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Is “Golden,” Golden?

Daniel+Zuchnik+for+Billboard%0A
Daniel Zuchnik for Billboard

With six albums hitting No. 1 on the Billboard’s Top 200 charts and multiple Grammy nominations over the past three years, their impact on the music industry is undeniable. BTS, also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan, is a record-breaking boy band from South Korea. BTS has spent the most time —21 weeks— at No. 1 on the Artist 100. They rank fourth overall since the chart’s inception in 2014, trailing Taylor Swift, Drake and The Weeknd. In 2013, BTS, featuring members Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoeseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung and Jeon Jungkook made their debut. In 2022, the band opted for a hiatus until 2025. This was partly due to the mandatory military service required in South Korea. This allowed them to have a well-deserved break, after nine years of continuous activity. During this period, the band members shifted their focus to their solo careers. This shift has allowed each member to showcase their individual music tastes and genre preferences. 

@bts.bighitofficial

Jungkook has accomplished this throughout his solo pop album “Golden,” which has seen impressive sales. It topped Billboard’s Top Album Sales Chart, selling 164,800 copies in the U.S. within a week. The album’s popularity was immediate. Within just three hours of its release, “Golden” sold 1 million copies. By the five-hour mark, it had sold 2 million, setting a new first-day sales record for K-pop soloists. 

In total, “Golden” achieved a remarkable 951,000 sales worldwide and topped charts across the globe. Impressively, as reported by Billboard, it even managed to replace Taylor Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” as the top-selling album.

These results were mainly accredited to ARMY. The term “A.R.M.Y.” is an acronym for “Adorable Representative Master of Ceremonies for Youth,” which is a name coined by BTS for their fans. This title carries significant symbolism. Drawing parallels with the military and body armor—which are typically associated with unity and protection—the name suggests that the fans, just like an army, will stand together in support of BTS. 

Golden features renowned artists such as Jack Harlow, Major Lazer, Latto, and DJ Snake. One of Jungkook’s many nicknames is “Golden Maknae,” a term that signifies the “golden youngest” in the group. It is a nickname given by BTS member Namjoon, to acknowledge Jungkook’s natural talents in various areas and his status as the youngest in the band. This name has followed him throughout his career and now lends itself to the title of his solo album. 

In a recent Q&A for Korea Now, Jungkook remarked The album is based on the motif of a golden moment, if you think about it, from the time I was called the “Golden Maknae” of BTS to my first solo under my name. I think it was really the countless journeys, countless hours, and experiences that made me who I am.” 

According to Forbes, his track “3D,” a previous single in collaboration with Jack Harlow, led to the achievement of replacing himself at No. 1 on Spotify’s daily global chart. 

“Well, from ‘Seven’ and up to ‘Golden,’ none of the songs actually are my personal stories. Actually, they’re all love songs, which I felt were the most universal feeling,” he mentioned in a recent interview for Apple Music. This aligns with an insightful interpretation of the album made by junior, Alicia Lopez, who told The Beacon, “I would like to add that while you listen to the album, think of it as like the love cycle,” which resonates with Jungkook’s idea, that the album’s themes transcend individual experiences and capture the universal essence of love’s journey.

Jungkook performing for The Today Show on Nov. 8, 2023
Rolling Stone/ GC Images

Jungkook has visited New York City multiple times while promoting “Golden.” He visited during the summer where he kicked off the Good Morning America’s Concert Series, performing Seven and BTS’ international hit, “Dynamite.” He also performed “Seven” at the Global Citizen Festival in September with Latto. During the week of Nov. 4, Jungkook made multiple appearances across Manhattan including performing at iHeartRadio, attending The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, performing at the Today Show, and lastly his surprise performance in Times Square.

“We all know he’s the greatest. He’s the Golden Maknae, for a reason. He’s just good at everything. His facial expressions, dancing, everything was on point,” Nuzhat Haque, a senior at Hills who attended the Times Square concert, shares about her experience. “It’s actually crazy how stable he is. Even during the concert, he was jumping, dancing, doing everything. And he was still sounding amazing.

As BTS takes their hiatus, the members have made a significant impact as solo artists, Jungkook’s “Golden” being a prime example. The album’s incredible sales numbers, Jungkook’s dynamic performances, and the unwavering support from ARMY all speak volumes about his talent and appeal. As we look forward to BTS’s return in 2025, the solo works of its members, all of whom have reached the top ten on the Billboard Artist 100 chart, will undoubtedly continue to resonate with fans and music lovers worldwide.

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About the Contributor
Bhargavi Patel
Bhargavi Patel, Entertainment/Lifestyle Section Editor
Bhargavi, a junior in the Carl Sagan program, has a diverse set of interests that keep her busy. She finds joy in crocheting, painting, reading, writing, and learning different languages, and she's a bit of a TV show enthusiast, not hesitating to rewatch her favorites. Bhargavi's involvement within The Beacon allows her to unleash her creative side and express herself. Her primary aim is to create a stronger sense of community among the readers and ensure inclusivity for all. Beyond The Beacon, she is an active member of multiple school clubs, including the Filipino Club and Cybersecurity Club. She's also joined her friends to launch the Caribbean Club. Furthermore, she's a member of the Case Academy.
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