As somebody who didn’t get into Broduce 101, I mainly know of Kang Daniel for being famous (or the ex-boyfriend of TWICE’s Jihyo), and while his solo releases have been fine they haven’t grabbed my attention either. Now though, he’s used his personal battles that caused him to go on hiatus and channeled that into his most captivating release yet in “Paranoia”.
“Paranoia” isn’t a track that’ll immediately jump at you, but it’s not meant to either. The core of the track is a creeping synth that fits the theme of the song perfectly, helping generate the required atmosphere of anxiety and panic that the song’s lyrics then addresses. I was definitely impressed by seeing this side of himself, and while you never want anybody to go through what he did, using music as an outlet seems to have worked for him.
What I enjoyed about “Paranoia” is that while the theme is dark and edgy, there’s also still a certain melodic component in the foundation and a bounce to the instrumental, preventing it from being a drab, depressing affair. The pre-chorus build with punctuated vocals stood out in particular as impactful and something I found myself looking forward to on repeated listens. It does lack the flourish and peak of a lot of the best pop songs, though the way it expresses lashing back out at his inner demons was the correct way to go about it.
“Paranoia” marks a definite step forward in both music and artistry. He weaves his real-life experiences into the song, expresses a broad range of emotions about them and does it in as pop a way as possible. It took me more than a few listens to be convinced by it, but the song is more than the sum of its parts, and it eventually won me over, appropriately creeping into my eardrums