Review

Song Review: A.C.E – Favorite Boys

In an alternate reality, A.C.E’s Favorite Boys (도깨비) acted as the follow-up to their excellent 2019 single Under Cover, and I hailed it as an epic one-two punch. Instead, we had to suffer through Savage to get here. But, the journey was worth it. Favorite Boys is the dramatic, bombastic successor I’ve been hoping to hear. It draws upon A.C.E’s unique charms to craft a comeback that feels both old and new.

In a K-pop landscape filled with tinny, plonky percussion, Favorite Boys’ thundering beat is immensely refreshing. There’s a sense of depth to this instrumental, fleshed out by rock guitar and horror-show synth rather than the same sampled flourishes we hear too often. The production also embraces a remarkable consistency. Never once does the track force itself in needless directions, and this sense of focus allows the energy to build without sacrificing needed spotlight on individual performances.

Favorite Boys is an excellent example of how to utilize idol rappers within the confines of a K-pop track. Its verses are largely driven by rap, but this exists as part of the musical framework the song has set up, accentuating the energy rather than spinning off in disconnected directions. That’s not to say that the guys’ flow isn’t dynamic. The second verse unveils a breathless double shot that hits hard.

Favorite Boys’ chorus isn’t as instantly engaging as Under Cover’s was, but its mix of chanted elements and more traditional melody works very well. Lesser songs would have rested on its first few bars, anchoring the track with a catchphrase-type hook. Favorite Boys is smart to inject a melodic follow-up. And although it’s not super flashy, this little refrain has quickly become my favorite moment in the track. It helps that it’s underpinned by an instrumental that chugs along with great theatricality, knowing exactly when to clobber you over the head with a beat drop and when to pull back in service to the vocals. This is great K-pop, start to finish, and easily one of the year’s most thrilling comebacks.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 10
 RATING 9.5


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37 thoughts on “Song Review: A.C.E – Favorite Boys

  1. I’m releasing a breath I didn’t even know I was holding. I love this, especially the prechorus (which reminds me of Undercover) and I also get some Callin vibes which is just great. So glad this was good, God.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I hope this isn’t A.C.E’s Peak because If they’re offering songs like this ……. DO IT IN 2021!

    This song was the Bombast I needed , We Needed! The bombast we all were craving for ……. It’s not my favorite song but it’s certainly up there……. A.C.E Outdid themselves!

    Seriously , This song is awesome , especially the ending!

    Why didn’t we get content like this , all year?

    Liked by 1 person

      • The main problem I had with 2019 was that there was no instant hit song for me , no 9.5 Song I can look forward to listen to. 2018 had Complete , 2017 had The Star of Stars which both turned to be my favorite songs of their respective years. 2016 had Navillera and Very Nice. 2015 had I Need U . 2011 – 2014 was a golden age so there were plenty of 9.5’s but 2019 had none. So I am glad 2020 has at least 1 9.5 – worthy song

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  3. i thought most boy group comebacks are becoming cliche but ACE is stepping up their game with each comeback . they just need a little more recognition internationally like ATEEZ AND TXT.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a perplexing producer MadFresh is! Under Cover was my favorite song last year but this may have just topped it.

    There were shades of ONF’s Complete to this two-part chorus for me–a great first chorus that I would’ve been happy with as-is followed by one that made my jaw hit the floor. I also adored that first melodic verse–I wish it had appeared more than once </3

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yeah I’m a bit late. And as for my opinion on the song I think its AMAZING, and all of my other thoughts would just be repeats of the previous comments. So I’ll just go over my first listen thoughts.

    First Listen:
    -Hey, thats the cool part from the teaser,
    -Oh wow, this pre-chorus is different
    -Wait, did they just change the chorus melody?
    -Oh this chorus is LONG, and in a good way
    -OMG verse two and we still haven’t lost any energy
    -This bridge added some variety at the perfect time
    -Gets to the finale: y e s , yes, Yes, YES

    And then I replayed the track till half an hour past my bedtime. But god in all seriousness this might be my favourite track of the year, and this is no exaggeration

    Top 3 ace title tracks
    1. Favourite Boys 2. Callin 3. Under Cover

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s exactly how my list goes (with some wiggle room as Favorite Boys is so new, it might end up second or third)! Under Cover is a monster of a song and always struck me as something that SHOULD be my favorite, but Callin’ has something really special to it that grants it the higher place.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This is what I needed this year. A.C.E deliver the best when they are paired with a rock beat. Undercover worked so well cos it never let up or succumbed to a drop, and Favourite Boys is no different.

