Sometimes 4th gen kpop is on a completely different level. While groups like BTS have an overarching storyline that fans can access with a little digging (me, I’m that fan. I had to get out a shovel), groups like ATEEZ and Kingdom have concepts that are completely in your face. ATEEZ are the Pirate Kings of course, and we’ve discussed that here on the blog. But today we’re gonna take a peek at the lesser-known group Kingdom, whose concepts and music have been solid from their debut. Come see if they’re a group who should be landing on your playlists!
Just a quick background: Kingdom has seven members – Dann, Arthur, Mujin, Louis, Ivan, Jahan, and Hwon (who replaced Chiwoo after he left for personal reasons) – and each member represents a kingdom. You can hear the influences of that kingdom in the leading tracks for each album, and the culture is represented in the MVs. Let’s explore the world of Kingdom, shall we?
(DISCLAIMER: I have not done a deep dive into Kingdom’s lore, so I may be missing some essential parts of the story. Feel free to explain it to me in the comments! I’d love to learn more.)
THIS is a debut. Any debut that has this many swords in it will always catch my attention. From the Arthur album, “Excaliber” has a strong British (Kingdom of Rain) vibe in the costuming and accessories. The compelling hook leads right into a mysterious, energetic vibe, and the dancing is tight and intriguing. I really enjoyed most of this album – “Night Air” especially gets a lot of repeat plays from me.
The featured track on the Chiwoo album, “Karma” embraces the Kingdom of the Cloud feel through its use of elaborate Chinese costumes and sets. The song itself continues the dark and mysterious vibe, with heavy emphasis on the bass line in contrast to the scintillating melody. Check out “Magical” and “Make Us” when you listen!
Ivan’s Kingdom of Snow album starts strong with the instrumental intro – “Legacy of Hatred” – and that strength continues into the featured track, “Black Crown.” This is probably my top Kingdom album so far! I love the Russian imagery in the MV, evoked through the snow and mountains and lots and LOTS of fur. “Fallen Star” also resonated with me – I found it to be a comforting listen, so it got a lot of plays from me after the album’s release.
In Dann’s album, Korea is the Kingdom of Change, and the lead track is 승천 (translated to “Ascension” on Spotify). The dark and mythical vibes continue in the song itself, and the MV is a panoply of historical costume and traditional instruments. Which means, of course, that I LOVE it. The ballad “The Song of Dann (Promise)” is absolutely gorgeous, and also got its own MV, which is a drama all by itself.
“Long Live the King”
Louis’ French-influenced album is suitably set in the Kingdom of Aesthetics. The historical has somewhat been left behind, but the storyline continues! This song embraces the suppressed power of the theme, and the costuming is a rich fusion of the most extravagant historical French fashions and modern dress. You should definitely check out the “Destiny” track on this album as well.
The most recent Kingdom album is Mujin, which leans heavily on Japanese aesthetics to represent the Kingdom of Cherry Blossom. I love the “Stigma” intro! The title track, “Dystopia,” has a title card that moves the group’s story forward, and I cannot say enough about the loveliness of the set and the costuming. The song itself has a beat that doesn’t let go – “Dystopia not ma ma mine” lives in my head rent-free more often than I want to admit – and I love the theme of fighting monsters and renewal. Really, you should watch the whole MV, because it’s a great story by itself, and the effects are top notch. “Song of the Wind” and “My Wave” are my other favorite tracks on the album.
For a group that debuted in 2021, Kingdom possesses an AMAZING discography, and I’m glad to have been in on it almost from the beginning. They’ve matured well, and their sound and their choreography reflects their growth.
What do you think, music fans? Will you be checking out more of Kingdom? Drop down in the comments and let me know! In the meantime, I’ll be eagerly awaiting Kingdom of the Sun, Jahan’s album.
Until the next comeback, I remain –
Karie the Maknae
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi