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“PARANOIA” is a song by South Korean singer Kang Daniel. It was released as a digital single on February 16, 2021 by KONNECT Entertainment and distributed by Sony Music Korea.

Development and Writing

On February 1, Kang Daniel officially began the countdown for his comeback with a teaser video. A week later, KONNECT released the digital single’s cover image and described “PARANOIA” as a new turning point. Kang Daniel, who wrote the song himself, expresses the pain, conflict, and anguish that he actually experienced.[s] [s]

Daniel held an online press conference to commemorate the single’s release and shared that “PARANOIA” is a song that acts as a keyword for his story that will unfold. Performance-wise, it was constructed so one could be stimulated but also find comfort.

“PARANOIA” is a song by South Korean singer Kang Daniel. It was released as a digital single on February 16, 2021 by KONNECT Entertainment and distributed by Sony Music Korea.

Development and Writing

On February 1, Kang Daniel officially began the countdown for his comeback with a teaser video. A week later, KONNECT released the digital single’s cover image and described “PARANOIA” as a new turning point. Kang Daniel, who wrote the song himself, expresses the pain, conflict, and anguish that he actually experienced.[s] [s]

Daniel held an online press conference to commemorate the single’s release and shared that “PARANOIA” is a song that acts as a keyword for his story that will unfold. Performance-wise, it was constructed so one could be stimulated but also find comfort.

When asked to summarize “PARANOIA” in a sentence, Daniel stated, “The moment when a person falls apart the greatest, it’s not due to an outer force, but rather when you fall apart due to your own self.” His concern was how to portray a person going crazy, and the answer to that came from his own experience. On MBC’s Radio Star, Daniel said “PARANOIA” was inspired by his hiatus in 2019 due to mental and physical health issues, so the song is very dark. The song expressed his paranoia that he might harm himself. He confessed he lost his will to live but overcame his condition after being inspired by other artists.[s] [s]

Daniel shared during his press conference, “The theme in itself is heavy and distant, but since I’m resolving feelings I’ve personally felt, I wanted to express them honestly. I believe this is a feeling everyone can relate to, there’s only a difference in the extent and the depth. I’m thankful that I can display the feelings I’ve felt through music. The reason I put focus on such a dark aspect is because the majority of people are reluctant to bring this up. I wanted to confess my inner concerns and communicate them.”[s]

Daniel also said he thought more into how he could convey his feelings well and how they should be expressed in the lyrics. After finishing the recording, he thought, “Such dark topics and things can be just simply shared like this,” and was happy because he felt like he overcame his pain. Kang Daniel added, “I think I was able to feel my inner strength grow. It’s like I surpassed my past self. My perspective became wider, and I can see things around me I wasn’t able to see before.”

The choreography was inspired by movies Venom and Constantine and conveys a subdued mood. Daniel explained that the choreography resulted from him thinking about how to portray his story and emotions without being too stimulating.[s]

In Daniel’s Insertlive interview, he said when he first heard the beat, he started with asking himself what story he wanted to tell. He said people are aware of his bright and cheerful side, but he had another side that he hid. People knew about that side through the news of his hiatus, but this song marked the first time he revealed that dark side. His previous lyrics were largely based on movies or content he was inspired by. This time Daniel wrote all the lyrics based on his personal experience.

Kang Daniel further discussed the lyrics in a MU:PLY ASMR video. He said his favorite part is the first verse, “Days are as dark as the night. It’s getting scary in my lightless room. It’s becoming routine, one by one.” He said this echoes what he truly felt. He feels the most comfortable and safe at home at night with the curtains drawn. In that verse, he expressed his fear of the daytime when there are many people out. The part where the lyrics say to close his eyes is a homage to horror movies and also his habit when he has a difficult time is to close his eyes. The “PARANOIA” subplot is that he is afraid of his ego hurting him, which could lead him to giving up on himself. The fear of a dramatic consequence was what Daniel tried to express. “Oh my” is used to ask himself, “How come I got into this?” The hiding part of the lyrics refers to his awareness of his changes. “Don’t mind” refers to his desire to be alone where nobody can find him. Verse 2’s “la-la-la” is sung as if he is having more fun taunting himself. “In a space without a single light” is a metaphor for malicious comments. Daniel said he uses his devices on dark mode, and the comment sections are also in a dark color. Aside from the display settings, there is a darker thing coming with worse malicious words. “Wasn’t with me back then, but they right here now” refers to the two egos.[s]

