Review

Song Review: Jin (BTS) – The Astronaut

Jin (BTS) - AstronautIf you told me a decade ago that a member of the world’s biggest K-pop band would release a track written by Coldplay, I would’ve been shocked. But, global outreach and a popularity boom has resulted in collaborations like this becoming much more common. And with Jin, this team-up makes sense. His solo tracks on BTS albums often have a soft rock sheen — particularly 2020’s Moon. He has the vocal tone and expressive style to compliment this genre. The Astronaut marks his final release before enlistment — a bittersweet time for fans of any group.

But, The Astronaut feels bittersweet in a different way. It makes me wish HYBE had leveraged BTS’s success to deliver more solo singles and albums. YG were masterful at this when managing Bigbang, and it made the group dynamic more powerful and interesting. It’s a shame that Jin gets one song to showcase his individual talent before taking a lengthy hiatus. I mean, The Astronaut isn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s a Coldplay track sung by Jin. It does what it says on the tin. But, it hints at a robust side career that could have been… and hopefully will be in years to come. I can’t help but wonder what we missed out on.

Make no mistake about it: The Astronaut is very, very pretty. Its soft, lilting sound is right up my alley. Even if it never builds to the cathartic climax I hope for in a song of this style, its steady journey is satisfying on its own. Jin’s lower register is warm and inviting and never too showy. Instead, The Astronaut has a rustic quality that flies in the face of its synth-heavy production. It’s a nice blend of elements, made for open-road driving and gazing at the stars.

It’s also pleasant to hear a K-pop song take its time. The Astronaut stretches close to five minutes and its emotional through-line never wavers. It could’ve done with a counter melody to add more structural diversity because you do have to earn those five minutes. Repetition is one of the song’s strengths, but this approach sacrifices an element of surprise. The Astronaut occasionally feels like it’s spinning its wheels. But I’ll repeat: those wheels are damn pretty. As both a send-off and a look toward the future, it’s a welcome addition to the group’s ever-expanding suite of pop genres.

Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.5

Grade: B

28 thoughts on “Song Review: Jin (BTS) – The Astronaut

  1. This sounds really nice! I’m a sucker for this type of genre so this is right up my alley. Jin sounds phenomenal and I loved the backing vocals that Coldplay provided.

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    • That’s funny. I didn’t mention it in the review but Chris Martin’s backing vocal is my least favorite part! It takes me out of the song (probably because I’ve never really enjoyed the sound of his voice)

      Liked by 2 people

      • I thought the backing vocals help elevate this piece a bit. Oh well, different strokes for different people.

        Regardless, I’m glad you enjoyed this song as much as I did. It’s a great solo debut and I can’t wait to see his solo career fleshed out after he’s done with military service.

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  2. I was surprised by the score, I thought it would be lower. The problem I have with the song is the chorus. I don’t like and as a comment above says it sounds more Coldplay than Jin but over nice song.

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  3. Pleasant. I bet more than one person has already made the one hour loop of it on youtube, because the song seems to just cycle without going high or low, just around and around. The Army love their one hour loops.

    There is also the patented Hybe mega heavy soft vocal layering a la “Life Goes On” and “Film Out” which adds a swath of cushioning sound to bolster Jin’s voice.

    For me, its very Coldplay but old leftover Coldplay song, like one from Chris Martin’s vault when they asked for a song he shuffled through some papers and found this one, and his backing voice may very well be from the demo in his home studio.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jin has probably my least favorite voice out of the BTS vocalists but some my favorite solos (Moon, Epiphany, especially the demo version of Epiphany). I’m not sure I would listen to a whole album of these soft rock ballads, but this one works pretty well. As a “song for ARMY,” it’s perfect.

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  5. I love Jin’s voice and I’m pleased to see he got such an expansive, well made song. It feels like Coldplay! All of his solo songs in albums or otherwise have really connected, and this one does too.

