A.C.E’s ‘Under Cover’ Album Review
Even as a boy group that doesn’t have a big discography yet A.C.E has always impressed their fans and newcomers with their different music styles and variety of genres.
With this newest album “Under Cover” they are continuing to go out of their way and create something new for fans to listen to. They aren’t afraid to try out new genres which makes it always exciting to see what they have in store!
01. “Do It Like Me”
- a song older fans might know already, it was supposed to be their debut song initially and they teased it in their pre-debut phase multiple times which you can see in their cover of Blackpink’s “Playing With Fire”
What I like most about this song is its ability to get stuck in your head. It’s a really catchy song, this is emphasized through their use of the same instrumental beat which you can hear right at the beginning of the song and the first verse + drop. But it isn’t only that, the lyrics are a big percentage of remembering this song easily with reappearing phrases like “Do it like me just do it like me.”
These lyrics might sound a bit repetitive near the beginning but this stops being the case as the song adds more instrumentals and harmonies as it progresses. Adding some type of bell sound for the second verse makes it sound different enough for the listener to not get bored by it. Additionally, it is being used as kind of a transition in the middle of the second drop.
Harmonies make the song feel fuller which is strengthened by some of the high notes that the harmonies lead to.
Do It Like Me isn’t a complex song. There aren’t many background noises like a bed squeaking or the clattering of crockery so the listener doesn’t have to invest more time into figuring out what’s happening with the instrumental.
With the “middle eastern” vibe the drop gives off I can see others not liking it as much because it is pretty weird sounding at first and you might have to get used to it at first before you can fully appreciate the uniqueness of it.
02. “Under Cover”
- a great example of A.C.E’s variety as mentioned earlier, another genre, with more of a rap focus this time around, both genres are new areas for them to explore and show off through.
This song is everything I hoped for when I saw the teasers at first. No, even better than my first expectations.
Under Cover doesn’t start right away. By that I mean, there is more of a three – way introduction before the “real” start in my opinion.It starts with a short whistle intro followed by a rap introduction from Byeongkwan and a group part lead by Wow as lead.
This is an interesting way of bringing the song closer to the listener since it is something new. So you might have to adapt to the sound during the introduction as it leads you into this more intense rock sound that we also haven’t heard from A.C.E before.
Now the real fun begins as Byeongkwan, again, starts up a longer rap verse followed by shorter ones from Wow and Chan which already has some nice drum beat and spazzing electric guitars for that surprise effect. Throwing the listener completely off by suddenly slowing down for the build up. It doesn’t last long since it builds up rather quickly reintroducing the electric guitar and drum beat to a soft high note followed by a short pause for the ears.
The chorus hits you with everything we have heard so far instrumental wise with a messier but well thought through beat. What’s unique for this are the softer vocals on top of the heavier instrumentals which offers the listener a nice contrast and not too much of a tense feeling for the ears.
From here on out there isn’t much different besides Byeongkwan and Wow showing of their vocals as well.
There is a more of a chant part later for the first part of the bridge which makes the song in itself more varied in addition of the group part from the chorus, once again lead by Wow.
The end still hits you with some nicely put high notes and ad libs to give some sort of climax feeling.
Overall Under Cover offers a enthralling intense vibe with the hard hitting parts but also gives us some nice soft vocals as a great contrast which isn’t often the case for either hip-hop songs or rock songs but this song puts those two together like they always belonged that way.
03. “Mr. Bass”
- a funky song, different from the rest but still just as much fun
What Mr.Bass does great are the instrumentals.
They are adding a lot to the funky side and reminds you of some older music.
The vocals throughout get a bit drowned out, they leave something to be desired as A.C.E don’t play around too much with them in this song, they are pretty straight-forward, almost monotone. The shorter rap parts don’t really fit into the song and the continuous “Mr.Bass” parts sound rather unfinished, not really well mixed in with everything else from the song, which is a big problem because that “Mr.Bass” gets sung a lot during the chorus and can get quite annoying after some time.
I really like the verses though, especially Byeongkwan’s starting lines sound great and the build-up to the chorus.
At the end, the song has a longer instrumental part which is mostly needed to just enjoy them on their own for a bit before the repetitive “Mr.Bass” part returns.
04. “If You Heard”
- The laid back song of the album, a good rest for the ears after a rather intense album
If You Heard is really heavy on a piano and synths, it’s a more upbeat ballad compared to others and plays a lot with the instrumentals. Besides the piano which is for the most part, heavy on the ears throughout the song and the synths, the song also introduces us to a rather quick drum beat adding to the tempo of the overall song.
The song is being supported by great vocal parts with many harmonies and adlibs added to make the song even fuller than it already was. And a catchy “oh-oh-oh” part in the chorus to remember. The rap parts are timed very well and sound just as great as the vocals, not too long, not too short, the perfect amount of rap in a ballad.
The song feels a bit too full at times tho, like there is too much happening with the piano, synths, drums and vocals with harmonies to it, especially during the choruses. And with the rather fast tempo for a more laid back song.
05. “5TAR” (Physical Copy Only)
- The ballad of the album, a beautiful ending
The best part about this ballad is how it grows, meaning it is more slow and toned down at the beginning but it gets more intense towards the end.
The vocals of Donghun and Jun which take most of the first third of the song are just incredible easy and beautiful to listen to together with the simple piano which accompanies them.
The first chorus, lead by Donghun and Jun, introduces us to some synths and a nice simple electric guitar that glides into the second, rather rap, verse of Byeongkwan and Wow which adds an additional drum beat to the instrumentals and added harmonies.
Chan continues with his soft vocals to the second chorus and from here on out it just builds more and more till Byeongkwan hits a nice high note and everything comes to a stop.
Chan starts the last part of the song which is a bit more tuned down but is immediately followed by Jun and Donghun doing some amazing high notes to the full instrumental and added amazing electric guitars.
Since this is the “Completion” Version, meaning all five of them sing in it, Chan has his beautiful ending line which lets everything come to an end.
This ballad is amazing! It has everything you could ask of a ballad to deliver and A.C.E does it beautifully!
Overall this album is their best yet, all of the b-sides are very A.C.E-like which is great for them so early on. It’s a very varied album and everyone should at least find a song in it that they would like.