Song Review: A.C.E – Cactus

Debuts are always exciting, offering the chance for a rookie act to paint the first brushstrokes of what might become their sound. Beyond the hope for a strong, quality track, a debut is free from the kind of crushing expectations that can sometimes derail the comeback of more established artists. I went into A.C.E’s Cactus (선인장) without knowing anything about the guys. And while the track hasn’t quite converted me into an instant fan, its adventurous nature definitely piques my interest.

Cactus crams more ideas into its three-and-a-half minutes than many k-pop songs dare to explore. Its most unusual touchstone is the sub-genre “hardstyle,” which combines a heavy, double-time kick drum with distorted electronics and bass. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this sound attempted before in a k-pop track, and its inclusion will likely polarize opinion. The noisy breakdown following Cactus‘s chorus is not for the faint of heart, and I’m still not entirely sure if it works or not.

Luckily, the rest of the track impresses with its commanding energy and dance pop smarts. The instrumental’s skittering synth creates a tense, frantic environment that balances well with the more restrained verses. The sound is bright throughout, but with an aggressive sense of catharsis that gives the song a lot of drive. This is most evident as the immense chorus sweeps in, though I wish the hardstyle beat had been brought in during this moment instead of the ensuing breakdown. Things feel just a bit too fragmented, causing Cactus‘s more left-field touches to stand out in a way that may be off-putting to some. But then again, I’d much rather have this kind of ballsy debut than yet another retread of sounds we’ve heard a million times before.

 Hooks  8
 Production  9
 Longevity 8
 Bias  8
 RATING  8.25


7 thoughts on “Song Review: A.C.E – Cactus

  1. Pingback: Top Three K-Pop Songs of May 2017 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  2. Pingback: Six Reasons why 2017 has been an Underwhelming Year for K-Pop (so far…) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  3. Pingback: Song Review: A.C.E – Callin’ | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  4. Pingback: The Top 50 Best K-Pop Songs of 2017 (Day Two: 40-31) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  5. Pingback: The Top 10 K-Pop Rookies of 2017 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  6. Pingback: Song Review: A.C.E – Take Me Higher | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  7. Pingback: Song Review: A.C.E – Under Cover | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.