Published On: Sun, Nov 5th, 2023
Music | By MDN

Jung Kook: Golden review – BTS star searches for his own sound | K-pop

With the three eldest members of K-pop boyband phenomenon BTS currently on military service in South Korea, their youngest recruit, 26-year-old Jung Kook, is free to continue finessing his solo career. Things are off to a good start: this debut album features one US chart-topping single – the excellent, UK garage-esque sex diary Seven – and a top 5 hit in the shape of the glossy, sun-kissed 3D, which recalls prime Justin Timberlake.

Those early nods to Craig David and Timberlake, however, highlight Jung Kook’s struggle to find his own sound and identity. So the objectively fine mid-tempo Yes or No, co-written by Ed Sheeran, sounds a lot like Ed Sheeran, while the drippy ballad Hate You, co-written by Shawn Mendes, sounds a lot like… you get the idea. The litany of high-profile producers doesn’t help matters either, with Major Lazer phoning things in on Closer to You.

The album takes off when Jung Kook can focus on his honeyed falsetto, as on the supple disco glide of Standing Next to You, or on 3D’s exhilarating chorus. Golden is full of bright spots, but only fully shines on occasion.

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