Just as their name implies, The Wind debuts at a time when the air is getting warmer in Korea.  The country is transitioning from spring to summer, and depending on someone’s preference, the shift can be both refreshing and welcoming. Following a series of impactful comebacks from fourth-generation girl groups and moody concepts from boy groups, The Wind breathes fresh air into the K-Pop scene with their innocent image and bright melodies with their debut album, Beginning: The Wind Page.

Upon listening to their album and watching the group’s concept films, one wouldn’t help but feel nostalgic that the group’s image and sound remind so much of GFriend. The Wind takes a leaf out of the girl group’s early days of “powerful innocence”—“Glass Bead,” “Me Gustas Tu,” and “Rough”—but with some restraint. The Wind’s songs lack memorable hooks and a certain stickiness, making the album only good than great.

Nevertheless, good is better than bad. “Sirius” opens with a whimsical keyboard melody with a narration by one of the members: “Well, now it’s beginning. Sometimes it’s hard and exhausting, but I’ll go with you.” The instrumental steps back in the verses and then creates the necessary build-up for a full-blown heart-thumping chorus. The song is captivating at first listen, with Shin Jaewon, Kim Heesoo, Thanatorn, and An Chanwon showing off their clear voices during the chorus. While the English title is listed as “Sirius,” the actual translation goes “Give You the Light,” and now the music just makes more sense—they intend to be that light in the darkness.

Following the light-heartedness (pun intended) of “Sirius” is the group’s title track, “Island.” Taking inspiration from Peter Pan, The Wind invites listeners to go on an adventure and fly to an island “where everything we imagined would come true.” Yet while Peter Pan (not the Disney version) is frowned upon for being self-centered and hating adults, The Wind assures its listeners that whatever the journey, we are in this together. Instead of escapism, the boys provide encouragement.

With our ardent belief and high courage,

We can meet any challenge together

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams

Look me in my eyes the exposed top secret

Ready set go

The Wind’s message of encouragement follows with “Do It” (“You Can Do It” for more a literal translation). Here, the boys shift to a more cheer-sing style, with the group repeatedly saying, “We the one! We the one! You and I can do it!” It’s the perfect pick-me-up-when-tired kind of song. For a group whose average age is around 17 years old, “Do It” borrows elements from old-school hip-hop and 90s pop, making it an enjoyable listen.

The Wind saves the best for last with a youthful ballad, “With US.” There are no big vocal moments, unlike the previous tracks in the album. Instead, “With US” highlights the group’s harmonization, especially in the chorus. More so, there is barely any rap except for Park Hayuchan’s line, “My dear, do you ever think of me?” “With US” is a fitting close for the group’s first mini-album as the group promises to meet their listeners again soon, much like Peter Pan’s desire to meet again Wendy in the fairytale.

It’s 2023, and it is interesting to hear this kind of music from a boy group—bright, bubbly, and buoyant. It seems to become a lost art, with many of the boy groups coming up with more mature, darker, and psychedelic concepts. It is unknown why there seems to be a lack of interest in this kind of music and concept compared to girl groups. The Wind proves the potential that basic doesn’t have to be boring. Beginning: The Wind Page is a good pop album, and The Wind obviously is one talented group. It is clear that the group has achieved its goal of bringing comfort and strength with its music. Their youthful optimism is infectious even after listening to the album.

If WithUs Entertainment (a subsidiary of Highlight’s AroundUs Entertainment) figures out the right formula in production, memorable hooks, and standout moments for this young group, then it wouldn’t be surprising that The Wind will soon be a force to reckon with. 

(YouTube. Lyrics via LyricsTranslate. Images via WithUs Entertainment.)