written by: McRoth
Artist and Album: Ailee – ‘A’s Doll House’
Genre: Dance Pop, R&B
Release Date: July 12, 2013
Ailee – a power rookie in her own right, if she’s considered one at all at this point – has made it very clear that she’s a force to be reckoned with in K-Pop, even when the tunes she’s singing aren’t always intriguing. it’s been a battle Ailee’s had to face as of late: applying her talent on original material and making sure the balance between quality and uniqueness is correct. Ailee’s 2012 EP ‘Invitation’ limited itself to an unremarkable tracklist and failed to strike a balance in fleshing out her potential correctly. But now that she’s taken time to perfect her craft and lasso in new points of views, is something a little more compelling occurring in her 2013 comeback EP, ‘A’s Doll House’?
Yes and no.
On the one hand, Ailee’s vocal prowess continues to carry her beyond the lackluster. On the bombastic (and overly self-indulgent) lead single, “U & I,” Ailee pierces through the brassy instrumental with ferocity and rivals the showmanship of Western diva Beyoncé: a powerhouse the K-Pop crooner has repeatedly mentioned is her personal idol, resulting in an explosive retro experience likened to “Crazy In Love”. Though it lacks an emotional edge, an edge missing in most of her personal repertoire, Ailee sings like she still has something to prove. It’s an admirable driving force, one that flings the hearty “열애설” into the forefront of this EP as well.
However, Ailee’s delivery, as technically perfect as it is, isn’t always enough to save the day. Campy tunes like “No No No” and stale compositions like “Rainy Day” and “이런 법이 어딨어” suffer from the very ingredient Ailee neglects to add to her music: an emotional vulnerability.
A friend once said: “music is half heard and half felt.” While I can hear Ailee’s exceptional talent through ‘A’s Doll House,’ I don’t feel attached here. The marriage works when Ailee’s focus is to bring the house down. “U & I” proves this well. But where there’s room to grow is in her emotional involvement in the music. Although the idea of pulling out one’s heart and showcasing it in the exact same light is an intimidating challenge, I know Ailee has the wherewithal to do it and do it well. It’s just about getting into the right head space to make it happen.
|U & I||
|No No No||
|이런 법이 어딨어||
0 – could do without
0.5 – mediocre/filler
0.75 – pretty good/grew on me
1 – liked immediately
|I’ll Be Ok||
Points to stars conversion: [(3.5/6) x 5] + 0.25*
*there is a 0.25 bonus for every album. The logic is that, if every song were “pretty good”, it’s a 4-star album.