Song Review: Kingdom – Dystopia

Kingdom - DystopiaAfter a (very) brief stint on new series Peak Time, Kingdom have returned with the latest in their “History of Kingdom” series. This comeback centers around member Mujin, though its traditional concept isn’t far from most title tracks the group has released.

More and more, most of my favorite Kingdom tracks tend to be the b-sides that are unencumbered by the group’s theatrical concept. What started as a unique calling card now seems to be holding them back. I’m not feeling Dystopia at all. It’s cosplay without the meat of a good song behind it. The pace lurches, the melodies are nearly nonexistent, and the traditional instrumentation isn’t utilized in any novel or interesting way (though I do like the sliding wisp of strings during the chorus). The video’s nice to look at, but I can’t imagine listening to this on its own.

This isn’t the best comparison because they’re far more cartoony than Kingdom, but Japan’s Touken Ranbu series offers a roadmap for blending period piece dress-up with engaging anthems that work outside the visual.

Hooks 6
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7

Grade: C-


13 thoughts on “Song Review: Kingdom – Dystopia

  1. Kingdom return to the kdrama set complete with key to the costume closet. I think they did this schtick better last year with their own “Song of Dann”. I am not going to complain much, but compared to the visuals the song itself is just OK.

    Kpop is so obsessed with Dystopia. For those looking for Utopia, may I suggest Forestella’s “Utopia” from a few months ago. It sounds like a bonkers Eurovision – Abba – covering Queen disco revival song that you didn’t know you needed in your life but you do, compete with buckets of melodyne on top of their trademark 4-part harmonies. ‘

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, Wind. I have come to the full understanding that Koreans like Windy songs. I just counted -I have 14 Korean songs on my ipods that have wind or are windy, and my ipod is by no means exhaustive. Kingdom’s “Song of the Wind” sounds like a new interpretation of some old classic, and if it isn’t, it sounds like it is deliberately done in a traditional style.

        While I am on a Forestella-citing roll, here is a windy solo from one of them: ‘

        Liked by 2 people

    • That’s how I felt about Excalibur. Looking forward to the rest of the b-sides. The title is just there, even though the guys perform the bell out of it.


  2. This definitely hits harder in the stage performance! This is such a hype song – that instrumental on bass boosted headphones is so damn good!! The vocals and choreo go much harder than the other traditional concept songs they’ve done so far and I really love that! As for the MV – absolutely gorgeous – and I really liked all the yokai & onmyoji concepts!

    I admit I’m perfectly biased towards this group and their songs 😂 yet surprisingly I too had my reservations as well because there were a couple of other unexpected boy group songs that I absolutely loved this month (Cravity Groovy, Superkind Moody, Trendz New Dayz and Tan Fix You) – and honestly as much as I love traditional concepts I like European style concepts more and was wondering if this time Kingdom’s song wouldn’t match up to the rest…. and I’m happy that they proved once again why they are my favorite rookie group of the fourth gen! ❤

    So far with six songs in a row that I love, Kingdom have by far the longest successful streak from any group I actively follow 😀 I would say the next comeback is what is most critical because of the concept – yet I’ll cross my fingers and enjoy Dystopia for now!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am too biased towards kingdom to separate my love of the group and what they’re doing from the actual music. That being said I like Dystopia but it is probably not going to be one of my favorite title tracks from them, my favorite’s are still Excalibur and Karma. In general though I have never disliked a kingdom song and only sampling their title tracks does not do justice to their music or skill skill set.

    Personally I always kind of look at Kingdom’s title tracks as acting in service to an overarching bigger picture, rather than isolating my opinion on each individual release. The sum of the whole story is greater than its individual parts. I know that doesn’t make each release any better or worse musically, its just how I process it because of how intricately intertwined everything they do is.

    I’ve been a big fan of Kingdom for awhile and I really do believe they bring something very unique to the industry, both musically and stylistically. It’s been so enjoyable to watch them and their niche grow, and as always I am looking forward to the continuation of their journey in all it facets.


  4. I was very sorry to see Kingdom eliminated so early from Peak Time, doing a Vixx song no less. I believe one of the reasons the judges gave was that they were always doing the same concept. But that’s what they do…

    As for this title track, it sounds like a cross between Ascension and The Song of Dann? From the album I really like My Wave…to continue the analogy it sounds like a cross between Blinder and Night Air, which are two of my favorite Kingdom B-sides. I hope that after they finish this cycle (after Hwon?) they’re able to explore more of their b-side sounds as title tracks.


  5. I don’t like how all their title tracks sound the same. I understand they want to stick with the theme but there’s gotta be ways around it.


  6. I have liked all Kingdom songs so far. My favourite is Ascension. But because I listened to Ascension so many times, I can’t help but think Dystopia is an echo of that song. They sound very similar. Like… same ingredients, different chef.


  7. I actually really like this song at lot. I like the fact that we have 3 different choruses at the end with the last one hitting far harder than the other two before. The 1st one is calm and a 2 part chorus, the 2nd one has only the 2nd part and is notably shorter to not make the song repetetive and the 3rd is entirely hard-hitting and theatrical.

    I also do have to say that while I do see an increase of quality in their B-sides, they are still mostly filler tracks with my other complaint still being that the Minis all lack coherency.

    I think it would actually help the group a lot if they went all in for their concept instead of the constant ogling of more modern sounds and styling choices which were honestly the reason why I did not enjoy Long Live The King nearly as much as I enjoyed their previous title tracks and Dystopia.


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