Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

BTS – Stay Gold

Fool’s gold, more like…


[Video]
[4.00]

Michael Hong: More than “love yourself,” this is BTS’ mission statement. It’s clear after an album of callbacks to previous lyrics, samples, and motifs that BTS are just not ready to let go of the past, that they’ve been filtering everything through warm rose-gold nostalgia. All that’s here is a blurry photograph missing the full picture, glossy but blank, with its annoyingly repetitive chorus in the place of something meaningful.
[3]

Alex Clifton: “Stay Gold” recalls some of BTS’s earlier Japanese-only releases that I liked, with bouncy pianos and cheerful lyrics. A song like “Stay Gold” is badly needed in the cruel summer of 2020, a reminder to keep your spirits up during the worst times. Like “Spring Day” before it, it’s a song about love and friendship. Hell, the video shows BTS separated and then happy and together bathed in golden light. (It’s a lovely video, although I worried about social distancing guidelines as I watched — an unexpected consequence of the COVID era.) But there’s something also more… soulless about it? Don’t get me wrong, the boys believe every word they’re singing. I’ve followed this band long enough to know they genuinely care about creating a caring space so fans know they are safe and loved. Yet the production here is too polished. That might be a weird claim to make about K-pop/boy band music in general, but there’s a scrappy energy missing here that made BTS’s earlier work so great. Much of the Map of the Soul work has left me bored. It’s not technically bad in the slightest, but leans more generic than I’m used to from this band. Is this a product of their increasing international popularity? Have I grown too far away from the fandom? Have my tastes changed so radically? I really can’t tell. At any rate, it’s a sweet sentiment; I just wish the song were better.
[5]

Nina Lea: For a song that has nearly enough writers to field a Little League team, “Stay Gold” sports both somewhat generic lyrics and a lack of decisive personality. The track avoids the more-is-too-much muddle of vocal lines and effects that have bogged other BTS singles down and offers some excellent showcases for the members. But like those relentless piano chords, the song builds and builds to end up right back where it started from.
[5]

Tobi Tella: My problem with BTS is just how manufactured and robotic it all feels, label-designed to make me feel the right emotions at the right time. But damn if the design doesn’t work sometimes! The novelty wore off about halfway through, and it does still feel empty, but I can’t lie and say that first chorus hit over images of golden retrievers and flower petals didn’t make me want to cry.
[5]

Alfred Soto: It took less time to change my car’s rear passenger side tire than it took BTS to get to the splat of a chorus.
[4]

Edward Okulicz: BTS as a troupe of Johnnys imparting advice to their stan army of Ponyboys and Ponygirls? Basically a licence to print money and make streams. But there’s something very dated about “Stay Gold,” like it’s walked battered out of the breezy pop doldrums of ten or so years ago with nothing to say and nothing to make you remember it by. To be frank, it’s boring.
[3]

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: BTS aims for an inspirational, special daydream soundtrack, but the result sounds quotidian and snoozy; “Stay Gold” feels as golden and luxurious as Sears. 
[3]

Katie Gill: It’s really amazing how one of the biggest K-pop groups in the world decides to give us a song that reminds me way too much of “Billionaire” or a Train song instead of anything, you know, GOOD, and it still manages to rack up ten bajillion views. Stan ARMY or something I guess.
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Reader average: [2.5] (2 votes)

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One Response to “BTS – Stay Gold”

  1. For some reason the hover over text of my link wonked out — should’ve read “this live version of Good Day ends in the cutest way” because everyone surrounds Jin with his microphones. So if you’re into that kind of thing you should check it out.

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