Though they won’t get nearly as much coverage today as NMIXX, girl group Maka Maka have also made a return with their new track I Am (아이엠). The two songs couldn’t be more different. While NMIXX’s Dice attempts to create new industry trends with its structural diversity, I Am leans comfortably in a more timeless direction. The group has veteran production team e.one on their side, guaranteeing a sturdy melody and satisfying arrangement.
I Am isn’t much of a highlight on its own, nor is it trying to be. Instead, it’s a super-solid example of a sound and format we’re all comfortable with. The song is light, bright and hummable. It’s performed with enthusiasm and anchored by a chorus that hits the spot each time it comes around. That may sound like faint praise, but there’s a place for this kind of straightforward idol pop – especially when it has become an outlier within the industry’s trend-happy landscape.
I appreciate the fullness of I Am’s instrumental. The brass-heavy mix is ebullient and explosive, making even the second-verse breakdown feel integral to the rest of the song. The arrangement feels like it could be played by a live band and this sense of freedom and spontaneity greatly benefits the track. Maka Maka deliver a striking performance to match the energy, their vocals stacked and layered to create a robust sound. It reminds me of early Mamamoo, though I Am isn’t the kind of vocal showcase we used to hear from songs like You’re The Best or Yes I Am.