Review: Ailee – “Mind Your Own Business” Coasts On The Talent Of Its Star

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Ailee has made a pretty ncie career out of her thunderous vocal chords. The girl exploded onto the K-Pop scene with a rousing rendition of “Halo” and the Halo knockoff “Heaven” and she’s more or less delivered tracks in a similar vein ever since. Like many of her previous tracks, “Mind Your Own Business” offers plenty of vocal red meat to chew on. However, those hoping for a little twist may find Ailee’s latest comeback to be a little too one-note.

For those that are familiar with Ailee’s K-Pop work, “Mind Your Own Business” will sound extremely familiar and rote. Much like her previous comebacks, “Mind Your Own Business” recalls mid-2000s R&B pop with its propulsive mix of snare drums, horns and Ailee’s booming Beyonce impression.For those that have an affinity for no-frills semi-modern R&B, there will be plenty to like here but not much to love. The beat is energetic and strong but it never really switches things up and there’s never a moment that leaves one wondering what will happen next. The verses and choruses are executed with a perfunctory precision that tragically leaves little room for variation. After the promising opening verse, Ailee falls into the habit of belting nearly everything out at the top of her lungs, thus blunting the very strength of her sizable delivery by not offering much of anything in way of contrast (A tendency which is present in her other works as well). Ailee’s vocals, as always, are the highlight here but the beat never threatens to challenge her or move her outside of her well-traveled comfort zone. With almost any other artist, this would be a pleasant banger but “Mind Your Own Business” is the sort of track that Ailee could likely construct in her sleep.

Could still knock me out in her sleep.

Could still knock me while sleepwalking tbh.

The video is… fine. Ailee looks great (per usual), and the video’s use of blue lighting gives the video a coolness that not-so-coincidentally contrasts well with the orange prison uniforms that are gloriously featured for some of the choreography sections. Still, as with the music, there’s not much to ‘Mind Your Own Business” that stands out as an Ailee music video. Sure, the plot line of “AILEE’S HAREM REKT A DUDE” is fun and very easy on the eyes from an editing and visual perspective but the dance-in-a-box parts are far less exciting due to a mixture of uninspired shots and underwhelming choreography (how much of this had to do with her injury on set is anyone’s guess). And while people are drawn to Ailee more for her voice than her footwork, it would have been nice to see something a little more experimental than the straightforward product that was released.

Straightforward may be the best way to describe “Mind Your Own Business” and it may also be the best way to describe Ailee’s discography thus far. If this sounds overly-critical, it is because Ailee’s voice is one of the best in K-Pop and it would be wonderful to see her expand her style beyond I Love the 2000s.  Ailee’s voice has the power of a locomotive but it has often been constrained, whether by creative choice or necessity, to a single gear on a train track that loops along a single route. “Mind Your Own Business” does nothing to alter that perception.

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One comment

  1. I wonder if some of the constraint is nature of the K-pop industry and companies that tend to act like a herd. Few labels seem to be willing to stick their neck out with something truly different with their artist. IU is one of the few artists in the Korean pop scene who seems to mix it up with her album concepts and surprises folks with something unique like her last album with its swing and bossa nova overtones. I seem to recall that when Hyorin did her solo album, she mentioned she wanted to go with a more R&B or maybe it was soul feel (Can’t recall her exact statement), but that wasn’t something the company was comfortable with as the were concerned that what Hyorin wanted to do was too far away from the pop mainstream and would not be commercially successful in Korea. It’s a shame when you have world class singers like an Ailee or Hyorin and you decide to keep them focused on just one genre, but then don’t find the absolute best materrial. That said Ailee’s material shines compared to some of the tripe that is put before us when a girl group member does a solo project most of the time. Ailee’s voice can make up for weaker material and at least because she is a soloist her company seems to take a bit more care with her material than some of the abominations we have seen in the last year involving some lead singer of a girl group doing a solo album.

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