[#2] Ailee (with Simon D) - "Shut Up"

From: "Invitation"
Format: EP
Released: October
Territory: Korea
Previous Best of Appearances: First Appearance

Like I said yesterday, ranking this year's top three was really a challenge for me, because Younha's "Run", this, and my now-#1 song, are all outstanding songs among a throng of good ones. Which is why for the most part, I just went with my gut feeling. That gut feeling landed Ailee at #2, making her the highest-ranking rookie act, not only this year, but pretty much since I started counting down songs.

And boy does she deserve it. You could say that Ailee got lucky, ending up in an agency that gave her material that suited her and made all the right choices during this extremely precarious debut year, but she would've never gotten that lucky without the voice. Without that powerful yet gracefully beautiful voice, that nice, deep timbre, and the effortless technique she now has.

What I like the most about "Shut Up" is that it's not what most people would give to a voice like Ailee since "protocol" is usually to give them a bunch of ballads and be done with things. But people have to remember that while Ailee does have a voice that can easily slay a ballad, she's also young and this kind of "role model" image should be pushed -- she needs to sing songs for her age, because there will come a time when she'll get too old for things like that.

"Shut Up", above all, is fun. It's something I'd play in the background while running around in the morning, it's something I'd put on to get me in a good mood. It's fresh, it's playful, and Ailee's voice literally glows, almost like it's smiling.

But it doesn't stop there, and I'm really happy that it doesn't. As happy as it is, "Shut Up" also brings out Ailee's beautiful vocals in the process -- not just in terms of emotion, but in terms of all the technical aspects. Contrary to what a lot of people think of up tempos, this is not an easy song to sing. The lines may be short, but listen to how much power it takes to deliver one of those, breathe in between beats, and deliver another one. The belting starts at the first verse, and increases as the song goes along. You really need to know how to sing to pull this song off and not crack a few lines in, and boy does Ailee know how.

This is what happens when you give a good song to a good singer and do a good job delivering it. This is what happens when people in the industry pull themselves together and do a good job because they genuinely want to. This, my friends, is called magic. Or music. Whichever you prefer.

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