It’s been just over two years since the release of Ailee’s second studio album. Now she’s back with a new full-length, entitled “Amy” after her English name. The album promises to represent Ailee’s true self, and title track Don’t Teach Me (가르치지마) references key moments in her career. The title mirrors 2014’s Don’t Touch Me, while the brassy sound reaches back to the styles she pursued during that era.
Big, brassy pop songs are perfectly suited to Ailee’s tremendous voice, but the genre itself has never been one of my personal favorites. Songs like U&I and Don’t Touch Me were epic because the songwriting itself was epic. Ailee sells Don’t Teach Me with equal vigor, but the track feels less interesting.
I’m going to blame much of this on personal bias, because it’s hard to fault anything about the production or composition. Ailee belts out the vampy refrains with the best of them, and the jazzy instrumental nudges her along with vigor. The whole track feels ripped from an old-fashioned movie musical. It’s flashy and flirty in energy, yet fierce and powerful in execution. However, this specificity also prevents Don’t Teach Me from breaking free of its genre restraints. Like I said: I’m not a huge fan of this style of song. I can appreciate its strengths but won’t be jumping to add it to my playlist. A more galvanizing chorus might have drawn my attention. After all, I consider the similarly-themed U&I to be a bonafide K-pop classic.