After the global phenomenon that was ‘Dynamite’ and ‘BE’ mini-album’s title track ‘Life Goes On’, expectations were high as the world awaited for BTS’ next comeback. But how did ‘Butter’ do? Was it better or worse? Read on to find out.
As always, I base all my in-depth reviews on a fixed criteria. Namely, lyrics and vocal arrangement, production, memorability, MV, and likelihood that it will be on my playlist. All of this will be tallied for an average total score.
Watch the MV here: https://youtu.be/WMweEpGlu_U
‘Butter’ is a dance-pop track with retro influences. BTS leader RM took part as a co-writer/lyricist of the song. The song is basically a mini-diary chronicle of BTS’ success as global superstars.
The main metaphor of the song is the main theme as well. Them being ‘smooth like butter’ reflects their success and prowess as both Korea’s most succesful artist and the world’s biggest group in music right now. It is just that simple. Nothing more to it.
While there is not much to be said about the lyrics given its simplicity, I will say that the strength of the lyrics lies in said simplicity and its clever use of metaphor and references.
The Usher reference with a strong melisma point, the ‘ARMY’ (BTS fans) namedrop, and the “Get It, Let It Roll” hooks are some of the lyrical highlights of the song and gives it catchiness and memorability.
However, one of the bigger highlights of the song and what makes it stand out is the overall production of the song and its short yet effective Rap Verse.
The production was carefully created and crafted to elevate the energy of the lyrical and vocal arrangement and make it even more powerful. Which is contrasted to ‘Dynamite’ which focused its production to match the vocals and lyrics in order to make the chorus stuck in your head.
The use of various retro beats are excellent. Starting with retro drums which were followed up with dark ominous bass beats which has a pattern that resembles Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’. This gives the song a dark yet upbeat and funky intro to highlight BTS’ strong vocals.
The pre-chorus is then embellished with 80’s liquid beats that give the song an upbeat turn and prepare the listener for a high-octane, powerful and positive sounding chorus.
The chorus is strong and powerful with BTS’ vocal line’s strong upper chest vocals doing the heavy lifting. It is coupled with strong 80’s drums and synthesizers in the background that further emphasize the chorus’ power. The pauses of the segmented beats on the “Get It, Let It Roll” part add extra impact and memorability.
One thing to point out however is that the “Side step right left to my beat” part was hard to memorize and sing along at the first listen but once you give it a few more listens, it gets easier to sing along too.
The 2nd verse uses a similar production as the 1st but incorporates more layered vocal harmonies to highlight the vocals even more. And, clanking beats and sounds are then added prior to the 2nd pre-chorus’ original formula for variety.
The production then goes heavy on the dance break using the vocoder and heavy drums from the chorus, overlayed on top of the synthesizers.
The highlight of this part is the vocoder which was used to resemble the sound of 70’s and 80’s piano and disco sounds to evoke nostalgia. (Production of this part is reminiscent of all the good retro pop trends made famous in Bruno Mars’ ‘24K Magic’ album.)
The rap verse then follows. The rap verse uses the dark bass beats similar from the 1st verse in order to flow naturally from the rest of the song but still sound different. A segmented pause is then added to RM’s last line followed by a distorted whistle tone before ushering in the chorus for one last powerful performance.
All of this however does not take away from the true main highlight of the song which are BTS vocal line’s performance. Unlike ‘Dynamite’, the stylistic choice to use autotune for the nostalgic purpose was avoided and BTS’ vocals are given more chances to show power and character.
Jungkook and V deliver powerful vocals in the verses and chorus. Jimin and Jin also have strong vocals in the pre-chorus and chorus with Jimin adding high vocal harmonies in the 2nd verse and high note ad-libs at the final chorus.
Now for the short yet effective rap verse, BTS’ rapline does not disappoint either. Suga and RM deliver strong flow delivery and catchy lines while sounding like fluent English speakers (only RM is fluent as far as we know though).
J-Hope gets a shorter part at the end though. But, his unique vocal color and delivery are also a standout that you immediately recognize that it is him in his part.
Now for the MV, it was simple and effective. It borrows from American retro pop culture aesthetic and references in order to emphasize the retro vibe and sounds.
The elevator scene at the dance break was a fun and clever highlight of the MV. It gave the BTS members the individual screentime to shine and show their personalities. The use of the alternating color of lights in this scene are reminiscent to Daft Punk’s MV’s which are also a retro reference.
The styling and the sets were simple and effective as well. They looked high budget and reminiscent of 80’s and 90’s American sitcom/movie sets.
The final scene was a true ‘Butter’ stage with the stage and the styling directly referencing butter (the food) in order to tie the entire MV all in for cohesiveness.
My overarching opinion of this song, It’s strong and has great production but it is not as catchy as ‘Dynamite’.
Don’t get me wrong, ‘Dynamite’ was supposed to give the global and American audiences a taste of what BTS is capable of doing by relying on a catchy and singable hook and chorus.
And though ‘Butter’ is also just a taste of BTS, this time, they show more of the characteristics of what made them famous in the first place rather than aiming for catchiness and virality. Those are strong vocals and powerful rap flows all wrapped up in good music production.
Overall, I think ‘Butter’ is still an improvement of what was established in ‘Dynamite’. Better production, stronger vocals and usage of rap. But what sets both apart is the energy.
While both are upbeat, ‘Dynamite’ was all about the positive energy and the good vibes. Meanwhile, ‘Butter’ was all about the high-octane and surging energy. It wastes no time to show you its power while ‘Dynamite’ had a build-up to a euphoric final chorus.
That’s the charm in ‘Butter’. It starts at such an impactful and powerful manner and never once lets up in energy. It remains constantly powerful all throughout that you won’t even notice that it was only 2 minutes and 45 seconds long.
This was such a good comeback and a good contender for song of the summer!!!
My Song Score;
Lyrics and Vocal Arrangement: 8/10
Likelihood that it will be in my playlist: 10/10
Total Average Score: 9.2/10
Let me know what you think of ‘Butter’ and my review at the comments!!!! 💜