And the New Year starts with a new sound and alias for vocalist Ailee. About a week ago there were rumors floating around the Internet about a “famous singer, new alias.” This “new alias” didn’t really leave much to the imagination, the moniker being a not-so-subtle play on the American-born Korean pop star’s stage name. Most fans figured it out right away, and with shout outs from close friend Amber Liu, it was pretty much a given.
Fan suspicions were validated on Saturday when Naver Music released the audio for A.Leean’s debut track “Fall Back” on their YouTube channel. The track itself is due for iTunes download sometime in the near future, though according to the description there isn’t a set date.
The song is typical of most club tracks, an EDM-laced ballad about wanting nothing more than to “fall back in love” with the one who constantly stands beside her and gives her all the happiness in the world.
Ailee, or A.Leean, as it were, is known for her stellar vocals, rich tone, and ability to blast power notes as easily as breathing. A song like “Fall Back” isn’t necessarily meant to highlight that range. In fact, for those who actually haven’t heard of the vocalist—and especially those far removed from the K-pop universe who have no idea this is a new stage name—this song has the potential of getting lost in the fray.
Her new pseudonym actually runs the risk of alienating (no pun intended) even more people from giving her a listen, or at least a serious enough listen to be invested in music from her in the future. She’s introducing herself in name first with the idea that she’s “alien,” something “different” or “other” than what audiences will be used to. The idea of an “other,” especially in this day and age, isn’t exactly the best way to gain acceptance from a Western audience, particularly from the States. We see how the “other” is treated when it comes to the mainstream consciousness, oftentimes commodified to the point of losing any of its credibility. However, if people are open-minded and willing to take the name for what it is—a semi-clever play on words—we still have the problem of the promise of something unique the name suggests. A.Leean is ultimately kind of a contradiction, given the genre, composition, and lyrical content of the track she presented as her debut to Stateside listeners.
However, this could be a big step for Ailee, getting back to her home country after spending years building quite a name for herself as one of South Korea’s biggest vocal talents. The audio video already has nearly 9000 views, so she’s drawing interest. “Fall Back” certainly has a place on the turntable of most mainstream club DJs, so at the very least there’s a good chance she’ll get a decent amount of play among the demographic this song was meant to pander to. Hopefully, this is just a first step to Ailee releasing some interesting music.