Song Review: Kang Daniel – Nirvana (ft. pH-1 & WDBZ)

Kang Daniel - Nirvana (ft. pH-1 & WDBZ)Repackaged albums are still common in K-pop, but they usually arrive a month or two after the original release. We’re six months away from Kang Daniel’s The Story and he’s surprised us with an extra chapter. The Story: Retold adds a handful of songs, including new single Nirvana. I can’t say I enjoyed any of the tracks from the original album, so it’s nice to have something new to sink my teeth into. To my ears, Nirvana is the strongest single Kang Daniel’s released in years.

Daniel shines best on upbeat tracks that harness his skills as a dancer. Nirvana isn’t quite a club banger, but it has a sense of build and release that makes for a satisfying energy. What begins as a slow-burn verse soon grows into a compelling centerpiece. Nirvana hinges on its big beat drop, and this technique is elevated thanks to a catchy vocal melody that takes equal precedence. There’s no dead space within this hook. It’s not the strongest chorus I’ve ever heard, but I appreciate its focus and the way it utilizes Kang Daniel’s airy vocal to maximum effect.

Rapper pH-1 joins the party to offer a brief verse, bringing extra texture to the track. If anything, I wish Nirvana committed more to its club-ready beats. It has one foot on the dancefloor while its head is often in the clouds. It’s at its best when it’s loud and proud with its beat-forward approach. Grungy dance music offers a great, untapped platform for Kang Daniel’s strengths. With any luck, this will be the first step toward exploring that genre further.

Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8

Grade: B


9 thoughts on “Song Review: Kang Daniel – Nirvana (ft. pH-1 & WDBZ)

  1. Unlike Nick, I actually connected with some tracks of the original album, when it was released back in May. For me, title track Upside Down and Parade became minor highlights, while I truly fell in love with Don’t Tell featuring Jessi, making the latter receive an 8.5 rating.
    As for this one, it is a huge step forward. The dancefloor energy is a pure chef’s kiss. Still, me being me, I’d rather prefer a more vocal-focused chorus.
    My heart says I gotta put the song into the high-8’s, but my mind says mid-8’s.
    So givin’ it a solid 8.75.


  2. i really, really enjoy the vibe of this song. puts me in a good mood. like the commenter above, i also liked don’t tell and parade. 😀

    (nick, i think wdbz are a dance crew under his company so i don’t think they actually had a verse or anything in the song, they probably did the choreo. 😅 i could be wrong tho haha)


  3. I like this and agree it’s a better title than Upside Down.Upbeat Daniel is always fun, but very downbeat Loser (feat.DBO) was the song I liked most on the original album. Also enjoying the addition of Ghost with the re-release.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I quite enjoyed this release! It was such a pleasant listening experience even at first; I honestly wasn’t expecting that. Although, it could’ve been better as a summer release, it feels refreshing in this season.

    I agree with your rating and I also think that this the best single that Kang Daniel has released so far!


  5. I was surprised how much I liked this because I’ve never understood why Kang Daniel is so popular. But this is giving Wonho a run for his money in terms of dance tracks!


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