Song Review: Jungkook (BTS) – Standing Next To You

Of all the BTS solo efforts, Jungkook’s music has connected most with me. Both Seven and 3D (minus Jack Harlow’s awful verse) have had unexpected staying power and I appreciate how they wear their influences on their sleeve. Both those songs hearkened back to early-2000’s sounds, but title track Standing Next To You mines earlier touchstones to even greater effect.

Rather than breezy and cool, Standing Next To You harnesses the show-stopping power that great K-pop (or in the case, pop) can and should strive for. There’s a whole lot of Michael Jackson inspiration here, though the song itself doesn’t always sound like it.

We open with a flourish of brass and guitar, setting the stage for a theatrical push and pull between restrained cool and bombastic centerpieces. The verses are dominated by falsetto, and that’s where the MJ influence is most notable. Jungkook sounds fantastic here, displaying a confidence that reaches through the speakers. I love how the iciness of the “standing next to you” refrain punctuates the funk backbone with a bit of atmosphere. And given today’s musical trends, it’s refreshing to hear sparse verses give way to a a more explosive chorus. This segment could be hookier, but the stabbing brass and dynamic drum fills are delivered with such aplomb. It’s hard not to get caught up in the drama of it all.

Like Seven, Standing Next To You is a co-write with Canadian producer Cirkut (of Ava Max fame, among many others). This collaboration may prove to be more important than any of the big-name rappers on Jungkook’s other singles. Standing Next To You is giving proper “event single” energy, and that’s a very pleasant surprise given the breezy material that preceded it. In fact, this whole project has been surprising in the best way.






Grade: A-

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