastic throughout. Wind just needed a little more meat on its bones to stand out within the group’s increasingly uniform discography.