[Review] BTS improve on “Dynamite” with “Butter” being as smooth as advertised

BTS’s “Dynamite” has become the kind of ubiquitous megahit you hear soundtrackig everything from talk shows to award show advertisements. It’s a feat I’d never thought possible for a K-pop act, and one I find myself resisting more than I’d like to admit.

So, when it was announced that “Butter” would be another English-language pop song, I wasn’t sure how to feel about the guys continuing down this route. Then, I read about the track taking influence from classic r&b/pop producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Their names are on my personal Mount Rushmore of music, so seeing them referenced brought an instant smile to my face.

I’m not sure I hear a ton of Jam and Lewis in the explosive recipe of “Butter”, but the song improves upon “Dynamite” in every single way. The groove is more dynamic, the vocals clearer, the lyrics less jarring and the energy more effusive. It’s pop music with a capital “P,” unashamed by its own audacity. And unlike “Dynamite”, it manages to feel distinctly BTS despite the layers of studio polish thrown over the top.

“Butter” wastes no time laying down its funk backbone, charging forward with a chugging beat that quickly deepens with the injection of rubbery bass. The instrumental continues to build into the pre-chorus, joined by brilliant synth that explodes as the chorus hits with full intensity. But, “Butter” isn’t done yet. It sidesteps the perils of a momentum-killing breakdown by diving back into that slinky bass that opened the track. The vocal arrangement here is also brilliant — something I don’t often say about Big Hit Entertainment productions these days.

But, the core appeal comes down its surging energy. Its chorus is instantly memorable yet never cloying, and glides into a euphoric, brass-kissed breakdown before we hit the bridge. The rap here is attuned to the song’s flow, bringing another shot of rhythm to the bounding instrumental. And at just under three minutes, “Butter” never hits a dull moment. It’s got a classic “sound of summer” charm, and this time I’ll wholeheartedly welcome its inevitable omnipresence.

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