Much of today’s discussion around Boys Planet dissects this “signal song” to see which idols got roped into the Produce 101-esque survival series. Pentagon’s Hui is the name going around the internet. He seems much too established to participate in a show like this, but although platforms like Boys Planet are cruel and exploitative, they can pay dividends. Just ask Nu’est!
I wanted to write about this song because it hit me in a different way than I’d expected. These survival series never disappeared, but they’re less ubiquitous than they were during the peak of the Produce era. Since then, the sounds in K-pop have shifted. Subdued energy and shouty hooks have become particularly common in boy group material. Hearing the unrestrained bigness of Here I Am is an unexpected treat. Yes, the song is basically the nth version of Pick Me, but after several years away I kind of miss this silly bombast.
Given the many voices performing these signal songs, it’s hard for Here I Am to sound like anything but a shiny product. But, I’m nodding my head in spite of myself. When it comes to big dance beats, I’m an easy mark. I really enjoy the straightforward intensity of the production, especially when we blast into the song’s second verse. There’s no half-time breakdown to be found here. Instead, the beat digs in its heals and grows stronger. The same could be said about the completely over-the-top dance break during the bridge. Words like “restraint” and “subtlety” don’t exist in this universe. Strangely, this makes Here I Am the most fun I’ve had with a K-pop song all month. I can’t believe I’m writing that!