I’ll admit that I did not know at all that Ailee was coming back; the success of her recent all-kill with hit Goblin OST “I Will Go To You Like the First Snow” shadowed pretty much all news of her newest release “Reminiscing”. In my defense, the “2017 in South Korean music” page on Wikipedia, which I check religiously for comebacks of my favourite artists, hasn’t even updated Ailee’s release, so clearly this release hasn’t been promoted properly. This comeback comes as a beautiful standalone single accompanied by the perfect music video.

With her previous album A New Empire proving that she wasn’t bound to one style with her past hits “Don’t Touch Me” and “Mind Your Own Business”, many wondered which direction she would take this time. “Reminiscing” shows yet another side of her, but remains true to the sound that is undeniably characteristic of Ailee.

A mid-tempo track, this release has strong jazz influences with hints of pop. A synth instrumental riff is introduced and repeated, providing a steady and constant bass line throughout the song. Our girl’s amazing vocals are on fire as she delivers complicated runs effortlessly in the chorus. The vocal range of the song is on the upper end, which showcases her sweet and soulful upper register.

Of all the lovely moments during the song, my favourite has got to be the melisma during the chorus: it adds just the right amount of jazz to, well, jazz things up. Traces of pop like the brief synth vocal filter during the bridge section are used to set the song from all the other jazzy hits on the charts right now. When I listened to this song for the very first time, I was a little disappointed that she didn’t slow down her run during the chorus — it was a little too fast for the relaxed mood of the song — but it’s growing on me slowly with every listen.

In this song, Ailee sings about missing her past lover. The lyrics seem to be a little awkward in English, but they are simple and to the point:

[S]o I miss you

and I need you

More than before

Now it’s embarrassing to even cry, this timing

What can I call it?

A worn-out longing

The MV is also kept very simple. Beautiful shots at the beginning show Ailee strolling alone in the park on a wintery day (and can I just add that I am in love with her cozy white coat!). A sepia filter tints the MV a light beige at first, but as she crosses under the bridge, colour spills onto the screen; this transition suggests her shedding her past as she walks into the present. The next scene is at a café where she sits alone (again) with a coffee in hand, staring off into the distance with a melancholic look on her face. The following series of shots alternate between sepia and colour as she traverses the wintery landscapes, finding joy in exploring the nature and taking silly selcas. The music video concludes with a shot of her happily busking on the streets, which serves as a nice contrast from her previously being alone, and is also is a sweet gesture that shows just how much she enjoys singing and performing.

Our K-pop vocal queen really outdid herself this time; “Reminiscing” is by far my favourite track of hers! I love the impressive vocal runs and embellishments, as well as the soulful quality of her voice which is nothing like we have heard from Ailee before. More importantly, I really enjoyed the toned-down, laid-back feel of the whole song — it’s the perfect song to listen as the last of winter fades into spring!

Rating: 4.5/5.0

(Images via YMC Entertainment, Lyrics via pop!gasa)