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Jungkook – Golden

  • Release date: 3 November 2023
  • Label: Big hit music, HYBE records

Known as the “golden maknae” (or golden youngest) of the world-conquering group, the 26-year-old singer has often been spoken about as if he has the Midas touch no matter what he tries his hand at. While Jungkook’s creative contributions to his debut solo album are limited – he has no writing or production credits, but is described as having “curated” these songs to “reflect his artistry” – he embodies each song’s emotions and style with ease; a musical chameleon becoming each new sound

Golden is a two-part story. On the first, which is cheerful and lighthearted, Jungkook tells short stories about finding love and remaining steadfast in a committed partnership. First single “Seven” starring Latto sets either a romantic (in the clean version) or lust-filled (in the “explicit” version) mood to UK garage sounds. Opener “3D,” featuring Jack Harlow, snared a lover over 2000s pop. With its throwback vibe and funk grooves and disco flashes, the first track “Standing Next To You” features Jungkook’s assurance that “They can’t deny our love / They can’t divide us / We’ll survive the test of time.”

The second half of ‘Golden’ charts much heavier feelings – those that come after suffering heartbreak and trying to make it through a break-up. Its timeless highlights come in the form of ‘Hate You’ – a piano ballad co-written by Shawn Mendes that finds its narrator forcing himself to hate an ex to make things easier – and ‘Too Sad To Dance’. Although the latter sometimes veers into cliched lyricism, its clean melodies and Jungkook’s portrayal of someone hopelessly heartbroken are strong enough to save it.

Largely, though, the record plays it incredibly safe and, although Jungkook curated the tracklist, it doesn’t feel like an album he and he alone could have released. Would another contender pull off the songs as well as him? Perhaps not, but there’s still a hollowness at its core. Regardless, that won’t stop Jungkook’s star from ascending even further into new stratospheres. The 2020s have found their pop king and ‘Golden’ more than secures him the throne.

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Jungkook’s Golden Tracklist

  • 3D” featuring Jack Harlow
  • “Closer to You”
  • “Seven Explicit Version” featuring Latto
  • “Standing Next to You” featuring Major Lazor
  • “Yes or No”
  • “Please Don’t Change featuring DJ Snake
  • “Hate You”
  • “Somebody”
  • “Too Sad to Dance”
  • “Shot Glass of Tears”
  • “Seven Clean Version” featuring Latto