Song Review: Kang Daniel – Antidote

Kang Daniel - Antidote

While most Produce 101 alum have migrated to an idol group or signed with agencies for solo promotions, Kang Daniel’s own Konnect Entertainment has afforded him a higher level of creative control. Lately, he’s leveraged that by incorporating his own experiences into his music. And although the results haven’t always been to my taste when it comes to sound and style, I give him credit for opening up in a vulnerable way.

New single Antidote feels like a sequel to February’s Paranoia. It again takes on heavy, emotional subject matter and boasts an instrumental that echoes that tone. The production makes a few novel turns, especially when the tempo kicks up during verse two. I like the idea of forging rock guitar to the alternative r&b beat. Other than that, the production is quite minimal throughout, which puts pressure on Daniel’s vocals to drive the track.

For a song with such personal elements, this style of arrangement is probably a smart choice. You hear Daniel right up front, putting emphasis on his story and emotion. But as with Paranoia, Antidote just doesn’t do anything for me. It’s not that I can’t relate to Daniel’s struggle, or appreciate how the music brings that struggle to life. I just don’t think the song itself is all that interesting. The chorus feels too repetitive, and the arrangement too sluggish. I guess I’m a fan of contrast, where an artist takes difficult subject matter and ties it to an unexpected instrumental to frame that content in a new way. Sad melodies and somber beats may illustrate a theme, but I rarely find them very engaging.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7

12 thoughts on “Song Review: Kang Daniel – Antidote

  1. I actually enjoy this more than any other single he’s released! It’s definitely not a classic, especially with this awesome year we’ve had, but there’s something very 2015 radio hits about the dark chugging guitar and R&B beats that weirdly appeals to me. I agree with how “uninteresting” this might feel though… I do wish the production was fuller with a bit more to compliment the beat and his vocals. He seems to be a charismatic performer but I don’t feel as sold with his vocal colour personally, which is my main issue with his songs tbh.


    • Mine too. It really comes down to personal taste, and I feel bad that his songs often don’t connect with me, resulting in lower ratings. I find him quite charismatic as a person, but the songs themselves rarely do anything for me. With that said, last year’s Who U Are was a major grower and would garner a much higher rating if I were to review it today.


  2. I would’ve appreciated touches of electric guiter (refer: feel like by woodz). I’m not a great fan of this song though I appreciate the fact that his vocals are spotlighted here. I like the tension of the bridge that could’ve lead to an epic finale. But it just felt repetitive and uninspiring. Way better than paranoia which did not have a sense of melody.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How did this get a higher score than Paranoia? I mean, Paranoia was flawed but certainly better than Cravity’s Vroom Skrrt which got the same score.

    Now that I am done with my rant, I must say, don’t worry, not hating at Nick’s rating, and I respect him for keeping his own opinion. Just voicing my opinion on the song.

    This song though is a 7 for me too.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I love Paranoia and I love this as well, although not as much. There’s something about his voice that catches on my heart. And his voice does that pretty run or whatever it is in the chorus that is just delightful. I also like the guitar, and I guess the bass (?) that gives the song an uneasy feeling.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It’s alright. His vocals do sound better than all/most of his previous releases.
    The problem is that with so many other strong solo male releases out there just in the past few months, this one just doesn’t stand out. It is a perfectly fine song, performed well, but is it enough?
    Rating is about right.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like sad songs that are groovy that make me dance about subjects that I shouldn’t really, while also seeing that emotion show through even though it’s masked behind a beat. I like sad songs that feel grand/dramatic, feeling the chill in my spine as I take in the emotions and intensity of the ballad (most k-pop ballads are often not grand enough). I also like sad songs that feel like a fever dream, where the constant noise or energy keeps it steadily high and never lulling or boring. One thing that these have in common is that the songs are smooth though having some edge is good too. Even rock songs that intend to be sad have a sense of smoothness despite the intended rough texture of electric guitars.

    I don’t like sad songs that are a struggle to listen to. This is a sad song, but it’s the type where I’m pained by the execution. Usually I dislike such a song because it’s boring or too melodramatic but Antidote is just kind of rough to listen to. The vocals teeter between emotional and just plain strained which affects the hook really badly which is badly designed too. The production doesn’t help with the sluggishness. The pre-chorus shows off some bit of smoothness but then it goes back to the hi-hats and were back to struggling. The second verse is somewhat better, but that’s it. It’s uninteresting, lacking in dynamics, lacking intensity despite the roughness and also just hard to listen to.

    Maybe it’s meant to be that way to resemble KD’s own feelings and experiences, but I also don’t want to listen to that, KD’s also probably being really sincere about his emotions which is why it ends up like this, because what you feel isn’t necessarily what sounds good. Because most of the time, if you just feel like shit it doesn’t really translate well unless you find a way to make it interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Digital is my buried treasure for sure!! I didn’t really connect w any other song on the album but digital is so cool and such a treat, in spite of the instrumental sounding like a blinding lights knock off 😂 it’s a good thing!

    Liked by 2 people

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