Song Review: Kang Daniel – Who U Are

Kang Daniel teased his newest mini album last week with pre-release single Waves. Though it was derivative of so many songs within its genre, I appreciated its “all hands on deck” approach. New single Who U Are (깨워) removes the guest features to shine full spotlight on Daniel himself, though most of Waves‘ tropical genre elements remain. This causes Who U Are to feel underwhelming in comparison, despite being the album’s official title track.

From production to melody, Who U Are is subdued – almost to the point of leaving no impression at all. It repeats many of Waves’ instrumental tricks, yet forgets to bring the hooks. Relying on its dancehall groove, the track sees Daniel casting off vaguely melodic lines in rhythm to the beat. If that sounds incredibly boring, it’s because the song is. Rarely do I come away from a K-pop single feeling absolutely nothing, but even buoyed by its percussive drive, Who U Are is a total non-starter.

After several listens, a few charms poke through. Daniel’s vocal offers a cool little rhythmic breakdown during the bridge (right before we move into the requisite trap beats). He really should have leaned harder into this funky approach. He has many appeals as a performer, but his vocal color isn’t unique enough to drive a track this generic. Taken alongside the bargain bin production, Who U Are comes across as musical wallpaper – the means to an end rather than an attempt to craft a compelling song.

 Hooks 6
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 6.75

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5 thoughts on “Song Review: Kang Daniel – Who U Are

  1. Its all about song choice. This is clearly a song that is intended for a full boy band of 6 or 8 or 12, with the lines all parceled out one line at a time. I think Kang Daniel carries the song and all the parts pretty well, with a pleasing but not spectacular falsetto.

    However, the song itself is rather average boy band writing though. It is not specific to whatever makes Kang Daniel special. I don’t know what that is but whatever it is, it isn’t this. Imagine, perhaps, if Kang Daniel had a song like Lee Dae Hwi’s super slinky “Rose Scent Kiss” (without all the vocal processing), what that would do for all the fan girls and women. Mmm, yes. I would even perhaps become a Kang Daniel fan. I sure am a Lee Dae Hwi fan now. Or maybe not that ultra sexy concept if he isn’t comfortable with it, maybe a different concept, but whatever it is make it more fun than this one.

    So, its not bad. But its not good or great.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel like if someone else did this song I wouldn’t like it that much but there’s something about Daniel performing this that kinda… works for me? I like it, not more than Waves, but still. Also props to him for his English cause he always pronounces everything really well, makes the lyrics flow nicely. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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