Song Review: Kang Daniel – Touchin’

I was quite hard on Kang Daniel’s July debut. It felt too beholden to trends, at the expense of really showcasing his appealing personality. Still, the album was a huge commercial success, cementing his status as one of 2019’s biggest soloists. With new single Touchin’, his ban on music shows has been lifted and he’ll be able to actively perform and promote the track. This couldn’t have come at a better time, because Touchin’ is much more enjoyable than What Are You Up To.

Touchin’ positions Daniel as Korea’s answer to Charlie Puth. But while he’s still aping international trends, this one feels fitting and comfortable. Composed by a cavalcade of writers, the song bumps on a lean funk-pop groove. Its first verse is a bit of a red herring, pulling in those infernal xylophone synths that were all the rage this summer. However, once the chorus hits, Touchin’ unveils its central bassline. From here, the song rarely takes a moment to breathe. I love the shot of guitar that emerges after each chorus. This element could’ve been explored further, but its very presence gives the track unique texture.

As streamlined as the production is, Touchin’s melody is even more scant. This works both for and against the song. On one hand, its simplicity matches the single-minded propulsion of the instrumental. However, the one-phrase chorus threatens to tire quickly. Daniel sells this refrain as best as he can, throwing in a few MJ-esque whoops and nailing the cool confidence that a song like this demands. His vocals are occasionally warped into interesting flourishes of added rhythm, which makes me wonder how galvanizing Touchin’ could have sounded if the producers dirtied things up and really leaned into the funk.

 Hooks 7
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.25

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3 thoughts on “Song Review: Kang Daniel – Touchin’

  1. His debut single was alright to me. I haven’t listened to this one yet because I was waiting to hear your thoughts on it first haha. Anyways, since everyone is doing it with movies, pop songs and other stuff, will you do a best k-pop songs of the decade? (Although I’m pretty sure The Chaser is 1st already.) Doesn’t matter if it’s top 100 or 50 or even less since you still have a lot of stuff to follow up on this blog.


  2. I am not in the right demographic to comment on this artist and song. It seems to lack the charisma that made him a breakout star, but what do I know about teenage taste.

    To me it seems like watered down Yunho songs from his solo album earlier this year. Robot/Follow and Swing come to mind.

    Related topic: I have been driving my husband’s car this week. He has a surprising number of Prince cds in it. Now, I really dont know what genre Prince is in besides “the Prince genre”, but whatever it is, Daniel could use some of that funky charisma. Nah, who am I kidding, the world has had only one Prince.


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