Song Review: A.C.E – Stand By You

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.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8

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11 thoughts on “Song Review: A.C.E – Stand By You

  1. Yes, this is your kind of ballad. It doesn’t sound out of place alongside your old favorites, warm and soft, pleasing vocal, little instrumental drop out hand clap part at the end.

    There is a hefty microphone effect on the vocal, so I am eagerly awaiting a live version to see how the boys do. I know some of them can sing pretty well, lets see how they do here.

    For me, for ballads, I prefer Kim Sung Kyu “Beautiful” from a couple weeks ago, because the melody is more expansive, and because I know he will sing it live just as well as if not better than the studio version – there doesn’t seem to be a live performance yet on youtube. (Also the recent SuJu KRY “When we were us”, they have been on a half dozen or more music shows, lovely.)


    • Yes, I was also surprised seeing the trio perform this in so many music shows. Still hoping for more.
      I would also love to add No One Knows by Seo Eunkwang…the live performances have been lovely.


      • SM even crafted their own back patio music set to have them sing even more. Its been about once per day KRY are singing live on a camera somewhere.

        The Seo Eunkwang is lovely too, I hadn’t listened to it before. … he tends to go a touch flat live which sounds worse than it is because he is accompanying his own backing voice which is right on key.

        Liked by 1 person

      • What, what was that I heard? Actual sung harmonies? More than a few times? Wha?!!!
        Good job, boys!

        The song itself is still a little too “pleasant” for my personal taste, but they did a good job with the performance,


  2. My first thought was actually that this sounded a lot like a Day6 ballad. I can even sort of imagine where each members of the vocal line would’ve sung their parts–Jae’s softer voice starts the song off, Wonpil picks up the song as the guitar kicks in full swing, etc. The song’s nice, but it’s much nicer to me if I don’t consider how strong some of their past titles have been.


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