Korea’s Biggest Music Review Site Critiques BTS Jungkook’s “Golden” While Giving High Scores to ‘Low-Quality’ Songs?

IZM’s critiques became a topic of debate after reviewing BTS Jungkook’s solo album “Golden”

Jungkook’s “Golden” received 2 stars from IZM

Jungkook’s solo album “Golden”, in fully English, gains impressive achievements in the U.S. with 4 songs entering Hot 100, reaching the highest rank of No. 5 with “Standing Next to You.” Jungkook records physical sales of over 2.1 million copies on the first day. 

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In Korea, music review site IZM provides a critique for Jungkook’s first solo album “Golden”. Evaluated by Han Sung Hyun, Jungkook’s “Golden” got only 2 out of 5 stars with strict comments, stating that Golden “reveals the shortcomings of a pop star in the era of K-pop transcending boundaries.”

“Golden” is criticized by IZM for lacking coherence and individuality, appearing solely for commercial success, emphasizing HYBE’s revenue ambitions more than ever.

Jungkook’s efforts to portray a global star image are scrutinized, concluding it as a mere imitation. Jungkook is evaluated as attempting to replicate pop music icons like Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber.

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“Golden is no different from some random playlist, algorithmically put together. Golden is a clear testament to HYBE’s desire to remove the ‘K’ from ‘K-pop.’ Similar to LE SSERAFIM carrying the colors of Rosalía or NewJeans mimicking PinkPantheress in their sound. Perhaps Jungkook’s competition is not fellow artists but the trending AI sound,” writes Han Sung Hyun.

This critique immediately sparks a controversy. Some agree with IZM’s straightforward comments, while others argue that the review is being overly critical and subjectively biased. Meanwhile, the U.S. media praises Jungkook’s “Golden”, with NME even stating that Jungkook “has the potential to become the pop music representative of the 2020s.”

IZM criticizes “Golden” but gives high scores to “low-quality” songs?

IZM’s scoring criteria raise many questions among ARMYs. IZM is known as the largest music review site in Korea, with different critics having varying styles, perspectives, and criteria. Each song is evaluated by different critics, making subjectivity inevitable in IZM’s reviews. After the controversial review of “Golden” on social media, many of IZM’s old reviews resurface, attracting attention from fans.

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Some listed songs are:

IZM’s review of BLACKPINK:

  • Flower (JISOO): 1.5/5 stars
  • LALISA (LISA): 2/5 stars
  • Born Pink: 2/5 stars
  • Playing With Fire, Kill This Love: 2/5 stars

IZM’a review of BTS:

  • Dynamite: 2.5/5 stars
  • Love Me Again (V): 2.5/5 stars
  • 3D, Seven (Jung Kook): 3.5/5 stars
  • Golden (Jung Kook): 2/5 stars
  • No More Dream: 2/5 stars
  • Jack In The Box (j-hope): 2.5/5 stars
  • Like Crazy (Jimin): 3/5 stars
  • Indigo (RM): 3.5/5 stars

Some Western songs:

  • abcdefu (Gayle): 3/5 stars
  • ME! (Taylor Swift): 1/5 stars
  • No Tears Left To Cry (Ariana Grande): 2.5/5 stars
  • Focus (Ariana Grande): 2/5 stars
  • Forget Me (Lewis Capaldi): 2.5/5 stars
  • “=” (Ed Sheeran): 2.5/5 stars

Some viral songs and albums in Korea:

  • Unforgiven (LE SSERAFIM): 1.5/5 stars
  • Bite Me (ENHYPEN): 2.5/5 stars
  • E.P “Get Up” (NewJeans): 2.5/5 stars
  • Nxde (G)I-DLE: 2.5/5 stars
  • Eleven (IVE): 3/5 stars
  • Day By Day (BIG BANG): 2/5 stars
  • After Like (IVE): 2/5 stars
  • A Flower Bookmark (IU): 2.5/5 stars
  • Twenty-three (IU): 2.5/5 stars
  • 5-STAR (STRAY KIDS): 3/5 stars

This list sparks controversy as some songs and albums are deemed to have “unusually high” scores despite being considered “low-quality” by the public. For instance, “abcdefu” by Gayle is rated 3/5, higher than Taylor Swift’s “ME!” 

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Although it gained global popularity on TikTok, “abcdefu” faced criticism for its simple arrangement and lack of meaningful lyrics, leading to objections when it was nominated for a Grammy.

The public begins to question the credibility of IZM as each song is evaluated solely based on the subjective opinion of a music expert, asserting that these ratings are for reference purposes only.

Source: K14