With 2019’s Under Cover and 2020’s Favorite Boys (Goblin), A.C.E have proven their ability to deliver a knockout title track. I wish they would funnel all their energy into crafting more of these killer releases. But, K-pop is an ever-expanding market, and idol groups have a variety of options on their plate. Despite coming from a small agency, A.C.E have done a great job reaching out to international fans. I’ve been able to see them perform twice, in venues much more intimate than the usual K-pop act.
Perhaps because of this international interest, the group (minus Wow, who’s on hiatus) has embarked on an English-language project single with American duo Grey. Now, if I had my way, we’d replace that “e” with an “a” and pair A.C.E with Korean hip-hop producer Gray instead. His beats always deliver. But alas, the pull of TikTok ubiquity proves too strong, and the group have settled for a generic mid-tempo instead.
As a song, Down is inoffensive and unmemorable. It’s neither here nor there. But everything surrounding it, from the vertical TikTok video to the trite slang, feels inauthentic. I doubt A.C.E would ever say “I’m not the type to catch feelings” in their day-to-day life. The guys perform the material well, and glimmers of their engaging personalities occasionally poke through. I just don’t see the benefit of such a dynamic group performing a so-so American pop track. The plonky, half-hearted percussion certainly doesn’t help, though I guess that chorus is catchy in an annoying sing-song way.