After nearly three years as a soloist, Kang Daniel has finally released his first full album. That’s a huge accomplishment for anyone — let alone a guy who started his own agency and essentially manages his own career. Though I’ve not always connected with his music, I admire how often he infuses it with his emotion and experience. It’s fitting, then, than this new project is called The Story.
After his Color series, Upside Down lightens the mood with a soft R&B groove and amiable energy. When writing about this track, I fear I’m going to be repeating much of my thoughts from GOT7’s release yesterday (it wouldn’t be the first time!). I tend to be pretty picky when it comes to mid-tempos like this. Upside Down doesn’t quite pass the groove test, but it gets close. The percussion that opens the track ticks off just about every pet peeve possible, from the pots-and-pans percussion to the muted synth. But, things improve as we hit the pre-chorus and more interesting drum tones rear their head.
I like the chanted portion of the chorus, but the melody itself feels a bit clunky. It’s pleasant and catchy, yet lacks the bite I’d hope for in a song of this style. With both the instrumental and Kang Daniel’s vocal quite subdued, Upside Down could do with an injection of energy. This comes briefly during the dance break, which jolts the track with rugged synth. The switch-up kicks off a strong finale, where Daniel’s vocal is supported by some great ad-libs.