[Review] Nirvana – KANG DANIEL ft. pH-1 & WDBZ

As I had mentioned yesterday, I will be covering some new releases from this week today and tomorrow. It is slightly hard with artists whom I have not yet reviewed their previous comeback yet making their return this week and I want to at least review their releases in chronological order. So those releases will be on hold until I post a review for their preceding release. But there are still some new tracks from artists whom I have already reviewed their previous comebacks. One of these artists is KANG DANIEL. While I have yet to review two b-sides that got the music video treatment from his first studio album (and thus have not reviewed the full album, The Story), it might have been a smart unintended move. Following the release of The Story and Upside Down back in May, KANG DANIEL has returned 6 months on with a repackaged album that has been retitled as The Story: Retold and the new lead single, Nirvana.

Of all the different tracks that I have heard from KANG DANIEL since his solo debut, the ones that ends up going harder are the ones that I much prefer, like Who U Are and PARANOIA. Joining that list is Nirvana. It just takes a bit of time for the track to have momentum, and I like quite like it for the fact that it doesn’t delve into a dark context. The verses of Nirvana are more atmospheric and airy. There isn’t much to it, but I do find the synths that make up the background of the verses to be appropriate for KANG DANIEL. The meatier parts of Nirvana, which ends up being in the chorus, really sells the song for me. I quite enjoyed the contrast between verses/bridge versus choruses. It makes the electronic pop chorus just feel so much more intense when compared to the verses. But it also gave purpose to the atmospheric vibe that the verses had opted for. Without such a chorus, I feel like I would have been bored with what was presented to us in the verses. What I also enjoyed about the chorus was the beat, bass and rhythm, which I thought had a sense of style and sleekness to it that oozes out charisma as KANG DANIEL sings. I liked the more refined approach that his vocals took, keeping in line with that sense of style, sleekness and charisma that I just mentioned. And the melodies and lines had a memorable ring to them. pH-1 has always been a great addition to songs, and his featuring in Nirvana helped prevent the song fall into a consistent state that would have felt ended up Nirvana potentially going into dry territory. His flow and energy fits in quite well. Overall, Nirvana is a successful and great comeback track in my books.

The music video for Nirvana features WDBZ, who performs the choreography alongside KANG DANIEL. For those who don’t know WDBZ is a dance crew that is made up of dancers who normally already perform alongside KANG DANIEL on stage. They are signed under with Konnect Entertainment (the home of KANG DANIEL himself) and participated in the recent MNET dance crew survival show, Street Man Fighter (which KANG DANIEL also was a host for). Anyhow, the music video was pretty cool. I also like how KANG DANIEL is carefree for the verses. I find the scenes throughout the video shows him as likeable and friendly, especially when he dons a wide smile that also makes his eyes smile. The choreography scenes coincides with the choruses, as the music here features that the intense momentum. And I feel like the producers of this video really captured impactful moments of the routine. I also really enjoyed the runway scenes, which also works really well with the music/chorus.

As touched on briefly, the choreography has it moments, with the start of the chorus being the most impactful move from the routine. But that might be influenced by the cuts we see in the music video. The rest of the choreography really showed off KANG DANIEL’s charisma and both KANG DANIEL and WDBZ’s performance skills.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.7/10

[Review] ZERO:ATTITUDE – SOYOU & IZ*ONE (ft. pH-1)

Prepare yourself for the first collaboration of 2021. Members from IZ*ONE (Eunbi, Sakura, Minju, Yuri and WonYoung) and former Sistar member Soyou have joined forces with pH-1 for the new single, ZERO:ATTITUDE. This new single forms part of the Pepsi X Starship Project, providing us with great collaborations between big KPOP artists since 2019. Other artists who have participated in this project include GFriend’s Eunha and VIXX’s Ravi (Blossom), Ong Seong Wu (Heart Sign), MONSTA X’s Hyungwon and former VIXX member Hongbin (Cool Love), Rain & Soyou (Beginning), Kang Daniel & Zico (Refresh) and CIX’s Bae Jin Young & WEi’s Kim Yo Han (I Believe).

Like majority of the collaborative efforts between the artists listed above, SOYOU and IZ*ONE do a pretty neat job with this single. I find ZERO:ATTITUDE to be super catchy, which reels me into the song even more. And this catchiness tempts me to press the replay button with its infectious sung-spoken hook. On top of that, the confident energy that is expressed in the lyrics comes off pretty well in the instrumentation. The vocals from both the IZ*ONE members and Soyou were very clean-cut, popping out over the EDM based instrumentation. I also felt the line distribution was pretty fair between the individuals who participated in the The instrumentation is a hit and miss for me. Aside from the positives that I have mentioned thus far about this element, I have to make the note that it is relatively plain. Currently, it feels suitable as a short and sweet commercial track (which is the whole purpose of this collaboration in the first place). If the instrumental was a little more interesting and spruced up a bit to be more dynamic, I think ZERO:ATTITUDE has what it takes to be an awesome title track as everything else is pretty much at that level for me. pH-1’s bridge was a bit random for my taste. I honestly thought the song could have done without this part, replaced with a dance break to boost the song’s dynamism. This is not critical of pH-1’s delivery as his rapping is awesome. It is more so that his trap breakdown sequence just didn’t fit the liveliness and pop roots of the rest of the song. But aside from that, ZERO:ATTITUDE is another strong collaboration between two big names in the industry.

In case you missed it, the music video for ZERO:ATTITUDE was a three minute long commercial for Pepsi’s newest Pepsi Zero Lime flavour. The walls are lined with cans of the drink and the members (per soft drink commercial protocols) down the drink in the music video. Thought I point that out. But aside from the video’s purpose, I am loving the overall urban aesthetics of the big screen, exposed scaffolding/stage structure and the outfits donned by Soyou, the IZ*ONE members and the dancers. It just felt on point and really showed off a sexier side that is synonymous with Soyou. It also felt suitable for the IZ*ONE members. I was wondering when the two parties would meet up to make this video and collaboration feel complete as they were pretty much separated throughout the first two thirds of the video. But they managed to bring the two parties together at the end, fulfilling my wish for this video.

The performance is pretty neat. I liked how it exudes confidence, fitting in with the song and its purpose. I also liked how good it made Soyou and the IZ*ONE members look.

Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10