During iHeartRadio’s interview, he thanked fans for being there for him in 2020: The mental wounds inflicted on me by those who don’t like me. If it was hip-hop they can just [express themselves in this way]. I think you understand what the motion I’m making infers. But I think I have a different stance with the song “PARANOIA”. Though I may stumble and fall and be afraid… this song represents these stages. It’s a really deep and dark story but because of DANITY, this has been able to become just another story. It’s not a wound anymore but a story I can tell via song. And because of this I am so thankful.[s] In an interview with Malaysia news outlet Astro AWANI, Daniel said, “‘PARANOIA’ is the start to a lot of really, really big pictures, and it contains a lot of my personal stories.”[s]

Promotional Activities and Awards

Daniel kickstarted promotions by previewing the making of the music video on the February 13 episode of MBC’s Omniscient Interfering View. On February 16, he held an online press conference and comeback countdown live on V LIVE. Shortly afterwards, MU:PLY released the monthly project collaboration with TikToker Always Wet Boy. During the two weeks of promotions, he performed on all music shows and also appeared in variety shows. KONNECT also released a music video commentary and DaniTV episode with his UNIVERSE personas Kang Sa and Kang Soniel.

“PARANOIA” took first place on 4 music shows: The Show on February 23, Show Champion on February 24, M Countdown on February 25, and Show! Music Core on February 27.

Commercial Performance

“PARANOIA” debuted at #2 on Gaon’s weekly chart with of 32,505,273 digital points, making it Kang Daniel’s highest charting song to date. He also achieved double crowns in the download and BGM weekly charts and topped Gaon’s download monthly chart for February.

On the international charts, “PARANOIA” debuted at #20 on the iTunes Worldwide Songs chart, reaching #1 in nine different regions, including Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Macau, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Chile.[s] It also charted in the top 10 in Vietnam and Finland, and it reached the #1 TOP SONG on the iTunes K-Pop Song chart in the United States and Canada.[s]

Kang Daniel also made his debut on a new chart when the song peaked at #5 on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales and charted for 3+ weeks.

Music Video

The music video was directed by Rigend Film. In the countdown live, Daniel said the music video took 2 nights and 3 days to film. On the first day, due to the eye set preparations, they had to film the choreography first in the morning. He arrived at the underwater filming location around 1am. He pushed his body’s limits and filmed 5 meters deep in chilled water from 2am to 4am. MBC’s Omniscient Interfering View shared the second day of the music video filming at the newly-built headquarters for Brewguru, a kombucha company. Daniel’s manager played the role of a bystander who shoulder bumps into Daniel in addition to the darkest part of his inner self.[s] They then filmed in the bedroom set from 12 to 7 in the morning and went to APAN afterwards. Due to the long filming hours, Daniel joked, “The madness that I wanted to express is happening right now!” He said when he is fatigued, adrenaline hits its peak and it stays there. Daniel commented he didn’t feel burdened and found the filming fun.

Daniel summarized the story in V LIVE. Through his distorted perspective, there are presences that torture him. So the music video creates an eye, and there are many emphases on the eye. He tries to run and hide, but they keep discovering and threatening him. The process repeats itself. At the end of this process, he asks viewers to think about what those presences were, what ended up torturing him.

In his MU:PLY interview, Daniel revealed more of the music video’s fantasy plot elements. The keyword in the video is the eye. The eye set represents the demon’s space. He described the scene where he is dragged by dancers as being dragged into the eye and tries to escape and run out. His character has died from an accident, but he somehow ended up with the blood of the devil king and was changing from the first verse. The scenes with Daniel in casualwear were from before he was turning. From the first scene, he emerged from a tomb. The dancers depicted twisted tentacles rather than wings, and it appears as if Daniel was dancing with ghouls. At the beginning of the music video, Daniel’s character is scared and wondering what those beings were doing to him. In the scene where Daniel grasps his torso as if to ask what is wrong with himself, ghouls arrive to him, thinking the king accepted the death, and start to drag him. Every dancing scene shows when he accepts and fights against himself. When it came to acting, Daniel said he was immersed, “I was almost crazy doing it. I was laughing like a crazy person.”

Dance performers JAYME and UU Milan [2] [3], along with Kang Daniel’s manager Jung Dong Yoon, were in charge of portraying Daniel’s internal demons.

Rigend Film directors Jang Dongjoo and Yoon Seungrim further discuss the music video and what working with Kang Daniel’s team was like in an interview with Idol Chart.

