The next album on the reviewing list is A.C.E’s third mini-album, HJZM: The Butterfly Phantasy, which was released early September (exactly one month ago, to be precise). It is also my first album review for the group, so I am excited to dive into A.C.E’s side tracks. Featured on this album is the title track, Goblin (Favorite Guy), and the pre-release track, Stand By You (which was released back in the middle of this year). Alongside those two tracks that I have previously reviewed, there are three additional tracks to dive into. Let’s get going!
1. Golden Goose – Whilst Golden Goose sounds different to what A.C.E usually releases, Golden Goose aligns with the intensity that we know and love from A.C.E’s title tracks. However, the members manages to infuse a little more character into the song through the hip-hop delivery of their vocals and rapping, similar to how A.C.E’s latest title track differed from the usual highly intense EDM we get. Likewise, Golden Goose opts for strong trap beats and instrumentation. It was undeniably powerful, promising and kicks off the album with a highly energetic track. The track did remind me of SEVENTEEN’s Getting Closer (a song which I really enjoyed) at certain parts. And if it manages to encapsulate that song, then Golden Goose is doing something right. (9/10)
2. Goblin (Favorite Guy) (도깨비) – Click here to read the full review for (Goblin) Favorite Guy. (10/10)
3. Baby Tonight (황홀경) – Baby Tonight opts for a R&B track. I really like their vocal direction, with raspy and husky vocals being employed by all members. Altogether the song comes off as wholesome and quite warming. It felt like a decent song for the Autumn season. The main chorus hook was catchy and helped make the song quite appealing. It doesn’t stand out as much as the other songs on the album given that it was a more typical sound that we hear often in KPOP. But it was a good showcase of the member’s talents away from the EDM genre of music. (8/10)
4. Stand By You (편지를 써) – Click here to read the full review for Stand By You. (8/10)
5. Clover – For the first 20 seconds, the opening instrumental was totally my style. It felt so calming with the acoustic guitar. It felt refreshing and very appropriate for the Summer season that Korea was coming out of. I liked how Clover‘s instrumental became mixed with modern EDM synths. Typical, but still worth listening to it. The pop ballad is enhanced when the members start singing. Their vocals are nicely displayed. Jun’s hoarse voice was just amazing. The rapping was nicely tweaked to fit into the pop ballad genre and didn’t stray away from the main backbone to be its own thing (which tends to be the case with some songs nowadays). The melodies were nice and catchy. Overall, Clover was just a nice to ride out on. (9/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.8/10