Ailee U&I

Ailee is a total Beyonce knock-off, but she gets away with it because she’s so damn good at it. She may not be the most original songstress under the sun, but her last two singles were able to either match or surpass their source material, and the same goes for her latest offering, “U&I.”

The new single was produced by Shinsadong Tiger (T-ara’s “Roly Poly,” B2ST’s “Fiction”), but anybody unfamiliar with K-pop would probably peg it as the work of Rich Harrison the second the brass section starts. It’s is supercharged Beyonce, borrowing from both “Crazy in Love” and “Freakum Dress,” and rivaling them both in pure sass and adrenaline.

Only the hugest pop diva vocalists –like Beyonce, Christina, and Kelly Clarkson– could go toe-to-toe with production this big and busy, and Ailee’s one of them. Listening to her belt her way through “U&I” is exhausting, and I mean that in the best way possible.

With old-school funk and soul back on the charts in a big way thanks to the likes of Daft Punk, Robin Thicke, and Justin Timberlake, Ailee couldn’t have picked a better time to release a song like this. It’s only going to be a matter of time before she makes Jersey proud and goes for the American market. And even if she never breaks the States, she’s already well on her way to becoming the Beyonce of Asia, which isn’t such bad consolation prize.