Making their latest comeback today is A.C.E with their new title track, Higher. Higher is featured on their fifth mini-album SIREN:DAWN, which will officially drop tomorrow at 6PM KST. This is the group’s first comeback since the release of HJZM: The Butterfly Phantasy and Goblin (Favorite Boys) in September 2020. Fun fact (before we proceed to the review): This is A.C.E.’s second song with the word ‘Higher’ in the title. The first was Take Me Higher, a single released back in 2018.
When I first played Higher, I found myself torn between two sides. Conceptually, I think it is a good song. But on the other hand, I felt like the song was a bit much. But the more I listen to the song, the more I find myself enjoying the song. I think Higher was produced to be an aesthetic song. There was a lot of contrasting occurring in the song, playing with future bass and progressive house in an alternating fashion. The verses were a lot simpler and softer, whereas the chorus was explosive. Initially, I felt the contrasting was like a like a double-edge sword for Higher. I felt that the chorus was overbearing, especially when you are listening to the song the first couple of times. And these initial listens are very important, as it would be decide whether someone would return to a song or not. Furthermore, especially with the ad-libs at the end of the song, there was a lot coming at you in the chorus. Now, I find the intensity to be a very A.C.E thing to do, as I find myself reminded of the EDM tracks they put out when they first debuted. The common thread between these two distinct extremes of music in Higher are the vocals, which neatly ties together the two halves. So while the song does a lot of contrasting, there is still that bit of cohesion. And the vocals do a good job standing out over the abrasiveness and potentially overpowering energy of the future bass chorus. Though, I do feel that A.C.E treads a very fine line with this aspect. Elsewhere (i.e. during the progressive house sections – verses), their vocals sound quite nice and bring a pleasant stability to the song. I do feel like the song is lacking a rap sequence, which would have given a different dynamic to the song, and could have eased us off the contrasting technique they employed from start to end. One aspect I definitely dislike in Higher is the abrupt ending. Never have and never will. I wished they eased us out, rather than leaving the song hanging. Overall, I acknowledge my initial split thoughts on Higher. But, as suggested above however, I am growing to like the song more, especially thanks to the multiple replays of Higher in order to write this review.
I think it can be agreed on that A.C.E’s music video have become aesthetically pleasing and Higher‘s music video is no exception. A theory for the video has already popped up on YouTube (from Donghun’s beautiful eyes) that I think explains the video very well and matches up with the teaser photos:
Aside from story and aesthetics, I liked the sets (especially the use of the trending platform surrounded by greenery that A.C.E performs on at the end). And some of their outfits look really cool (like what I am presuming to be a sea urchin outfit, worn by Donghun).
With a song that goes between extremes of music, there was also contras between some of their dance moves. Some of which were intense and others looked graceful, fitting for the part of the song they were corresponding to. The mini jumps they do work really well with the lyrics, and their outfits gave the performance a lot of a sensual energy that I am sure fans are enjoying.
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10