After taking the world by storm with his solo singles Seven and 3D, Jungkook returned with his highly anticipated debut album, Golden. The title fits perfectly for BTS’ “golden maknae,” a nickname given by the leader, RM, to the group’s multitalented youngest member.
Jungkook shines during this golden moment in his career, creating an album representative of the artist he currently is while hinting at who he aims to be. The elements of his solo debut era, including his single choices, the album's production and lyrics, his image, the collaborations, and more, show how Jungkook has grown since his early days with BTS.
The Golden rollout began with Seven featuring rapper Latto, a song dismantling the idea many ARMYs had of Jungkook. Since he is the youngest of BTS, oftentimes he is viewed in a very youthful and innocent manner, despite being 26 years old. The lyrics and image of Seven presented a more mature side of the singer, with GQ describing this shocking start to the Golden era as a “moment of reintroduction” for Jungkook.
3D, featuring Jack Harlow, paired well with Seven as the album’s second single. The song and concept of 3D continued displaying a sensual, grown version of Jungkook. This new direction gave fans an idea of what would come with Golden.
When played in order, the album recounted a journey of falling in and out of love. Although Jungkook has clarified that the songs are not based on personal stories and were written by other songwriters, he was heavily involved in the song selection process.
Since love is a universal feeling, Jungkook wanted to create an album filled with love songs people could relate to. This direction made sense for him as he covered many love songs in the past, including Justin Bieber’s 2U and Harry Styles’ Falling.
Similar to most of the songs Jungkook covered, each song on Golden revolved around romance with pop influence. That said, even with elements of pop present throughout the project, Jungkook challenged himself by fusing genres with each song.
In “Seven Recording Film,” Jungkook stated that his confidence rose after recording Seven, especially since it was unlike anything he had previously done. Creating Seven amplified Jungkook’s desire to continue tackling other genres.
The features Jungkook had on the album helped him achieve this since many of the artists involved came from different genres and contributed their unique sounds. Hip-hop flair was added to the album thanks to Latto and Jack Harlow, a Latin-pop and dance fusion flowed throughout Closer to You featuring DJ trio Major Lazer, and a groovy electric dance sound dominated Please Don’t Change with DJ Snake.
Also, Jungkook received assistance from some recognizable singer-songwriters to showcase the different genres he wanted on Golden. The most notable songwriters on the project were Ed Sheeran, who previously co-wrote BTS’ Make It Right and Permission to Dance, and Shawn Mendes.
Jungkook was intentional in featuring American songwriters and global artists on Golden. Yet, even with the influence of many others on this project, each song felt like a Jungkook track.
Jungkook explained his new direction on Weverse Live, mainly touching on his decision to have other writers on the album instead of writing his own lyrics. Jungkook previously showed his capabilities as a songwriter with songs like My You and Still With You; however, he mainly felt inspired to create songs about ARMY and did not want the album to solely contain songs dedicated to the fans. He wanted an album with many different stories and felt receiving songs from others would allow his vision to come to light.
Aside from not writing songs for Golden, people have questioned Jungkook about why he created an album entirely in English, despite not speaking the language fluently. Even with all the achievements and success he has had with BTS, Jungkook does not view himself the way the world does. In an interview with Weverse Magazine, Jungkook stated that his goal is to become “a giant pop star.” Creating songs in English was one way he could target a broader audience and catapult toward his goal. Although he decided to receive songs in English from others, Jungkook made it clear that he plans to write more songs in Korean when he feels inspired to.
Through the Golden era, Jungkook shed the version of himself many fans were accustomed to while challenging himself in more ways than one. Despite the public’s initial shock, Jungkook followed his intuition while presenting a new version of himself that many ARMYs have come to embrace wholeheartedly.
Written by: Amaya
Edited by: Ren
Designed by: Achan
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