Back in 2016, it felt like Ladies’ Code were on the cusp of a resurgence, rising from tragedy with a newly matured sound. But then 2017 passed with no new music from the girls, and in the ever-fickle world of K-pop, a year might as well be a lifetime. It’s refreshing, then, to hear the group’s leader Ashley tackle solo material. If only her debut single “Here We Are” wasn’t so crushingly generic.
There’s not much to be said about tropical house that hasn’t been repeated a hundred times before. The genre has held an iron grip on K-pop for two years now, so prevalent that it’s practically become synonymous with the industry. It takes one hell of a song to make this exhausted sound worth it, and “Here We Are” doesn’t try to do anything new with the genre. Instead, its familiar melody coasts to the finish line, leaving very little to remember in its wake.
As far as instrumental drop choruses go, “Here We Are”’s isn’t terrible. Its bright synth is well-suited to summer, and the little vocal melody we get plays nicely with the structure. Ashley sounds polished throughout, giving a confident performance that helps to maintain interest across the song’s climbing verses. But as solid as “Here We Are” may be, I can’t justify giving it a high praise. This feels like a track dug up from a producer’s bargain bin, designed years ago for a style that’s rapidly going out of season. Quite frankly, Ashley deserved more daring material.