Episode 23

A.C.E. "Under Cover" Albums (2019)

An Album a Day is my exploration into the Korean music scene. This podcast will cover mainstream, indie and some underground artists within the scene and provide both factual and opinionated commentary. The biggest benefit to sharing my thoughts this way is that it will hopefully expose you to more great music and exploration of your own.

Merry Christmas to those who observe the holiday and peaceful Friday to others. May your day be as stress-free and covid-free as possible, and may your home or workplace be set at a comfortable temperature. Clearly, this is a sign of the times to mention these things… consider the podcast a time capsule. Let’s go “Under Cover” with the original album and back again with the Mad Squad in its follow up, right after the drop.

You’re tuned into An Album a Day. Show start.

Hey y’all,  I need this group to survive. Whoever is handling their production choices is freaking winning. WINNING. I don’t even like every song! I am fresh off listening to today’s albums and they are not coming for the standard pop idol crown, oh no. No, A.C.E., much like other groups in the past three years I’ve yet to explore, have kicked a hole in the standard formula. I’m becoming a fan, this isn’t what I anticipated. Add on to the fact that these guys haven’t stayed within the confines of one lane over the course of multiple projects, I have no idea what to expect but the disorientation is enjoyable.

First, both “Under Cover” and “Under Cover: The Mad Squad,” released May 17 and October 29, 2019, respectively, are well-organized EPs. Each song, despite genre switching, makes sense where they’re placed on the album. There’s no way the production choices will appeal to every listener -- this is characteristic of all music albums -- but I’m willing to say that even those who don’t like what they’re putting out can’t claim A.C.E.’s production team as one that cannot put together an album. I know, this is one of those industry abstract terms, so allow me to make it easier to understand. 

Imagine that your favorite album, that start-to-finish, no skips favorite of yours, is a restaurant. The first track is the entrance, second leads you to your table, and so on until the final track closes your bill and you leave. You’re satisfied with the experience, yes? That’s the feeling of a well-organized music album. A poorly organized album brings you through the entrance, walks you to the restroom or kitchen door, passes a table with a delightful smell (that’s that one track that catches you off guard and seems enjoyable, but you’re not sure), then sits you down at the table with a sticky menu and no one comes to get your order fast enough. You’re confused about whether or not you need to go up to the counter to place the order or just leave. That discomfort and frustration? There’s an album for that. I’ve even produced a couple that could make a face wrinkle in confusion!

That’s why a major applause needs to go to A.C.E.’s production team. They’re skipping to and fro between the two albums from R&B to cafe music, to Friday night at the popular nightclub that’s running a promo that lets everyone in for free for an hour or two, based on drink prices; and a house party…and it works. It isn’t as chaotic as I’ve described it but it also is? I’m not known for gracefully describing things when it comes to music but I know you’ve got the idea. 

Unlike their reissue album, “A.C.E. Adventures in Wonderland,” “Under Cover” and “Under Cover: The Mad Squad,” are concepts that concluded upon themselves. Their first studio album could have a long-term concept whereas these two EPs were Boombastic and statement pieces that had a clear start and finish. They cannot -- no, they should not -- go down this technical path again. Yes, bring on another organized chaos experience but not to this degree. We genuinely had a moment of rockin’ out on this album, maybe go more in-depth with that concept later but don’t toss it in as a hail mary on the next album, okay?

K-pop fans on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being essential listening and 1 not worth mentioning, the A3Day rating for these two EPs is a 5 and I’m one album away from declaring myself a fan of what these guys are bringing to the scene. 

Speaking of scenes, I’m happy to announce that on the last episode of Season 4, a playlist will be available on YouTube for many of the songs we’ve mentioned throughout the show’s existence. The Apple Music playlist will be made public next week as well, as I’ve waited months before signing up so that I can get 3 months for free. Yes, I’m economical and without the help and support of Patreon Patrons, it wouldn’t have happened! Until those are live, continue to check out the #A3Day Highlights Playlist on Spotify, as it features tracks from today’s albums and past episode’s artists, and anticipate me finally changing the Spotify playlist’s cover to reflect the show logo. Remember, this is predominantly a one-woman show. Each declaration is a hope that it’ll come to fruition! Until the next episode, bye y’all.

There’s sponsored ads and social media hashtags but this show is truly supported by the efforts of my MACGoalas, the most amazing fan base a lil’ entertainer could ever have. 

Special shout out to my Patreon patrons -- the Student Body, the Scholars, and the Staff -- who keep my vision of becoming your favorite foreign Korean music historian, exploring all the industry from A to Z a real thing. If you’re interested in supporting the growth of this content, please visit patreon.com/multifacetedacg and for as little as $1.00 a month, you can get in on the magic.

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About the Podcast

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Multifacetedacg Presents: An Album a Day
A Review of Every Album in K-pop

About your host

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Ashley Griffin

Ashley "Multifacetedacg" Griffin is a diverse content creator. Since 2013, she's specialized in Hallyu entertainment, with an emphasis on K-pop and music production commentary.