    As an ARMY, I would have loved more solo work from all the members, but this is a start. Maybe before each of them actually leaves for enlistment they’ll drop a solo?? Fingers crossed it becomes a pattern.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jin has something in his voice that conveys a kind of nostalgic emotion that fascinates me in all his solo works or covers. However, I feel like that was overused in this song, and the repetitiveness only helped to stress me out a bit. It seems that Jin wanted to sound dead or inert on purpose and that impression did not come organically (as the rest of his solo songs make me feel).
    Well, maybe I’ll swallow my words finding a certain charm to it playing it again, who knows.

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  7. The person who wrote this review seems to think this is Jin’s first solo song. It is not. Second, the BTS members have said on many occasions that their focus has been the group. All did solo work but all put the group ahead of the individual. This is a major difference between BTS & Western Boy Bands. They attribute their success to this.

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    • Christine seems to think that Nick (who wrote this review) seems to think that this is Jin’s first solo song. But Nick literally wrote, “His solo tracks on BTS albums often have a soft rock sheen — particularly 2020’s Moon.” Nowhere does Nick say or imply that this is Jin’s first solo song. In fact, he says the opposite: That it’s Jin’s last song before his enlistment.

      Anyway, while I’m not fond of The Astronaut, I did quite like Jin’s soundtrack song Yours from last year.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Maybe it’ll grow on me (doubtful though), but right now it sounds rather bland to my ears. I expected the last note of the chorus to go up at some point, but it kept sliding down. The strumming electric guitar also bothers me, the instrumentation’s too basic.

    I get why many hate Coldplay; this song embodies the sound that MOR saccharine many people hate, me included. (For the record, I enjoyed their first two albums, and the ones made with Brian Eno.) If there’s an upside, at least it’s better than My Universe.

    Bigbang’s soloists’ songs were *tough*. (Even on piano ballads like Untitled 2014 and Eyes Nose Lips, there was a hint of danger from the singers.) I’m starting to get the feeling that BTS is greater than the sum of its parts. V’s made some tunes I love (Singularity, Sweet Night), Jimin has that great voice, and Suga’s been involved in some great productions; those are the 3 I think I have the most hope for.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello!
    This has nothing to do with this review and you might already be aware of it but a YouTuber called Edward Avila did a video with RoaD-B and I’m pretty sure the K-pop song review blog he mentions at the beginning of the video it’s yours.
    Since who else has spread the RoaD-B agenda?!
    Anyways, it made me happy haha. Here’s the link to the video.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing! I’m excited to watch this as there is sooo little content out there for these guys. Hard to know if they’re referencing me or Asianjunkie or someone else, but I’m happy to do anything I can to give RoaD-B a chance!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I normally really like Jin’s solos. This one… it’s pleasant, but I’m not over the Moon about it. Maybe one day I’ll have an Epiphany and fall in love with it. I’ll definitely be listening to it more Tonight, as I lie Awake staring into the Abyss…

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    • (Nah but seriously I really like Jin’s solo songs. I never understood all the criticism of his vocals, sure he wasn’t Jungkook or Jimin or V but he was more than adequate and just consistently getting the best songs. This one… is more than fine, but a tiny bit disappointing knowing how good his music can be.)

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I listened to the song when it came out, and I realized how much better Jin sounds singing at a lower register. No hate to him and his talents, but I always found Jin’s voice to be nasally and irritating when he sang in higher notes. This song is truly pleasing to my ears, and I think I’ll be listening again.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love it so so so much. Its an amazingly well done goodbye for now song. I love that the video he grabs his helmet and basically says “It’ll be ok. I gotta go for a little while. See you when I get back”. I couldn’t love this more than I do. Its so great. It definitely sounds like it was written by Coldplay. I love them though. It kinda sounds like Chris Martin wanted an X and Y feel to this song. This song is a good note for Jin to leave on. I wish him the rest of BTS luck in the military and a safe return. I’m happy that this saga is finally over even if I’m sad to see them go. Be safe and we’ll see you when you get back.

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  13. There’s a reason why professional musicians, producers, directors — many of whom are male — found themselves tearing up again and again reacting to The Astronaut. Jin tells a whole story from start to finish with his voice. He imbues straight-forward, innocent lyrics with a whole soundscape, and breaks your heart with a simple and pure “And I love you.” This is a song that is resonating with a lot of people who never expected to like BTS music, and are now playing it on loop.

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