Say what you want about IVE, but there’s no denying that the girls always deliver. Continuing their monstrous run, the rising K-POP superstars released ‘I AM’, the title track from their latest album ‘I’ve IVE’. The 11-track project also contains the pre-release song ‘Kitsch’.
‘I AM’ is a rousing and inspirational song that talks about finding one’s path and the confidence they hold as they venture into the unknown. Yujin, Wonyoung, Gaeul, Rei, Liz, and Leeseo showcase their colors in a manner unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. With more than a year together, it’s clear that the group has a knack for the energetic and the upbeat. But to their credit, they always manage to show us something totally different that does not simply ride on the success of their previous releases.
Be sure to check out the music video for ‘I AM’ where not only are we treated to a refreshing and energizing track, but also IVE’s stunning visuals and the runway-esque walk they’ve definitely perfected.
Lyrically. ‘I AM’ is all about embarking on a journey towards a destination you are uncertain of, all while keeping faith that everything will work out in the end. One can say that it is synonymous with IVE’s own story thus far. Only in their first year as a group, they’ve managed to achieve a meteoric rise to success, finding popularity with their songs ‘ELEVEN’, ‘LOVE DIVE’, and ‘After LIKE’. Moreover, they also bagged the Best New Female Artist, Best Dance Performance, and Song of the Year honors at the MAMA award show. They’re in uncharted waters and yet they’re eager to continue venturing forth—there’s no stopping them. ‘I AM’ was written by 김이나 (Kim Eana), Ryan S. Jhun, Audun Agnar, Eline Noelia, and Kristin Marie.
Open another door, no need to follow me
You’re on your way, I’m on my way
Feels like the color changes every day
Find the path that shines brightly
Vocally. IVE goes all-out with a powerful vocal performance that emphasizes impactful high notes that were sung with clear intention. I’m not talking about softly delivered falsettos, but verses that were belted by stretching their individual singing capabilities to their absolute limit. The instrumental takes the backseat as they squash any doubts about their talent as a K-POP group. There are two moments in the track that I would like to cast the spotlight on:
Yujin digs deep to consistently and powerfully hit every note in the song’s chorus where it is at its highest both in register and in energy.
Life is a beautiful galaxy
Be a writer, the genre being fantasy
A big, big stage will open for me tomorrow
So that is who I am
Contrasting it, Wonyoung takes center stage on the bridge, soulfully yet softly serenading the listener as the track slows down and gears up for one final run.
If you get lost on a dark night
Just fly high, then wherever you go will be the way
Musically. A vocal-centric track, the instrumental for ‘I AM’ mainly features hard-hitting drums, a fast-paced bass that goes along the lines of a 16th note tempo, and the occasional synth stabs. This allows room for the vocalists to take the spotlight, all while still driving the energy of the track forward.
Despite the emphasis on an uplifting and energizing atmosphere, the song is not afraid of slowing it down and building back up. The pre-chorus is a perfect example where the instrumental is all but removed, save for a very light pad and an airy pluck. It shows contrast against the verse and briefly slows everything down in preparation for the chorus—the vocal here serves as the tool through which the song’s energy is driven back up.
You are someone’s dreams come true
A déjà vu of some perfect day
A strange view of somewhere I want to stay
I’ll be far away
Even the rap verse on it works very well. Gaeul delivers a couple of well-suited lines that do not seem out of place (unlike most K-POP songs) and takes advantage of the track’s instrumentation. Personally, however, I would have preferred if the song treated this portion as the post-chorus rather than as the second verse. Having this section repeated for a second time and extending its runtime would have made sense as the song slowly transitions from the chorus to the next verse.
Look at me, look at me, look at me now
A thrilling, different me from yesterday
Everything I’m afraid of excites me now
I’m in sky high, oh, my God
All in all, ‘I AM’ is rousing and inspirational not only in concept but through masterfully executing both its vocal performance and instrumentation. It is a wonderful comeback that shows a side of the group that we’ve only yet to see.
Images courtesy of Starship Entertainment
Lyrics taken from Genius