“April showers bring May flowers”, so goes the well-known proverb. In the case of Ailee, it has brought ‘Lovin’’, a “pre-release” project described as “a special gift” of “spring vibes” for the fans patiently waiting for her new album, due out later this year.
If her last album, the ballad-led October 2020 release ‘I’m’, was a pensive, melancholic approach towards autumn and winter, then ‘Lovin’ is truly a celebration of spring’s return as flowers appear to make up a considerable part of this album’s creative theme. The Korean-American singer is surrounded by various colourful blooms on the illustrated album cover, while in the music video for title track ‘Make Up Your Mind’, she is seen singing in front of a floral backdrop, and then in a floral dress sitting in a bathtub filled with – you guessed it – flowers.
Some of the songs in ‘Lovin’’ also mention flowers in their lyrics. In the smooth ‘Lose Myself To You’, co-written with Jung Chilri about opening up one’s self to a blossoming love, Ailee weaves in a number of such references: “You grew like a flower hidden in the season”, she sings in one verse, and “I’m gonna plant you in the shape of my heart” in another.
‘Spring Flowers’ (봄꽃, bomggeot in Korean), the album’s other title track, is a somewhat poignant homage to the season but also a juxtaposition of love lost. “The petals in my heart / Are falling / Spring flowers mixed in tears”, she muses at the beginning, with the acoustic guitar tune complementing her tender vocals. She later addresses the fallen blossoms directly, adding an encouragement (maybe indirectly to herself) at the end: “Goodbye, petals / When we meet again / Please bloom more beautifully than before”.
Known for her vocal versatility, Ailee continues to showcase that through the songs on ‘Lovin’’. She’s able to channel sultry vibes as heard in ‘525’ – along with some agile vocal runs and melisma towards the end – just as effortlessly as piercing girl crush anthems like ‘Ain’t Talking About Me’ (“You sure ain’t talkin’ about me / Baby, who the hell is she?”).
“I wanna wear you forever / Tattoo your love on me”, she sweetly sings on the lighthearted opening track ‘Tattoo’, which gives off a slight Ariana Grande vibe both in vocals and sound. Its initial melody might even be slightly reminiscent of the American singer’s 2020 song ‘34+35’, though the similarities pretty much end there. Then there’s the flirty and beckoning ‘Make Up Your Mind’, which is a bold call to take a friendship to the next level. “Why do you keep flickering before me? / I wonder when you’ll confess”, Ailee croons over catchy, if at times overbearing, electronic beats.
All in all, ‘Lovin’’ is a welcome return for Ailee, one that will certainly keep her fans looking forward to her upcoming studio album in July. Seeing how she had a hand in co-writing the lyrics in all the songs in this release, one can only wonder how much more her lyricality will blossom and what else would spring forth from her next.
- Release date: May 7
- Record label: Rocket3 Entertainment