Buried Treasure: A.C.E – Mr. Bass

Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.

With NCT 127’s Superhuman hearkening back to second generation K-pop sounds, there’s a nostalgia in the air. May has been gratifying in this sense, with many songs foregoing current trends for more creative influences. ACE’s Under Cover remains a sterling example of this, and thankfully their entire mini album offers a similar sense of musical diversity. Though nothing can match the title track (a tall order, to be fair), Mr. Bass harnesses a welcome electro pop style that would have been right at home on a 2013-era SHINee album.

Opening with a gorgeous blend of retro synth, Mr. Bass quickly establishes its percussive groove. Thankfully, the track never collapses into some ill-conceived half-time trap breakdown, maintaining its energy across its entire three-and-a-half minutes. It may not be as breathlessly ambitious as Under Cover, but the song has a classic K-pop appeal that draws on the guys’ charisma to imbue its simple melody with plenty of spark. I love the crunchy instrumental break just before the final chorus. It pulses with the kind of bombastic blend of elements that used to characterize so much of the industry’s output. A less-repetitive chorus would have shot this into the stratosphere, but the members’ polished performance helps to compensate.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9

6 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: A.C.E – Mr. Bass

  1. 2013 was a good SHINee era. Sherlock. Everybody. Why so Serious (my personal favorite).

    For a song called “Mr Bass”, I was expecting, yanno, more bass. Or for the vocal at least instead of doing middle C up to high C, perhaps middle C down to F. Or in my dream world, middle C down to low C. The refrain is on the backing track, no one is singing it live, so all they have to do it hit it low C once in the studio.

    (Or do they mean to say bass, as in the fish? lol)

    That said, it’s a pretty good b-side.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherlock is technically 2012, but for me it was the start of the group’s iconic 2012/13 sound. I’m glad to hear you love Why So Serious, because I feel like that song always gets a bum rap from fans. I love its anthemic qualities and cheesy 80’s guitar motif.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so glad I found your blog! It is refreshing to read well explained, non-biased (okay, perhaps a little bit, your own words 😉) reviews about k-pop songs. I feel like our music taste and opinions are almost perfectly aligned. I was waiting for someone to state that Mr Bass sound sooo much of the older SHINee songs, because that was exactly what I though when listened to this song for the first time. You are the first person to do so. I have been binge-reading your reviews during the past few days, please keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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