Ailee - "Invitation"

I'd like to think it's a widely accepted truth that Ailee has a beautiful voice, and that it has to be taken advantage of in the best way possible. Compared to other acts who need songs specifically suited to them, Ailee's far more versatile, but that doesn't mean she doesn't sound better doing certain things. This girl can sing everything, yes, but give her a song that actually matches her voice and she can move mountains with it.

Speaking in ballpark figures, half of this album is Ailee being her versatile self, and the other half is Ailee moving mountains.

When I heard the teaser last week, I was worried that "I Will Show You" would end up sounding like some cheap Eurotrash Whitney remix. I thank the K-Pop gods that I thought wrong. I'm not personally worshipping the song, but I get it, and I get why it's the lead single. As far as K-Pop is concerned, if someone can sing extremely well, that person needs to be given big ballads majority of the time -- this song is sort of a compromise. Ailee has a gorgeous voice, yes, but technically speaking she's between ballad singer status and idol status, and this song is right in between being a ballad and a dance track. It's extremely epic, and the explosion right before the chorus leads the song into a complete reversal, complete with choreography! I like how they kept the instrumental as low-key as possible until it was time to explode, and even then the arrangement made sure that Ailee's vocals stood out. And that drum line is gorgeously natural, just smoothed out a bit, but they sound like real drums!

I usually call songs like this "diva songs", because the vocals for this need to be pushing all the way -- this isn't a song for some throwaway member of some gigantic girl group (ahem, ahem), and only a few of the better girl group singers can actually pull something like this off, "I Will Show You" is a song for one girl, one girl with a huge, show-stopping voice. And that's exactly what Ailee is. Songs like these are very particular about the voice that sings them -- smooth is okay, but they have to really be big, deep and slightly more mature voices. For example, Taeyeon and Luna have gorgeous voices and can belt notes accurately, but they're very feminine and not deep enough for songs like this. People like Hyorin or CSJH's Lina, and obviously Ailee are better suited.

That said, I personally think the song is a bit too old for Ailee. She can sing it all right, and it's obvious that the song and her really click, but she's 23, and after listening to the rest of the album, this song sounds too mature for her. Obviously we don't want her to turn into another G.NA, nor do we want her to go the cute route like IU's dark age, but the rest of the album is pretty good evidence that she can be young and keep showing off her gorgeous voice. Even the other ballads sound younger than this.

"Into the Storm" is a gorgeous song, I love it, and like I said just now it's current and fits Ailee's age, but this is one of those songs that she just sings well and doesn't really move any mountains with. I love it as a song, and the vocal treatment is beautiful, but it doesn't show off Ailee's vocals as much as some of the other songs on the EP. The chorus is stunning -- it's simple but so effortlessly epic. And I guess that's the good thing about this song, the other songs may be better fits, but "Intro the Storm"'s simplicity translates to an effortless delivery. The belting is so natural, the arrangement goes with the flow so well that the song ends and you're clamoring for more.

If someone else got "Evening Sky", honestly I think it wouldn't be as effective as it is with Ailee doing it. It's actually a pretty generic song on it's own, very ordinary -- what gives this that extra strong kick is the delivery, because it really turns the entire song around. Ailee not only has the emotion to make this song interesting, but the technique to accurately translate those emotions into her vocals. She's not doing any screaming or straight-out emoting during the verses, but she gives the lines all these pretty curls. By the time she does start belting, that's also when the bare melody gets a bit boring, so it gets another kick. "Evening Sky" is generic, yes, but it's also unforgiving, but if the singer knows exactly what she's doing, as Ailee does, well, you get a pretty song.

"My Love" is probably my least favorite song on the EP, but it's still pretty good, and on-par with the rest of the album. It's a song that I think I need to see performed, because right now it's subdued but the only kick it gets is courtesy of the vocals, which aren't as powerful as they are on the other songs, and it's a bit too repetitive in the wrong places. This may potentially work with a live band or some choreography though. We'll see if this ever sees the light of a performance.

The one song that really took my breath away on this EP though was "Shut Up". It's fresh, it's young, it's current -- it's so, so effortless. If I thought "Into The Storm" was pretty effortless, "Shut Up" just pushes it even further. It's effortless, but it's also ridiculously brave. The intro is unassuming, but when Ailee's vocals just power through that stunningly powerful melody over that confident instrumental -- you know you're in for brilliance. The transition to the chorus gives me goosebumps every time, and vocals take a step back in terms of power, but the emphasis goes to that beautiful melody and the arrangement to match. With all that power, it's very easy to forget the melody, but this song is confident and comfortable enough to remember it, and remember it well. The gracefulness of the chorus is a perfect contrast to the very stiff (but still beautiful) verses.

This track really shows off Ailee's vocals, pulls them apart and puts them back together all in a span of three minutes. The rap part also gives the song even more oomph, as if it needed any more of it. "Shut Up" is the type of song that you can't not want to sing along too, even if majority of us can't hit the notes Ailee seems to just zoom through. This is exactly what I meant by Ailee moving mountains with an amazing song -- I'd totally give this a 5/5, maybe more.

The EP finishes off with "Heaven", Ailee's first single. I won't talk about the song itself, because I already did that earlier this year, but honestly I think it's kind of lost in relation to the rest of the album. It's a gorgeous song, yes, but the production, the style, and even the vocals, don't match the rest of the EP. Even "I Will Show You" which is also kind of not there, matches better than this.

4.7/5

3 comments:

  1. Shut Up is my favorite too! This mini album is solid for the most part. Can't wait to see her performances.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi
    Thanks for the detailed reviews:)))

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved the EP! Shut up is my favorite! Ailee's gonna be big, and I hope she does well worldwide too. She deserves it! I'm becoming a fan~! ^^

    ReplyDelete

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