[#9] Ailee - "Singing Got Better"

From: "Singing Got Better"
Released: January
Territory: South Korea
Previous Best of Entries: 2012: [#2] "Shut Up" (With Simon D) and [#4] "Invitation" / 2013: [#17] "I'll Be OK"
Other notable song(s) from 2014: "미치지 않고서야"(Feat. 다이나믹듀오), "문득병", "Teardrop"

If there's one thing I'm thankful for the way Ailee's career is being handled, it's that her agency isn't shoving ballads down her throat every chance they get. And because Ailee doesn't get too many ballads on official releases (drama OSTs are another world altogether), when she does release one I appreciate it more.

"Singing Got Better" is one of my favorite Ailee tracks because it's not your typical Korean ballad -- instead of wallowing in feelings or trying to pass off whispering for "emotional singing," "Singing Got Better" has a trendy, pop edge to it. There's fire to the track, partially because of the arrangement -- the treatment of the drum line isn't something you usually hear in ballads, nor are the happy, almost springy, strings. These are typical ballad elements, and for the most part they do have that almost ethereal grace to them, but there's kick to the execution.

And of course, a big reason why "Singing Got Better" isn't just a sad-fest is because Ailee's vocals have that same fire to them -- the punch in the chorus is 90% because Ailee's singing it. Ailee's blend of a timbre that's feminine yet deep and sharp at the same time allows her to deliver the chorus with conviction, but also fit into the graceful aura of the arrangement. The vocals are what make "Singing Got Better" not only a power ballad in the truest sense of the term, but also hands-down, one of the best ballads of 2014.


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