I’ve been listening to BTS for over five years now, and I’m constantly impressed by everything they’ve accomplished. I’ve seen their whole meteoric increase in global popularity – something that will never cease to amaze me – and I’m certain that “Butter” will help their star rise even higher. That being said, I must confess that my personal interest level in them has plateaued due to way too much overexposure. I’m a multifan at heart, and my style is to completely immerse myself in a group’s comeback and then take a break to balance things out. This doesn’t work with BTS because they’re everywhere in South Korea; since I moved here, I’ve never had the chance to take a step back and renew that enthusiasm. So I’ve always liked them and I always will, but I’m just not spending too much time on them right now. Thankfully, it seems like “Butter” might start changing that for me.
Simply put, “Butter” has all the makings of a certified hit. It’s super catchy, and I can’t help but sing along to the verses and groove with the bass line. I’m not into the melody of the chorus quite as much, but I’ll admit it’s rapidly growing on me. The whole song has got a little bit of a retro vibe, but it doesn’t buy too heavily into that sound or make it the focus – which I appreciate, because I’ve never been super into the retro or “newtro” trends. (Nothing wrong with them, but they’re just not my style.) “Butter” is a little bit jazzy, a little bit funky, and a little bit groovy – but all in all, it just sounds like a classic pop song. I feel like it’s the kind of track anyone can listen to and enjoy, even those who aren’t into K-pop or even pop in general.
I’m definitely liking the vocal parts of “Butter” a lot, but I’m even more thrilled that there’s a rap section. There hasn’t been much rap in BTS’s recent singles, and it’s kind of a shame since that used to be such an integral part of their music. I was really disappointed when “Dynamite” didn’t have any rapping at all, so I’m definitely glad that “Butter” brings it back a bit. It’s obviously not like the hard-hitting verses BTS was serving up back in their early years (which is probably more my speed), but it’s enough to give the rappers more visibility – and that’s really all I’m asking for. Also, I’m very glad whoever produced this song eased up on the autotune a bit. All of the members have such unique and interesting voices, and I prefer hearing them without too much vocal processing.
Per usual, my favorite part of this comeback is the choreography. BTS never disappoints on this front, and I always love to watch them perform. The fun and entertaining dance for “Butter” is certainly no exception. I especially love the dance break at the bridge where they split into small groups, which I could honestly watch on repeat a bunch of times. (Main dancer J-Hope rise!!!) The main point of the song is that BTS’s charms are “smooth like butter,” and it’s super apparent here. Every movement is sleek and polished, designed to highlight the group’s heartthrob status. BTS is that rare K-pop group where I don’t actually have a bias (I swear it changes every year), so I find myself getting drawn in by all of them – particularly V, though Jungkook’s long purple hair is definitely eye-catching as well.
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
If I had to pick a time when I was the most invested in BTS, I’d say it was probably about three years ago during “Fake Love” and “IDOL.” The whole Love Yourself era has some of my favorite BTS music, and those times are filled with nothing but good memories. When I first came to South Korea, I was probably the most interested in them that I’d ever been. Sadly, that’s changed a lot in the years I’ve lived here – partially because of the constant overexposure I mentioned before, and partially because their music shifted in a direction that I just don’t vibe with as much. I’m truly happy for them and all that they’ve achieved, and I think their new musical style suits them well. But I also can’t deny that I’ve been waiting for another BTS song that I personally really click with, an instant obsession that brings back all that excitement that I used to feel for them a few years back.
“Butter” isn’t quite that song, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. To tell the truth, I’ve been maxed out on “Dynamite” for months now – unpopular opinion, I know – so “Butter” is a welcome and much-needed change for me. It’s not a complete reset, but I still feel like it’s a breath of fresh air that’s helped me renew my interest in BTS just a little bit. And honestly, I’ll take it. I still probably won’t go all-in on this comeback like I normally do, because I know I’ll hear “Butter” and see it performed many times over the rest of the year. I want to stretch out that enjoyment for as long as I can before overexposure sets in. So I’m being a little cautious, but I’m definitely feeling optimistic.
(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)
SOURCES: Music video and featured image belong to Big Hit Music. Music video distributed by HYBE.