Beyond being one of Korea’s leading solo artists, Ailee also has her own unique place in k-pop. Her American roots have influenced her sound, providing work that effortlessly straddles the line between U.S. Top 40 and more typical Korean fare. Bolstered by her soulful vocals, she provides a performance style that no other k-pop artist has yet to match.
Home veers even closer towards the popular trends of the West. Rather than continue the bombastic, attitude-filled pop of her most recent singles, the song opts for a darker, more downtempo feel. If it had been performed in English, it would be nearly indistinguishable from a large segment of current American releases. This is bound to please many who long for k-pop to be respected and appreciated on a worldwide scale. But for those of us who prefer our k-pop weird and diverse, Home will likely feel more like a shrug.
Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard to fault the track on quality alone. The dramatic, undulous bass gives Home a slightly dangerous vibe, further complimented by the buzz of murky synths that underline the chorus. At every turn, the production deftly transforms the song into something bigger than it would otherwise be. The melody itself doesn’t feel quite as effective or memorable, though Yoonmirae’s climactic rap verse injects needed energy. I applaud Ailee for choosing to tackle a different sound rather than simply repeating herself, but Home feels more like a transitional release than the genre-defining hit that it could be.
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