RECOMMENDED: ‘PARANOIA’ Music Video Analysis by toooldtobethisintokpop

Kpop bloggers toooldtobethisintokpop delved into the symbolism found in the music video and talked about Kang Daniel’s own experience with anxiety and depression. “He has courageously discussed his experiences, and this song furthers those efforts. It describes anxiety as demons that you cannot run away from, as nightmares that continue when you’re awake and more.” They divided the music video into 4 focal points: the eyes and surveillance, the writing that appears on Daniel’s skin, the man in black and the woman in the veil, and the bedroom. Visit their blog to read the full analysis. Highly recommended!

Track Listing

Best viewed on PC. To see the full tables on mobile, swipe left and right.

#   Title Lyrics Music Arrangement
1.  “PARANOIA” – 3:15 Kang Daniel
JQ
Mola
Cha Yubin (makeunmine works)
Anthony Russo
Anthony Pavel
Max Levin
Kyle Scherrer
MZMC
Chancellor
inverness
Dry kyle
Max Levin
MZMC

Not For Sale Album Credits

EXECUTIVE PRODUCTION KONNECT Entertainment
RECORDING PRODUCER Chancellor
RECORDING ENGINEER Lee Kyungwon
RECORDING STUDIO U Productions Studio A
MIXING ENGINEER Yoon Wonkwon (Studio DDeepKICK)
MASTERED BY Kwan Namwoo (821 Sound Mastering)
MUSIC VIDEO PRODUCTION Rigend Film[ig] [vid] [site] directed by Rima Yoon and Dongju Jang
PHOTOGRAPHY Kim Heejune[ig]
STYLIST Lee Sungsik
HAIR Kim Haebin
MAKEUP Lee Anna
CHOREOGRAPHY Kim Ingyoo, Kim Taehyun
PUBLIC RELATION Shim Jaegeol @ JX UNITED
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Bong Saerom
ARTIST MANAGEMENT Kang Gyohyeok, Han Duho, Jeong Dongyun
A&R Charles Yoon, Jo Yongjin
CONTENTS PLANNING Seo Youngjun, Kim Hogon, Jung Dawoon
PUBLIC COMMUNICATION Tak Jinyoung, Gu Gahyun
CONTENTS DISTRIBUTION Jang Eunhye
CONTENTS BUSINESS Kim Jihyun, Kim Taewoo
MANAGEMENT SUPPORT Jung Yurianna, Ma A Reum

“Thanks To” Not For Sale Album

Hi! It’s Kang Daniel. I brought “PARANOIA” to meet you after 6 months! Thanks to the help and support of many people, a song containing the message I wanted to convey is born. Whenever I stand on stage, I always remember the overwhelming and thrilling moments, and I will strive to be a Kang Daniel who always does his best. Please watch me closely and support me! Also, please be healthy and happy this 2021 :) Thank you!

 Translation: @inspirouex 

Hi! It’s Kang Daniel. I brought “PARANOIA” to meet you after 6 months! Thanks to the help and support of many people, a song containing the message I wanted to convey is born. Whenever I stand on stage, I always remember the overwhelming and thrilling moments, and I will strive to be a Kang Daniel who always does his best. Please watch me closely and support me! Also, please be healthy and happy this 2021 :) Thank you!

 Translation: @inspirouex 

Charts

Peak Charts Positions
Title Gaon[s]
Kpop Hot 100[s]
US World[s]
“PARANOIA” #2 #39 #5
Realtime Charts Debut
Title MelOn
*Genie Bugs FLO Soribada
“PARANOIA” #2 #2 #1
Realtime Charts Peak
Title MelOn Genie Bugs FLO Soribada
“PARANOIA” #1 #2 #50 #1
Daily Charts Peak
Title MelOn Genie Bugs VIBE
“PARANOIA” #2 #12 #71

instiz iChart
“PARANOIA” is currently Kang Daniel’s most liked song in Korean streaming platform Genie.

Teasers and Behind the Scenes

Type Details Link
Image Coming soon IG
Video Comeback date IG | VL | WB | YT
Video Trailer IG | VL | WB | YT
Image Album cover art IG | TWT | WB | YT
Video Concept photo #1 TWT | WB | YT 1 | 2 | 3
Image M/V teaser #1 IG | IG | VL | WB | YT
Image Concept photo #2 NV | TWT | WB | YT 1 | 2 | 3
Video M/V teaser #2 IG | VL | WB | YT
Image Lyric poster IG | TWT | WB | YT
Video M/V behind IG
Image Special performance behind IG | IG
Image M/V behind
Jacket behind
Behind
NV
NV
Melon SITE | STORY
Video M/V commentary VL | YT
Video M/V making film VL | YT
Video Jacket making film VL | YT
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