Review

Song Review: Ailee – Make Up Your Mind

Ailee - Make Up Your Mind
After an explosion of popularity in the mid 2010’s, powerhouse vocalist Ailee has settled into once-a-year comebacks that highlight her strengths as both a balladeer and a dance artist. Even so, the newer material often lacks the spark that made past hits like U&I and Don’t Touch Me so addictive.

Make Up Your Mind is a perfectly polished modern pop song. Yet, it doesn’t resonate with me at all. And looking past the surface, I think my opinion hinges on structural issues with the songwriting itself. Make Up Your Mind suffers from a lack of melodic and structural diversity, which is not unusual within today’s Top 40 pop music.

When it comes to non-musical writing, I tend to crave sentence fluency — meaning the sentences have a satisfying variety of lengths and structures. This gives a piece of writing natural flow, preventing it from sounding monotonous and stilted when read aloud. And though music adds a new dimension to words, I think many of the building blocks are the same. I’ve noticed that a lot of pop songs in recent years opt for shorter, more repetitive phrasing in both their verses and chorus. This approach seems to take influence from the popular triplet flow, used generously in modern hip-hop. But I’d argue that its prominence started even earlier, driven by work from producers like OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder.

Repetitive structure usually results in a repetitive performance. Ailee is gifted enough to elevate any material, and she occasionally goes off script during Make Up Your Mind, gliding into head voice or finishing a phrase with a satisfying flourish. But, too many lines point toward the same end point, giving the final product a plodding, predictable feel. This is compounded by an EDM drop that, while sonically interesting, only accentuates the lockstep repetition of the song’s melodies. So while I can’t fault the talent and skill that went into Make Up Your Mind, it’s not an approach I find particularly compelling.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 6
 RATING 7

6 thoughts on “Song Review: Ailee – Make Up Your Mind

  1. Yup, couldn’t agree more. Her voice is lovely but this isn’t the kind of music style I want her to explore & it seems like her new material is constantly gravitating towards it.

    Like

  2. It always perplexes me why artists pick songs like these. Ailee can sing anything. Why does she pick this one? What point is she trying to prove artistically and musically with a song choice like this?

    The instrumental here just kind of plods along. Heavy thuds on the beat, and couplets on the vocal. Lurches forward, lurches back. I am not listening again to figure this out for certain, but it sounds like a three chord song that just cycles.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “But, too many lines point toward the same end point, giving the final product a plodding, predictable feel”.

    Can we just…applaud Sweetune and Infinite again? I remember when reading “Top 100 Best K-pop Songs of All Time Number 1” article, Nick pointed out how The Chaser had a repetition, but all of them had their own charm and went through a different endpoint.

    Goddamn I miss both of them…

    Liked by 1 person

    • point toward the same point ….

      I know. There are songs that feel like they come home, metaphorically speaking. A grand “one more time with FEELING”. There are songs which may be repetitious but the joy is actually in that repetition. Antonio Carlos Jobim’s classic “Waters of March” comes to mind. This is also an excellent example of a “List” song. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5-LOWUkR88

      And then there are songs which wear out the one or two ideas that the song was constructed around. Need more to it. Overstay their welcome. Like this one here today.

      An old high school friend floved Debbie Gibson back when, Debbie Gibson being a very young self-composing, self-producing pop tart. I had to suffer through this song endlessly. It has four verses, two breaks, and five repeats of the chorus, It also relentlessy rhymes, to a fault. To be fair, Debbie Gibson was probably 16 or 17 when she wrote this gem (what was I doing at age 16 or 17?), and it is catchy, but it goes for 5 and half minutes and no one pruned off a few extra repeats. ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUCi_8ztxXE

      Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose that’s the danger of having a singer who can elevate anything. Agencies and producers will just give them… anything.

      With that said, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, How Will I Know, It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay and others are stone cold classics.

      But yeah, I get your point. Big-voiced divas are often saddled with boring songs because they know everyone’s in it for the voice anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

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