Here’s What Kang Daniel’s New Song “I Hope” Means, According To A Korean Professor

“It was written like a poem.”

With Kang Daniel‘s return to the K-Pop scene as a solo artist, fans are blessed each day with new songs, music videos, fan cams, and contents. As a part of the new wave Kang Daniel is bringing to the K-Pop world, a professor teaching Korean language at the well known Soongsil University in Seoul took Kang Daniel’s song “I Hope” and analyzed what the lyrics could mean – and the insight is leaving fans shook.


YouTuber by the name of “Professor Ukida” uploaded the review / reaction video on his channel shortly after Kang Daniel revealed the track “I Hope” at the showcase. This professor quoted what Kang Daniel shared about songwriting during his interview at the showcase and commented that Kang Daniel seemed to understand how lyrics work.

Kang Daniel said something along the lines of songs being poems expressed with melodies. That is the foundation of how the art of lyric-writing works, so I was happy to hear that from him… And that’s probably why a lot of the lyrics from the songs on his brand new album are so beautiful. I personally love the words to ‘I Hope’. It was written like a poem.

— Professor Ukida


Professor Ukida continued to analyze the lyrics to “I Hope” and explained to Kang Daniel’s fans why the song has so much literary value. He first started off by stating that the song was – from the beginning – meant to be for Kang Daniel’s fans. He claimed that the song is heavily confessional, hinting at a lot of Kang Daniel’s most personal emotions, which is why the lyrics feel even more authentic.


He then quoted the lyrics that start off the song, “After all that has happened, there is something I can’t stop and that’s you, because you won’t change / No matter how much time passes, I can’t let this go, I will never let you down.” Professor Ukida pointed out, while at first it obviously seems like the “speaker” is Kang Daniel and “you” is supposed to be the fans, it could easily be the other way around.

It’s obviously clear that ‘you’ in the lyrics is someone very important to the speaker. This ‘you’ is what keeps the speaker going. So when I heard this part, I couldn’t help but wonder who’s saying this to whom. Because when I place Kang Daniel into the words here… yes, this could be from Kang Daniel to his fans; but it could very well be from the fans to Kang Daniel too. Only once I realized this, I was able to really dig deeper into the song.

— Professor Ukida


Professor Ukida also shed light on how Kang Daniel shared through the lyrics the source of his fear and how he coped with that anxiety too. From the lyrics, “In the moments that kept passing by, suspicion grew and I became afraid / Time went by the same but I poured my heart into the crack that had formed / And I hope that place stays with me forever”, the professor carefully analyzed that Kang Daniel must have felt that he was falling behind.

He keeps using terms like ‘time’ and ‘moment’ throughout the song. It only shows how valuable but dreadful ‘time’ has been for him, while he had to sit and watch his fellow Wanna One members move on with their lives and do their own things. In the lyrics, he says life kept going for him and everyone else, but there was a crack that had formed for him – and he also shares that he tried to bridge this gap in his time and everyone else’s by pouring his heart into it. That’s him explaining that he coped with the fear of being left behind by continuously trying to tell people the truth.

— Professor Ukida


Then the professor concluded that Kang Daniel is optimistically promising not only his fans but himself to make better use of the time that they collectively have been given. He praised Kang Daniel for being able to express what he had gone through with such poetic lyrics and for walking out of it with an optimistic mind set.

So in the end, the song is called ‘I Hope’ but it’s not just Kang Daniel hoping. It’s more like we all hope. The “I” in ‘I Hope’ could really be anyone that loves Kang Daniel. And like so, I hope he does have only good things waiting for him in the future.

— Professor Ukida


With that, fans are realizing the last part of the song is in fact their voice to Kang Daniel and his to them:

You will never cry, yeah I wanna smile. I’m by your side now, it’s
gonna be fine. Yeah I’ll make it right, yeah we wanna smile. Now I hope you will be fine.

— Kang Daniel’s “I Hope”

Fans are finding a lot more solace in the song after the lyrics have been explained a bit more in detail.


Listen to Kang Daniels’ “I Hope” here:


And watch the full review by Professor Ukida here:

Kang Daniel