Though VIXX haven’t disbanded, the group’s status seems in limbo. Hongbin left the group last year, Ravi and N left the agency (but not the group), Ken is serving in the military and Jellyfish Entertainment seem more focused on getting VERIVERY off the ground. Leo returned from his enlistment two months ago, and seems eager to get back in the swing of things. The pointedly-titled I’m Still Here (남아있어) reminds listeners just how missed his voice has been.
As expected from a main vocal, the song is a midtempo ballad infused with tons of emotion. It actually has the air of a farewell track, though I don’t imagine that’s the case here. Soft piano is joined by trap-influenced percussion for the chorus, painting a somber atmosphere. Leo’s voice is front and center, and he delivers a reliably strong performance. He wasn’t always able to showcase this side of his artistry within VIXX, and it’s nice to hear him stretch his vocals over an uncluttered instrumental.
When it comes to ballads like these, I always look for a moment of catharsis. It’s not that I’m Still Here needs to build toward a striking crescendo to find success, but the track misses the opportunity to foster a more engaging sense of musical storytelling. I wish it didn’t just fizzle out at the end. It feels like there’s a chunk missing – a needed inflection point that would drive home the sentiment. As it stands, I’m Still Here is a quiet effort, comforting and familiar but unlikely to leave a long-lasting mark.