MONSTA X Gives Us an Ultimatum with “Kiss or Death”

Monsta X Kiss or Death album cover
Cr. MONSTA X’s Twitter

MONSTA X sets themselves apart with their captivating allure, vivid storytelling, and confident, sophisticated visuals. On June 1, the group released their ninth mini-album, One of a Kind, consisting of seven songs including the hard-hitting title track, “GAMBLER.” The album clinched a spot on Billboard’s “World Digital Song Sales” chart, with all seven tracks making an appearance. 

After almost two months since their last drop, the group makes their return with the release of electro-pop single, “Kiss or Death, accompanied by a mysterious, time bending music video. A song full of passion, the track expresses the intense feeling of never having enough of someone. With lines, “If it’s for you, I’d die for you / My past and future, God bless / Into your universe, I dive in” it describes the desire to give every piece yourself to someone now and forever. 

Monsta X Kiss or Death album concept photo
Cr. MONSTA X’s Twitter

The track perfectly captures Monsta X’s powerful, intoxicating style through the exhilarating concept that transports viewers through different galaxies. Brother Su , who previously worked with the group on tracks such as “All In” and “Love Killa,” lyrically collaborated with members I.M and Joohoney to perfectly produce another track that embodies the group’s charismatic aura. The track includes many signature MONSTA X styles such as their classic grungy EDM sound and sensual, mature concepts. 

Diving into the melodic side of the track, deep bass compliments evocative synths allowing the melody to transform into a full bodied listening experience. With Hyungwon and Minhyuk bouncing dulcet notes off of each other, Kihyun showing off his higher register, Joohoney and I.M providing deep, powerful raps, and Shownu’s falsettos, each member contributes their own individual vocal abilities to create an ethereal vocal ensemble.

The preview of the cinematic music video sets a mystifying tone by showing the group on a dark moving train dressed in detective gear traveling through time and space to discover clues. The video’s theme of time travel creates parallels with their 2017 EP The Code, particularly the music video accompanying the title track, “Dramarama.” The full music video for “Kiss or Death” can be found exclusively on Universe, an app that provides exclusive content and the opportunity to send private messages to K-pop artists.

Shownu of Monsta X in the music video for Kiss or Death
Screenshot from MONSTA X’s “Kiss or Death” music video

The group released “Kiss or Death” shortly after the announcement that the group’s leader, Shownu, had enlisted to complete his military service starting July 22. He had previously sat out for the promotion of One of a Kind due to an eye injury, leading fans to believe it was a build up to the declaration of his enlistment. 

Through a heartfelt YouTube video, translated by Soompi, Shownu expressed his gratitude for their fans, known as Monbebe, for giving him the chance to “feel and experience so many things” through being in MONSTA X. “I think that happiness is living while feeling things like gratitude and thankfulness and love and disappointment and regrets. Regardless of whether I’m living a good or bad life, I think I’m just a happy person.”

Although the announcement of Shownu’s hiatus leaves fans feeling somber, MONSTA X’s “Kiss or Death” proves they are prepared to keep the show rolling. The upbeat track leaves fans guessing their next move and wanting more.

Make sure to stream “Kiss or Death” on all streaming platforms and check out the music video preview below!

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