A.C.E had the unlikely honor of releasing one of my favorite songs of 2019 and one of my least favorite songs of 2019. Apart from that, they’ve been a remarkably consistent group – at least when it comes to quality. Their release schedule has been anything but consistent. However, it looks like we’ll be getting a new album later this summer, with ballad Stand By You (편지를 써) acting as a pre-release.
Stand By You was composed by popular balladeer Kim Feel – his first work for an artist other than himself. Going into the song, I wasn’t particularly excited. I’m not a huge ballad fan, at least when it comes to promoted tracks. But, Stand By You is my kind of ballad. It’s got heart and heft to it, building to a satisfying, cathartic climax. In a lot of ways, it feels like a track that could have been found on Kim Sungkyu’s first mini album.
Right from the start, the song has a nice subdued build to it. A.C.E sound wonderful during the first verse, adding a touch of vibrato for texture as the vocal arrangement offers a nice echoed harmony effect. As we enter the chorus, guitar becomes more prominent and Stand By You feels like a classic rock ballad. This continues into the second verse, as subtle splashes of synth join the instrumental. But my favorite moment comes during the song’s climax, when the guys’ voices are chorused for a stadium-ready singalong. I would be tempted to call this cheesy approach a guilty pleasure, but I don’t feel guilty at all, clapping my hands in the air and getting swept up in the track’s nostalgic emotion.
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