After over a year, on October 5th, Ailee finally released her long awaited fourth mini album titled A New Empire, with title track Home featuring Yoon Mirae. The album signals a new sound from the singer’s previous releases.
Home, the title track really sets the mood for the rest of the album. The song has a really fantastic build from the first verse to the chorus and an epic crescendo in the chorus which gives the song real power in addition to the vocals. This added to Yoon Mirae’s soulful rap, is testament to the song’s RnB feel, which makes it a bit of a body roll anthem.
The second track on the album is Peek-a-boo, and what really makes this song for me is all the lilt’s at the ends of the sentences. It makes the song really groovy though it is overall a slower tempo song with a piano heavy accompaniment. Of all the songs on the album, it’s less showy in terms of vocals but instead features a more spoken words kind of singing which helps change up the songs consistent verse – chorus format.
Another song that features a well known artist is Feelin’. The song features Eric Nam, who is known to be a good friend of Ailee’s and their voices work together beautifully. The song starts off with the mirage that it will be a slow ballad, but, the tempo quickly changes to transform it into a upbeat song as Eric joins in with the harmonization which are heavenly. Eric’s solo verse again brings the tempo down and then up again, which is normally quite jolty to listen to but Feelin’ pulls off the tempo changes flawlessly. Ailee and Eric’s ending harmony is definitely a highlight.
Live or Die is a slower, more sultry sounding song with a powerful message about not giving up. The rap – by Tak of Baechigi – accompanies the vocals pleasantly as they intertwine. This song is a builder in the as it plays the vocals build and build in their extravagance.
The tone of I Need You is set from the very first note. The piano and rain sounds matched with the voiceover set a slow, sad tone for the rest of the song. It’s a song that showcases Ailee’s vocal ability very well by way of vocal tricks; the runs on the choruses “I Need You” are particularly notable.
If You is the final song on the album and was actually released as a digital single a whole month before the rest of the album came out. The relaxed hi-hat drum beat and organ paired with the soft harmonised backing vocals give the song a gospel-like feel . Like I Need You, If You showcases the higher range of Ailee’s talented vocals.
A New Empire is definitely a new beginning for Ailee, it’s a more mature sound better suited to her wide range than her more pop beginnings. The first few tracks on the album are very current in their composition which I like. The last few tracks are very impressive in terms of vocals, but they fall away from the overall feel of the album set out in the first few tracks which leaves me feeling somewhat indifferent towards them.
Review written by Lauren