There aren’t that many solo female k-pop acts that are equally as comfortable with upbeat dance tracks as they are ballads. As one of the sole examples, Ailee brings something completely new and vital to the genre. Debuting in 2012, she’s gone on to carve quite a successful career for herself, blending her powerful vocal ability with high-octane, self-empowerment anthems.
10. Evening Sky (2012)
Ailee has become known for her highly successful OST tracks, but the gentle Evening Sky remains one of her most beautifully melodic.
9. Heaven (2012)
A promising midtempo debut that gave ample spotlight to Ailee’s vocals and set the stage for more interesting sounds to come.
8. Insane (2015)
Pulling back for a slinkier r&b bounce, the smooth, emotional 90’s-era pop of Insane allowed Ailee to play with the subtler textures of her voice.
7. Home (ft. Yoon Mirae) (2016)
Home took Ailee towards a more westernized, trap-influenced sound for the first time, offering a trendy, forward-thinking step in her career. (full review)
6. If You (2016)
Proving once more that she’s one of Korea’s strongest vocalists, If You takes things back to the roots of classic soul music with gorgeous gospel influences. (full review)
5. Mind Your Own Business (2015)
Offering another slice of Ailee’s now infamous, brassy power r&b, Mind Your Own Business suffers only by being a (slightly) lesser version of some of her more dynamic tracks of this genre.
4. Singing Got Better (2014)
A soaring piece of pop balladry that cemented Ailee as a power vocalist on the rise. She’s an artist with many goosebump-inducing vocal moments, but Singing Got Better’s explosive chorus may just be the most striking.
3. Don’t Touch Me (2014)
A gutsy stomper of a pop song, offering the kind of go-for-broke rallying cry that highlights Ailee’s most powerful material. The persistent percussion and never-ending attitude is enough to grab any listener’s attention.
2. I’ll Show You (2012)
A modern-day equivalent of Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, I’ll Show You starts as a ballad before transforming into a thumping dance track with enough vocal and instrumental fireworks to fuel an entire career. It was the first time she showed us just how unstoppable she could be.
1. U&I (2013)
From its gargantuan brass opening to that thundering beat and belt-it-out chorus, U&I is the pinnacle of Ailee’s discography. The potency of its bombastic arrangement has yet to be matched, while the blistering melody matches Beyoncé for pure power. It’s an expert straddling of Western and Korean influences and a modern classic of the genre.