K-pop group A.C.E. returns from military service to drop new album 'My Girl: My Choice'

SEATTLE - South Korea’s mandatory military enlistment for most men doesn’t exclude K-Pop idols.

Following their discharge, four out of the five members of A.C.E returned to the stage with their album, "My Girl: My Choice" after two years on Feb. 22.

Member Yuchan was not able to participate in this release due to his late discharge date.

While a break of that long can be scary for a group, hoping they aren’t forgotten by fans in the fast-moving world of K-pop, the members of A.C.E knew they would be okay, and took their experience as something that would help them grow as people, and artists.

"I believe all of us have matured and become more adult-like in this comeback. It has also provided us with a chance to refresh and reflect on our lives," says Kim Byeongkwan.

While A.C.E is known for their more powerful tracks, for this long-awaited album, they decided to switch things up.

"For this comeback, our youngest member, Yuchan, was unable to join us, leaving only four of us for this promotion. Considering this, along with our return after a long hiatus, we decided to introduce easy-to-listen-to songs rather than tracks like ‘Undercover’ or ‘Savage’ to reintroduce ourselves to the audience. When Yuchan rejoins us, we aim to deliver a performance even more impressive than that of ‘Undercover’ and ‘Savage.’ This comeback focused on highlighting our vocal talents and creating music with broad appeal beyond our fanbase," explains Byeongkwan.

The title track, "My Girl", is a fun and bubbly pop track that the members enjoyed getting to be a part of.

"Listening to the songs on this album, I saw it as an opportunity to reveal a vocalist side of us that we haven't fully showcased to our fans or the general public," says Lee Donghun, who just finished showcasing his own vocal abilities on the show, "Build Up".

The album features seven tracks, three of which are English versions of the other tracks including "My Girl".

For the music video, which has gained over 4 million views since release, the group decided to try something new.

Having their fans, called "CHOICE", star in the video alongside them.

"Filming a music video together with the fans is something that has never been tried before, so it was an honor for both A.C.E and CHOICE to be the pioneers in this endeavor. Initially, I thought it would be impossible, but our fans' trust and support made it possible, for which I am immensely grateful. It really was an overwhelming experience. Sharing this once-in-a-lifetime moment with our fans brought me immense joy," says Donghun.

Returning to the stage in front of fans was also something the members were looking forward to.

"We noticed from video clips that we often wear genuine smiles while performing on stage. These expressions weren't scripted; they were our natural reactions to seeing our fans," says WOW.

On top of this album release, A.C.E is also preparing for their first US tour in June since before their enlistment.

"We are gearing up for a more diverse, sophisticated, and interactive experience with our audience," says Kim Byeongkwan.

But seven years since their debut, the members say their goals have remained the same.

"The hiatus during military service strengthened the trust among the members. I think it was a time that I realized how valuable the team and the teammates are. Growing older also brought maturity to our dynamic. It reinforced my desire to stay together as a team for as long as possible and continue this journey together," says Donghun. A sentiment shared by member Junhee.

"I always say this, but I want to express our gratitude for looking up and listening to A.C.E and sending your love and support. As a team, our goal is to persevere and continue singing in front of our fans for as long as possible. We are determined to make this happen, so please trust us and let's create more lasting memories together. We love you," he concludes.