When talking about K-pop’s summer music, KARD’s name doesn’t come up nearly enough. Their early tropical sound still feels welcome today. Much of that is due to the songs themselves being strong, regardless of genre or trends. After 2018’s Ride On The Wind, the group moved on to heavier styles and the music became less memorable. Ring The Alarm is their first full group work since 2020, returning them to the sound they made their name on.
There’s an instant comfort in the familiarity of Wind‘s rhythmic structure. KARD’s diverse set of vocal tones work especially well in this setting and the song is a total head-nodder. I would have preferred a more resounding thump in the beat, but Ring The Alarm does a nice job delivering an arrangement just diverse enough to make its simple groove continually interesting. The track really heats up during the last few seconds – a common approach for K-pop composers. I wonder why they always choose to save the best bits for the very end? Climaxes are important, but let’s sprinkle the goodies throughout the entire track.
While Ring The Alarm is pleasant, it never brings the melodic weight that characterized KARD’s early material. In this way, the song plays more like a tribute than a new era. The chorus has a sly hook that takes some time to fully appeal itself, but the rest of the song could do with more compelling melodies. The quadruple punch of Oh NaNa, Don’t Recall, Rumor and Hola Hola remains their strongest run.