This last week just might be my favorite week in music so far this year as (at least) four new tracks released this week are very likely going to end up being four of my favorite tracks of the year. Check out these amazing tracks from Kang Daniel, NU’EST and ORβIT.
“Antidote” by Kang Daniel
Kang Daniel is a special artist. He has been able to deliver consistently amazing performances while having to deal with many struggles, including his mental health. And that battle is the focus of his latest album Yellow. Like “Paranoia” released in February, this album and title track “Antidote” is very personal. Expressing his feelings and what he’s been through, through music presents an enthralling experience. It’s almost indescribable being allowed in to his thoughts in this way. But he lets it all out there and it is truly captivating.
“Antidote” is a fascinating experience on its own. The melody is an absolute vibe and you’ll find yourself grooving to it almost immediately. But then you listen and look at the lyrics and remember what the song is actually about. That dramatic contrast is so fascinating.
I must say, I was waiting for a big rousing climax that never came. The song seemed to be building up to one and I think it would’ve been amazing. But again, the song is a personal and introspective track. Really, just the way he is able to express himself in this way is truly mesmerizing. You’re left in awe. And the entire album experience is one to be had as well, especially as a musical journey through Kang Daniel’s healing process.
“Inside Out” by NU’EST
NU’EST is finally back. Almost a year since their last release, Romanticize is the group’s first full-length album in seven years! I had to go back and check to see that the title track for that album was “Good Bye Bye.” And that definitely put things into perspective. NU’EST has been through so much during their career. And when many groups call it quits after the requisite seven years (some unfortunately not even making it to seven), seeing NU’EST be able to keep going and finally finding major success has been so exciting to watch. They’ve certainly come a long way.
And the title track for this album “Inside Out” certainly exemplifies their experience and maturity at this point in their careers. The song is an uptempo house track that at the same time feels measured and mellow. The lyrics, the performance and the visuals all come together in a sophisticated and confident way.
If you’ve followed the group’s discography since their debut, it is very easy to see their evolution and growth. Slowly, but surely, NU’EST always took steps forward while still maintaining a voice, style and sound that was distinctly theirs.
I haven’t listened to the rest of the album yet. But knowing from experience, it’s going to be one that I’ll be putting on repeat.
“Dionaea” by ORβIT
“Blind” by ORβIT
ORBIT has wowed me since their debut. “Universe” is one of my favorite songs of 2020. But what really impressed me was how stunning that debut truly was. The visuals, the glossy music video, the performance; you’d never think they were runners-up on Produce 101. Now with the release of their first mini album, the group is back to show off once more.
Leading off the album are two title tracks with music videos for each being divided between the Japanese and Korean lines of the group. Both “Dionaea” and “Blind” are very different vibes, but equally amazing. “Dionaea,” whose music video features J-line members June, Tomo, Shunya and Yogo, is an absolute vibe and right up my alley. The group perfectly brings to life the lyrics written by June. A combination of both soft and passionate vocals match the dreamlike melody. Just stunning.
Meanwhile, K-line members Younghoon, Heecheo and Yoondong bring the track “Blind” to life with their music video performance. The experience of the former HALO members are on full display as they effortlessly convey the more seductive and mature vibe of this R&B dance track.
I eagerly await the rest of the album from this exceptional rookie group that certainly doesn’t feel like it.
ETA: So I learned later this past week that the Korean members have actually been in Seoul this entire time. Thus, the music videos for the dual title tracks were split amongst the Japanese members in Tokyo and the Korean members who have remained in Seoul. But! Apparently, this has been the case even for their debut! I would have never known the members filmed the “Universe” music video separately between Seoul and Tokyo. The MV looks absolutely seamless. It makes the music video even more amazing. And I now hope the full group will be able to perform on stage together or be in a music video together in the future!