FT Island use intense production & impassioned vocals on successful “Wind”

As we’ve seen over the past few months, making it to a 10-year anniversary is no small feat when it comes to K-pop. FT Island join a select few that have outlasted the threat of disbandment and roster changes and failing agencies. For that alone, they deserve immense respect. Even more kudos should be given for marking this accomplishment with a sprawling full-length album. “Wind” is that album’s title track, and makes a strong case for the band’s continued relevance.

After last year’s thundering Take Me Now, it makes sense for the guys to pull things back to a sentimental ballad. Frontman Lee Hongki’s voice has always been one of K-pop’s best treasures when it comes to these dramatic rock opera type moments. “Wind” starts slow, stripping things to piano and vocal up until the second verse. As percussion and strings join the mix, the song evolves into a cinematic piece of music that feels quite epic at times. It climaxes with a tour-de-force middle eight. The last ninety seconds unleash a symphonic theatricality, amping every element for a grand finale that feels like all the fireworks going off at once.

The song’s melody is rather simplistic, allowing it to gain strength with each repetition. I’m sure this structure was intentional, but without the intense production and impassioned vocal delivery powering this hook, I’m not sure how well the song would hold up. A more interesting chorus might have set things over the edge. When it comes down to it, “Wind” feels like a spotlight on the band and Hongki’s inimitable voice more than anything else. And for a tenth anniversary release, that’s just fine.

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