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Jungkook: Solo album debut “Golden” - Album Review

Updated: Mar 25

By Cecilia Torres


Disclosure: This post does not contain any affiliate links, meaning I will not get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links below.


Image Credits: Weverse

Jungkook, the multi-talented member of the globally renowned K-Pop group BTS, has recently released his highly anticipated debut solo album, "Golden” on  3rd November, 2023. This album marks a significant milestone in Jungkook's career as he steps into the spotlight as a solo artist. Fans have been eagerly awaiting this moment, and "Golden" does not disappoint.  


“Golden” has two different sides, one part of the album is upbeat, catchy and lighthearted, which details Jungkook expressing being in love with his partner and being confident in a relationship. Whereas the second part shows another side of love, which is heartbreak and break-ups with clean melodies that showcases Jungkook's versatility. Jungkook's talent and career trajectory were put into the record. Despite saying that none of the songs are based on his own experiences, and opting to not writing and composing but instead bringing well-known songwriters's songs to life, he successfully created a very authentic sound and vibe.




“Golden” is available in three versions (Shine, Substance and Solid), the album contains a bookcase, a 64-page photobook, a CD & CD envelope, 2 postcards, a poster, 2 photocards, symbol stickers and contents envelope.  


Seven (Feat. Latto) 



Prior to his solo album, Jungkook had released a single over the summer, titled “Seven” on July 14th, featuring American Rapper Latto. “Seven” was a romantic UK Grunge track which detailed the days of the week and how much he would love his partner depending on which of the 2 versions you decide to listen to as the song is available in a romantic (clean) and a lust-filled (explicit) version.


The music video, produced by Bradley and Pablo, and starring South Korean actress Han So-hee as Jungkook's girlfriend, was released alongside the song. The video features Jungkook comedically striving to win back Han So-Hee's affection, frequently to her annoyance, over the course of a week (in a reference to the song's lyrics). There is also a choreography version on Hybe’s Youtube channels.


3D (Feat. Jack Harlow)



Later, Bighit announced that Jungkook would be releasing a second solo single called “3D” featuring American Rapper Jack Harlow, following the success of the US Billboard Hot 100 number 1 single “Seven”. 3D is a 2000s Pop R&B track that expresses the feeling towards an unattainable person from the perspective of one, two and three dimensions. This song also gave fans an even more mature side of Jungkook. The music video was shot in the US and it showed Jungkook singing the song in a telephone booth and also performing choreography with a group of dancers. Rapper Jack Harlow also made an appearance in the music video playing chess outside of a cafe alongside Jungkook and rapping his verse. 


After "Seven" debuted at number 3 a few months earlier, "3D" debuted at number 5 on the UK Singles Chart, making Jungkook the first Korean solo artist to earn two top-5 singles in the UK. "3D"  became his second top-10 entry on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. On October 14th, 2023, the chart issued that the song debuted at number 5 with 13.6 million streams, 3.1 million radio listeners, and 87,000 sales. In Korea, “3D” won three consecutive first place trophies from October 5th to October 19th on M Countdown and two Melon popularity awards in the same week. 


“3D” is available in a CD single which includes an explicit, instrumental and alternate version. However, there is also a “The Remixes” digital EP which contains explicit, instrumental and alternate, A.G. Cook Remix, Clean version, Sped up and Slow down versions. 


Following the success of “3D”, it was announced by Hybe that Justin Timberlake would be joining in the remix of “3D”. Big Hit music stated that “This remix enhances the 2000s vibe of the old school sound of the original version, infusing it with a retro charm.” The remix also featured a new verse from Timberlake.  


Standing Next to You 



“Standing Next To You" is the main single of the album which was released on November 3rd as the third single of the album “Golden.” “Standing Next To You” is a groovy funk pop genre with a length of 3 mins and 26 seconds. Many fans and reviews say that The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, serves as a major inspiration for Jungkook's dance, singing and performance in the music video for the album’s title track, which left fans very anticipated to hear the other tracks included in the album. However, this is not the first time that BTS includes a reference to Micheal Jackson, such as seen in “Dynamite”. The music video was directed by Tani Muino and it was filmed in Budapest, Hungary. In the music video, it's shown that while  "showcasing his dance skills through elaborate choreography," Jungkook pursues a "mysterious femme fatale" and performs with a group of dancers at various locations. When the video comes to an end, Jungkook and the woman are standing side by side. The music video is available on Youtube with an official MV version and a choreography version. 


In honour of “Golden”, Jungkook debuted "Standing Next to You", backed by a live band, on November 5th, 2023, during an iHeartRadio album release party. On November 7th, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, he performed the song live for the first time in the United States. On November 8th, Jungkook performed it the next day during his appearance on the Today Show as part of the program's Citi Concert Series. As a surprise for ARMYs, Jungkook performed at  Times Square in New York City for  a surprise five-song set on the TSX Entertainment stage,  the show was announced 30 minutes in advance and was live streamed via the Xbox channel on Twitch and BTS' YouTube channel.


Remix (Feat. Usher) 



Hybe Music announced via Weverse on November 28th that a remix to “Standing Next to You” featuring US-based R&B artist Usher would be released on Friday, December 1st on streaming services. Additionally on December 12th, a new official performance music video release on December 15th was announced. I loved the dance break in the end!


