Kang Daniel’s new release turns the dark pandemic world a bright ‘CYAN’

Like going outside, this album is a complete breath of fresh air at a moment we needed it.

Jacqueline Sumida

Like going outside, this album is a complete breath of fresh air at a moment we needed it.

On March 24th, 2020, former Wanna One center and overall “Produce 101: Season 2” winner Kang Daniel released his second mini-album “CYAN” after a short hiatus. In my pandemic filled world, this release seemed to be a light of hope during this dark time.

Kang Daniel is most famous for taking first place on the hit survival show “Produce 101: Season 2” and becoming the center of its project group Wanna One. The group itself lasted for a year and a half, ending on the last day of 2018. Afterward, Daniel ended his contract with LM Entertainment and founded his own company, Konnect Entertainment, in 2019.

Finally, on July 25, 2019, Daniel debuted solo with his first EP “Color on Me” and it’s lead single “What Are You Up To,” showcasing his great vocal skill and new color. Later he would come back with the mysterious single “TOUCHIN’,” but promotions would be cut short as Daniel himself dealt with his anxiety.

This album itself seems miles away from the sadness Daniel dealt with previously, as it really keeps an upbeat tempo the entire time. While “Color on Me” was more professional and polished, “CYAN” is playful and carefree.

An ocean-trap instrumental leads throughout the album, accented by steel drums and easy-flowing static background in opener “Adulthood.” The instrumentation is offset by the song’s message of the challenges of becoming an adult, making your own decisions and losing yourself for a minute in these new obstacles.

“I think I’ve become an adult for a moment/ We always act according to plans/ Stray away a little, what are you doing, why you trippin’/ I think I’ve become an adult for a moment.”

Lead single “2U” is Daniel showing his more youthful side for sure. Growing up in the spotlight and being apart of a project group that soared up the charts alongside powerhouses like BTS and EXO could take away those feelings of first love easily. However, it’s simple lyrics and musical complexities are cute and endearing.

The bouncing electronics dance around Daniel’s impressive vocal ability, a special piece that floats around the entire record. From his first EP to now, it’s clear that Daniel’s vocals have improved overall as he effortlessly keeps his upper range light and floaty while his lower range is meaty in comparison.

It’s most obvious in the verses and pre-choruses of “Jealous,” my personal favorite track from this album. Daniel’s lower range in every verse provides an excellent contrast to his floaty nature within the acapella pre-chorus and chorus. Each riff alongside the main vocal is just cherries on top of this chocolate fudge sundae of a release.

Wrapping up the record with the seductive “Interview” and the previously released secret agent soundtrack in “TOUCHIN’” Kang Daniel shows that his “CYAN” colored world defies his other work and provides some much-needed happiness in these dark times. From me just entering “Adulthood,” I know a good thing and the one thing I have to say “2U” is that this record will color your dark quarantine world a lighter shade of blue.