    I need to properly listen again but I’m at work but I think this is easily top 3 song material of the whole year right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I definitely agree that this song is one of the best of the year, but it’s not the “MIROH” of 2020 for me. I enjoy the song but I think that’s heavily due to the outstanding chorus/drop. Some of the parts in the verses feel a little odd for me and don’t flow the way I would like it to – but that’s something I’m willing to adapt to. In terms of ratings, I would switch this with your initial rating for “Undercover”.

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  8. I like the melody of Under Cover just a bit more but man, this ENERGY is undeniable. I’m just glad A.C.E have returned to form in a HUGE way. Really, really digging this, probably gonna be occupying my playlists for the rest of the month.

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  9. Late to the party. These midnight releases.

    I agree with Ohm. The chorus is outstanding. The verses are just OK. They do the job but not outstanding to me, more marking time in the same style than having their own purpose. The song doesn’t hit its stride for me until about 0:30 when the first halloween synth motif shows up, after half of the first verse is already gone.

    Then
    dum dum walla walla chup chup HIT ME!

    Lesser songs would have stuck with that line as the only chorus element with a drop, but this song builds and then two lines later switches to the sung part of the chorus, and that is what makes it awesome. It seems that each tie the chorus comes around it adds another layer of instruments or vocals. And then One more time with feeling!

    Mid to High 8’s for me.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. This song is an absolute delight. I almost can’t believe that this is a song in 2020. The guitars are aggressive, the percussion is super punchy (especially on the pre-chorus), the vocals are on point. The brief moment of calm before the chorus reminds me of ATEEZ’s Wonderland, one of my all-time favorite songs.

    But let me talk about the rap in the second verse. It is positively refreshing to hear a rap without a musically nonsensical trap breakdown. They stuck to the musical themes in the song and carried through with the guitar on the rap, and it works perfectly. My God. I’m now looking back at all the great songs from this year that have been ruined with a trap breakdown when all they needed to do is not that. All those songs went from 9-9.5/10 to 8-8.5/10 for me because they decided to succumb to musical trends, but I’m just happy I got to listen to this song without wrinkling my nose.

    I’m not really familiar with A.C.E.’s music, but I feel like I have to be now. I welcome any and all recommendations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Under Cover is them at the height of their powers.

      I also really dig their brief turn as a hardstyle/techno gabber group (Cactus, Callin’)

      Actually everything is great except for Savage. Odd duck in an otherwise flawless discography.

      Liked by 2 people

        • I know! I don’t know if anyone else was doing EDM like THAT and there still feels like a well of untapped potential, so as much as I love love love their rock/hip-hop hybrid what if they hearken back to that sound even just for the B-sides?

          (Full disclosure I have not yet listened to the rest of the album so idk if there’s something there. Just this and Golden Goose because it came up on my timeline. Will do posthaste.)

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  11. Man, Oh Man I missed A.C.E but if they need a ten-month long hiatus to drop stuff like this I WILL WAIT. Undercover was my favorite song of 2019 so to say this is the comeback I’ve been waiting all 2020 for would be an understatement. I would already put this on par with Undercover, after that I don’t feel a need to compare the two because this is clearly a sequel. I’m simply going to relish in the existence of this knockout duo and play them back to back forever.

    A.C.E is such a powerhouse of a group and I am never going to get over the fact that they should be twenty times more popular than they are. I mean in terms of raw individual talent they give me Shinee vibes and that is literally the greatest compliment I can give them. They are that good and they continually point out why being “Popular” or “Hyped” means nothing when it comes to the final product. Hype should come after the release, not before and A.C.E deserves all the hype and more!

    If this isn’t my favorite release of 2020 by the time this year is over, I will be shocked. So, 2020 beat this, I dare you…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. this is so good?? i didn’t expect anything to top hello stranger this year (though i might’ve overplayed it just a tad) but Favourite Boy shoved its way to the first place ranking.

    it’s surprising how quickly this song went by compared to other comebacks this year (if we consider a 3 minutes 30 seconds song relatively long – streaking culture,,,). Every second was enjoyable and the contrast between guitar + synths + empty space was utilised so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve only listened to A.C.E. in passing so I didn’t have any expectations for what this would sound like. I personally hate the intro. I wish the song just started with the first verse. The tempo change between the 2nd chorus & the bridge could be better. Those are the only bad things I have to say. The vocals in the first verse kind of remind me of Checkmate by The Boyz (which I really liked), but the instrumental is more uptempo and dynamic. The pre-chorus is great (I especially love the way it’s arranged the first time), & the beginning of the chorus handles the change from a power note into big energy chanting really well. Off the top of my head, this is one of the most compelling instrumentals I’ve heard this year. I’d rank it somewhere between an 8 and a 9.

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  14. I haven’t really looked into ACE that much, their songs haven’t really caught my attention until now, but my eyes widened as soon as this started. You word it perfectly, this production has DEPTH. That sound, its great! The rap sounds really good. This is pretty awesome!

    Like

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