Closer to You (Feat Major Lazer) 


Another track is “Closer To You” featuring Jamaican- American music group Major Lazer. “Closer To You’ is a reggaeton rhythm that displays a desire  to be nearer to someone special. "Closer to You" uses lyrics that express a person's passion for their potential spouse to illustrate the stages of falling in love. The song's lyrics ensure that the protagonist's passion is firmly based on a promise to love and support their lover, no matter what. They also make an effort to soothe the anxiety that is typically connected to relationship troubles by asserting that these problems will only serve to strengthen their bond.


Yes or No



“Yes or No” is the fifth track from “Golden” showcasing another collaboration with British Singer Ed Sheeran. This is not the first time that Ed Sheeran has taken part in composing a song for BTS (“Make it Right”). The song brilliantly captures the emotions of a person passionately in love as he conveys his overpowering sentiments and seeks confirmation from his significant other via a key question, "Do you feel the same way as me?". Jungkook also sings “Are you feeling the rush?” - the BTS singer asks earnestly in the bright, simple chorus. “If so, then I think I know what’s going on / Are we falling in love? / Say yes or no, yes or no, yes or no.”


Please Don’t Change (Feat DJ Snake) 



“Please Don’t Change” is an EDM sound and the shortest song in the album. This song refers to Jungkook’s commanding the dancefloor as he asks a partner to remain the same. Although the lyrics are quite repetitive, it is a good listen. Jungkook performed this song to ARMYs at the TSX’s mini concert without the dancers and just enjoyed the song while looking out into the audience admiring ARMYs .


Hate You 



The song "Hate You" expresses the deep emotional battle of overcoming heartbreak and betrayal. Jungkook seems to be hoping that the hurt will go away and that the hatred of the one who injured him will act as a defence mechanism. The lyrics acknowledge the flaws in the relationship and the challenge of accepting the harsh reality as they explore the complex emotions of love and disillusionment. Hatred is presented as a coping strategy, a means of demonising the other person and placing the blame for the emotional upheaval. Even while hate is felt, there's a secret recognition that it might only be a band-aid solution to the intense emotional suffering rather than a long-term emotional pain. 


On December 9th, an official visualiser for the song was released on HYBE LABELS Youtube channel. This video was shot in black and white and a few illustrations reminiscing a relationship that has now come to an end. Up until 1:32 the video begins to show colour and returns back to black and white at 1:55. 


Somebody 



"Somebody" explores themes of transition, introspection, and the termination of a relationship. The singer's acceptance of these changes and willingness to move on to new experiences are communicated in the lyrics. The realisation that they have changed and that they are no longer the same person is reflected in the song. It explores transformation and going forward in life in a contemplative and intensely emotional way. 


Upon hearing this song for the first time, the beginning of the song sounded a little different to his normal singing voice that I am used to.This made the fans realise that Jungkook may be experimenting with not only different genres but also with different vocal sounds and techniques.


"Same back rooms” suggests a relationship that is comfortable and steady despite shifting events or experiences. "Switchin' lanes" could allude to adjusting to various situations or dynamics in a relationship. “When you go out in the night” “You’re under the lights” can also mean the person they desire is usually under the spotlight.


Too Sad to Dance 




Jungkook's sombre ballad "Too Sad to Dance" explores the emotional fallout from heartbreak and the difficulty accepting rejection. The song's lyrics express melancholy, introspection and a yearning for a love that has been lost. The simplicity of the guitar throughout the song showed to listeners that he is trying to move past their heartbreak to a point where he’s too sad to dance and enjoy time with those around him, the song ultimately offers a route towards independence and fortitude.


Shot Glass of Tears



Jungkook's moving ballad "Shot Glass of Tears" explores themes of loss, emotional suffering and the difficulty of coming to grips with a relationship that has ended. The theme of numbing the pain with alcohol and distractions is explored in the lyrics, along with the realisation that doing so has rendered the singer feeling emotionless.

"She the life of the party" refers to the fact that she (the lost love) attracts attention and energy at social gatherings with vitality and excitement. Her reputation is for participating and having fun. The singer's emotional state contrasts with Jungkook. This relates back to the previous track “Somebody”. 


Final Thoughts

Overall, Golden has achieved the goal of showcasing Jungkook's adaptable artistry and charismatic vocals. The album was incredible and one of my favourite solo albums from the group. My favourite track was “Somebody” because it was different although it took a few listens for this to become my favourite, now it's played nonstop on my spotify. “3D” is another favourite and I'm loving the Tiktok trend using Ray-Ban glasses. Although I was expecting for him due to his other non- promoted solo songs such as “Still With You”, “Decalcomania” and BTS songs such as “Run BTS”, “Telepathy” and “Magic shop”, to take part in the songwriting for this album, I believe that Jungkook really brought every song from the album to life and achieved what those incredible songwriters wanted the song to stand out for. Once again, showing fans and ARMY that Jungkook is indeed the golden maknae and can make anything that he sets his mind on into gold.


This album has created many incredible achievements for Jungkook such as breaking his own record for monthly streams on spotify and being the fastest song on spotify to surpass 1 billion streams in 109 days! 


My favourite track : Somebody, Yes or No and obviously 3D!

Links to buy: Amazon | Weverse 



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