[Album Review] Golden (1st Studio Album) – Jung Kook (BTS) (2024)

Late to the game as always. But I am finally getting around to reviewing Jung Kook’s solo studio album. Golden. Golden was released by Jung Kook in November last year prior to his military enlistment in December 2023. The 11-song tracklist boasts Jung Kook’s 2023 singles, including the title track Standing Next To You, July 2023’s SEVEN (featuring Latto) and September 2023’s 3D (fearing Jack Harlow). Per usual with all of my album reviews, links to the reviews for these songs and my individual thoughts on each song are down below.

My thoughts on the album is simple. Golden is a predominately pop album that was perfectly curated for Jung Kook. I wouldn’t want to imagine the pressure of putting this album together, since it was so highly anticipated by fans in Korea and globally. But he really made sure it exceeded expectations that everyone had. The album itself also sees Jung Kook collaborate with some big names in the pop industry – including Ed Sheeran and Shawn Mendes. The album is also fully in English.

[Album Review] Golden (1st Studio Album) – Jung Kook (BTS) (1)
[Album Review] Golden (1st Studio Album) – Jung Kook (BTS) (2)
[Album Review] Golden (1st Studio Album) – Jung Kook (BTS) (3)

1. 3D (ft. Jack Harlow)Click here to read my review for 3D. (8.5/10)

2. Closer To You (ft. Major Lazer)Closer To You is a muted R&B track, with a reggae touch and enticing bass-line in the instrumental. There is a lot of tension in this track, but I find to be more subtle and of backseat manner. It is definitely there in Closer To You, but it isn’t in your face about it. Jung Kook brings a soft and breathy tone to the song, which works extremely well with rest of the track and makes it even more seductive and alluring to listen to. (9/10)

3. Seven (Explicit Version) (ft. Latto)Click here to read my review for Seven. (9/10)

4. Standing Next To You (Title Track)Click here to read my review for Standing Next To You. (7/10)

5. Yes or No – Jung Kook taps squarely into the pop genre with Yes or No. If you look at the team behind the song, you will see super pop star Ed Sheeran’s name, which explains why Yes or No feels so familiar. The track features a catchy guitar riff in the background, and it falls to the bright side of the spectrum. Jung Kook’s vocals definitely contributes to that commend the fact that his vocals were crisp and clear throughout this track. I would have liked something more, as it feels a little too simple and consistent. But it was a great track nonetheless. (8/10)

6. Please Don’t Change (ft. DJ Snake) – The upbeatness of Please Don’t Change makes it feel fitting for the dance floor. The track employs afro-beats and electro-pop, which makes for a really cool mix. The instrumental never really peaks, keeping fairly neutral overall. I find this direction (or lack thereof) to be quite charming and it makes complete sense considering the title of the song speaks to the desire not wanting one’s lover to change. The neutral feeling also flows into Jung Kook’s vocals. (8/10)

7. Hate YouHate You is a pop ballad that I always close my eyes to when it pops up. It is the only way in which I can fully appreciate the song and take it all in. Jung Kook’s vocals is stunningly beautiful yet so heartbreaking at the same time. Hate You’s message of hating a former lover to make life easier is conveyed so well that you can feel Jung Kook’s pain in this voice. And this in itself speaks volume to the talent that is Jung Kook. This is all over a simple and minimalistic piano. The track boasts Shawn Mendes as part of the team behind it. (10/10)

8. SomebodySomebody sees Jung Kook’s vocals processed and altered in a way that gives him a deeper voice. It is an interesting and peculiar result that I am not entirely sure of. But it doesn’t mean Somebody is a bad song. The deeper tone does pair well with the bass that features in the R&B instrumentation. I really like the beat and detailing synths to this this track, particularly in the parts without any vocals. (8/10)

9. Too Sad To Dance – Returning to the pop genre with a more acoustic direction is Too Sad To Dance. I find myself nodding along to the song, and enjoy the simplicity of Jung Kook’s vocals in this song. But when I dive deeper into the song, I find the happier and cheerful demeanour of the vocals and the sad and emotional lyrics to be an interesting contrast. I am honestly not sure what I should be feeling when I listen to the song, as a result. (7.5/10)

10. Shot Glass of Tears – The final original song on the album is Shot Glass of Tears, which is another pop ballad. I liked the pace of this track and Jung Kook continues to sound good in this song. The atmosphere that builds in the background as Shot Glass of Tears was intriguing in a not so good way. I am not entirely sure if it was needed or what its purpose was. (7/10)

11. Seven (Clean Version) (ft. Latto) – See my thoughts on Seven above.

Overall Album Rating – 8.2/10

[Album Review] Golden (1st Studio Album) – Jung Kook (BTS) (2024)
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