[Review] Touchin’ – Kang Daniel

Kang Daniel is nominated for Best New Male Soloist and Best Solo Choreography in the 2019 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Click here to support Kang Daniel and your other favourites!

Kang Daniel, one of the most highly anticipated solo debuts of 2019, has officially made his first comeback via a digital single, Touchin’. He made his solo debut back in July with What Are You Up To and the mini-album, Color On Me. While he topped charts with his album, he was not allowed to actively promote the album, which I assumed is due to the aftereffects of the lawsuit in which he filed against his previous company months prior to his debut. But with that officially behind him, it seems like Kang Daniel can freely release and promote tracks under his own label without any hindrance.

And I do hope that he does promote this track. Why? Well, I found the song to be what I had expected his debut to be like. There is a level of intensity that I found to be very appealing. But it was subtle compared to other dance tracks. Also adding to the appeal of the song is the instrumentation. I really like how the song built up suspense using the spaced-out xylophone beat. This was shortlived, as the buildup came quite quickly and we are launched into the chorus. The chorus has this rhythmic beat that is undeniably catchy. Following that was a techno-like guitar synth which I thought was fantastic. It continued to drive the song and felt fresh each time it was revisited. Finally, Kang Daniel’s vocals were on point. I really like the lower register at which he sings, followed by the ad-libs he presented at the end of the song. Overall, Touchin’ is a very well-produced and captivating, which is perfect for Kang Daniel.

I thought this was a really clever video. I like how ‘home Kang Daniel’ adds a slightly comedic touch to the video. He is too engrossed in the movie that he managed to add Tobasco sauce to his attire. ‘Movie Kang Daniel’ is much smoother and cooler than the home version. He stars in his own vintage spy movie, wins a game of Mahjong and walks away with the actress and case of money. It seems like the actress gets kidnapped and Kang Daniel goes on a mission to save her, which he thankfully does. He does get shot at along the way but the oldness of the VHS tape skips that part entirely. I did expect some sort of twist at the end, such as the actress coming out to share some pizza with ‘home Kang Daniel’ or for her to run into his house. But I guess that would have been unnecessary when I think about it in a deeper sense.

The performance shows off the sensual and sleek side of Kang Daniel that fans had loved since his time on Produce 101 Season 2 and promotions as part of Wanna One. I thought he showcased a lot of his dance skills in this performance and also incorporated what seems to be an upgraded version of that thigh-related move that he made really popular (I am quite sure there is a proper name for the move, I just can’t think of it right now).

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.9/10

[Review] What Are You Up To – Kang Daniel

The second solo debut today has been a long time coming. But finally, Kang Daniel has returned to the stage with What Are You Up To and his first mini-album, Color On Me. It has been a choppy few months for Kang Daniel, who left his LM Entertainment after nullifying his contract with said management. After the courts ruled in his favour, Kang Daniel established his own agency (Konnect Entertainment). But his debut was further delayed after LM Entertainment decided to appeal, which LM later lost, allowing the popular solo artist to return to the industry via his own agency. This also makes Kang Daniel the final member of Wanna One to relaunch their careers after the disbandment of the group earlier this year.

But we are here for the review, aren’t we? For some reason, I expected something a little more intense from the artist. So, my first impressions of the track were not that positive. However, while writing this review, I am warming up to it a fair bit. What Are You Up To is a synth-pop track and its biggest weapon was pace. I found the instrumental to be perfectly paced. It didn’t get right to the point, opting for some suspense building. I find this very cool, especially since the song opted to stay very neutral overall.  I really like the loud metallic banging that could be heard during the chorus. That really amped up the intensity for me. While it is a dance track. it falls towards the pleasant side of the spectrum, which is another intriguing aspect. His dance break sounded quite trendy and sleek. Kang Daniel’s vocals are great and I like how he used autotune to help prevent his song sounding monotone and prevent repetition. I think the only thing that could have been added was a rap sequence. Doesn’t have to be done by Kang Daniel but I felt it was missing that extra oomph.

The song is about yearning to catch up with one’s lover. And the video shows that I think. Kang Daniel starts off bored, wanting to meet with his lover. We see him attempt to reach for his lover through many mechanisms but is unable to get through. It is definitely nice to see the familiar face again. Besides Kang Daniel’s visuals, I find the music video to have a nice pastel colour palette. Overall, things looked cool and visually appealing.

At this stage, there doesn’t seem like there will be promotions. However, his agency and the broadcasting companies are still actively discussing promotions. It will be a total miss opportunity to not bring him on board, especially with his fanbase and popularity. I thought the choreography showcased a lot of Daniel’s dance skills, appropriate for the song. The dance break and the pre-chorus routines have to be my pick for the best parts.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10