K-Pop and K-Dramas: “Butter” Is Coming!

Photoshoot image of Kim Seokjin, Kim Namjoon (RM), Jeon Jungkook, Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), Park Jimin, Min Yoongi (Suga), and Kim Taehyung (V). Copyright goes to BTS and the HYBE Corporation.

Hey! Hallie here!

By now everyone’s heard about the new single BTS is set to release next month. This single is “Butter”, an all-English song that will likely smash records in the same way “Dynamite” did. The official release date is May 21st. Sometime afterwards, like “Dynamite”, the song is expected to be added to a new album. However, the “Life Goes On” album came out quite a bit after “Dynamite” did so there’s not really any word on when that album will be released. In any case, this is really exciting news! I’m always happy to receive more content from BTS. They have been consistently putting out content throughout the pandemic, which is a feat in itself, and the announced release of “Butter” after we just got “Film Out” and news about their Japanese album shows how hard they are still working. Understandably though, some ARMYs are a little unsettled with the promise of another all English song. There’s a lot of theories going around as to why they’re releasing another English song at all. So let’s go through their last releases to see what might be unsettling about this release, and what we can expect from this new song.

“Dynamite”:

“Dynamite” was the first all English song BTS released. It was made to lighten the spirits of everyone stuck inside and dealing with depression due to quarantine. It was a light track, lacking some of the depth of their other songs in its lyrics but also making up for it with its fun pop sound. It also was entirely in English in an attempt to help bring in more English-speaking audiences. The song went above and beyond what it originally set out to do. Not only did it bring in more English-speaking audiences, but it hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for several weeks, was nominated for various awards, and took over the American media for almost the entire year. BTS was already insanely popular, but the song propelled them to even higher heights. And while BTS was grateful for the reaction the song received, they were also kind of worried by it. It took an English song for BTS to get some of the recognition they deserve, but the group is proudly Korean. Many of their Korean songs are much deeper and showcase their insane talents far better than “Dynamite” does, not to mention the fact that the members are much more involved in the creation of their Korean songs. So the victory “Dynamite” won them was well earned, but felt a bit hollow. The success of “Dynamite” also led many talk show hosts to question BTS incessantly about when their next English track would be released. Namjoon mentioned multiple times that they would like to see a Korean song hit the top of the Hot 100 list and reiterated that BTS is not BTS if they switch completely over to English. But the only way it seemed the American media would honor them is through their English contributions. The blatant racism here is still very obvious, and ARMYs made sure to vocalize how wrong this reaction to “Dynamite” was every chance they got.

“Life Goes On”:

When the song “Life Goes On” released, it hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100. This was incredibly important because it meant a Korean song could experience that success. But “Life Goes On” didn’t receive nearly as much attention as “Dynamite”. It didn’t stay at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for very long and “Dynamite” was still focused on more than it, despite how long it had been since the release of “Dynamite”. When the entire album was released, with “Dynamite” tagged onto the end, “Dynamite” was the only English song. “Blue & Grey” had even been originally written by Taehyung in English, but the song was specifically changed to Korean for the album. BTS made a clear statement that they would not switch over to English simply to please the media. They wanted to keep creating in their native language, as they should be accepted for doing. With the release of this album, ARMYs thought we wouldn’t see another English song for a good long while.

“Butter”:

“Butter promises to be a pop/dance track, similar to “Dynamite”, and of course, it’s an English song. It comes right on time to be the summer song of the year, allowing BTS to dominate with yet another summer anthem. There’s a lot of speculation over what type of message they’re going with for this song. Only Namjoon is fully fluent in English, which is why he was the only contributor amongst the members when writing “Dynamite”, so it could be another light bop with lyrics that do more to aid the sound of the song than to relay a deep message. Or it could be a witty English response to what happened with “Dynamite”. A lot of people have been favoring this idea after some sources reported that “butter” was a term in Korean slang used to say that something is very white or very American. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see what BTS will go for with this song.

I know a lot of ARMYs are worried about “Butter”, but it’s BTS! They are, fortunately, very in control over their work and I don’t think any of them will ever advocate for leaving their Korean roots behind. BTS has dabbled in various languages, mainly Japanese and now English, but they’ll always return to Korean. And no matter what they release, ARMYs will support them and do their best to make BTS happy with the reception of the track. We’ll enjoy pretty much anything they do. Like an entire hour-long livestream of a piece of cartoon butter melting into a heart. No I didn’t make that up. For now, we’ll just have to wait until May to see what these boys have planned.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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