[Mini-Album] A.C.E – A.C.E Adventures in Wonderland

A.C.E Adventures is the first mini-album released by A.C.E. Take Me Higher was used as the promotional song. The newer songs don’t feature member Chan as he was taking part in The Unit’s project group, UNB.

aceadventuresinwonderland

Released: June 7, 2018
1. Cactus (선인장)
2. Callin’
3. Black and Blue
4. Take Me Higher
5. DESSERT
6. 5STAR (Incompletion)
7. Cactus (inst.)
8. Callin’ (inst.)
9. 5STAR (Incompletion) (inst.)

aceadventuresinwonderland1

First off, we begin with two of the group’s first digital singles, Cactus and Callin’. Both these songs go for the hardstyle and they are great tunes. Cactus is especially great and has a punch to it. The chorus is still catchy and I love the pounding music. Callin’ doesn’t go quite as hard initially, but the chorus is fun. I don’t think it is as catchy, but it still a quality tune. The mini also includes the group’s third digital single, 5TAR (Incompletion), which is a slow-building ballad. This is the weakest of the old tracks, but it is still a solid tune.

The first of the new songs is Black and Blue, which brings something more hip-hop. I’ve never been the biggest fan of these kinds of songs, so this isn’t really up my alley. Still, there are some great parts to it. The pre-chorus does a great job building things up to the chorus, which has a lot of energy to it. Not quite sure if it’s that catchy though.

aceadventuresinwonderland

I much prefer Take Me Higher. Here we are given something on trend with its dance-EDM sound. I find it a great match for the group because the light-hearted style really fits the group’s image well and the girls have some strong vocalists that can take advantage of those soaring choruses. It’s a really catchy tune. I also quite enjoy the rap portion that pops up right before the bridge.

DESSERT has some tropical house influence in it, which isn’t a totally bad thing. Although the genre has been overkilled in the last few years, this is still a solid entry to the genre in K-Pop. I like its more serious tone. My only problem is that the pre-chorus is a bit too repetitive and would’ve benefited from some variety in lyrics. The drop into the chorus isn’t so hard-hitting, but the synth is pretty catchy, albeit generic.


Overall: This is a pretty solid mini-album and the group sounds great doing all these sounds. I do wish the group tried less to follow trends like they did with Cactus and Callin’, but it is understandable as they come from a smaller company. With that said, the group does have some quality tracks and there are no bad songs on here. The guys are all good vocalists, so they help to elevate songs.

A

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[Digital Single] A.C.E – 5TAR (Incompletion)

5TAR (Incompletion) is the first digital single released by A.C.E. It was released as a special single for fans and only featured four members at the time (Chan was in The Unit’s “UNB”).

5tar
Released: March 15, 2018
1. 5TAR (Incompletion)

5TAR (Incompletion), like many special fan songs, is a ballad. It is a pretty good song as it keeps up the contemporary style the boys have going for them, but it drags on a bit too much at times. The beat is really slow and even when the instruments come in, the melody just has to speed nor impact until the end. The guys do sound really great here and this is a nice showcase of their strong vocals.


Overall: I’m a bit on the fence with this song. It has some really nice qualities to it, but then I feel like it loses its impact a bit as it takes so long to really get to that powerful point. It needs to have a faster beat and strong arrangement.

B

[Single] A.C.E – Callin’

Callin’ is the second single released by boy band A.C.E. It is their last release before the members joined the shows, The Unit and Mix Nine.

callin
Released: October 18, 2017
1. Callin’
2. Callin’ (inst.)

Callin’ doesn’t have the same punch that Cactus has, but it follows a pretty similar sound with its hardstyle chorus. The verses are definitely calmer and they act as an interesting contrast to the explosive chorus. I quite like the music, especially the second part of the chorus, which is more hook based. However, I don’t think the song is as strong as Cactus. The melody just isn’t as memorable and I find the music doesn’t totally suit the melody as well as I would like. I would hope for the melody itself to be more hard hitting and not just float on top.


Overall: This is a decent follow-up to their debut and I do like that they kept up with the same kind of genre. I do wish it was as strong as their debut, but it’s not a bad song by any means. I just don’t find it as memorable and I wish the melody had more punch to it and stronger hooks.

B+

[Single] A.C.E – Cactus

A.C.E is probably most well-known as the boy band with the short shorts, however,  they have started to gain a strong international following. All the members used to be former trainees of rather well-known companies. Cactus is the group’s debut single.

cactus
Released: May 23, 2017
1. Cactus (선인장) [MV]
2. Cactus (Inst.)

Cactus is an interesting twist with something more along the lines of hardstyle. I feel like it has a very aggressive sound that combines the elements of new and older K-Pop. The beat is quite strong and is covered with an array of synths. The melody flows right over it, especially during the verses. At first, I wasn’t very keen on the chorus as the melody is quite heavy sounding when compared to the flashy music. However, it has grown on me and it’s quite catchy. It really doesn’t rely on the repetitive hook and highlights the group’s vocals. It’s a cool song.


Overall: While I do enjoy the song, I’m not sure I’m totally into as much as I want to be. The song is definitely something more on the interesting side and I do hope they continue to experiment with their sound. It’s a solid tune.

A-