Before I go on to ravage parts of Papillon, let me introduce this review by stating that Jackson is one of my very favorite k-pop personalities. Though I’ve been a listener of k-pop for a long time, I never really got into the variety show side of things until mid-2014. It was then that the series Roommate introduced me to the genre. Jackson featured prominently in Roommate‘s second season, and quickly ingratiated himself with an endlessly entertaining, candid charm. That, in turn, heightened my interest in GOT7‘s music — even if that interest has waned over the past year or so.
With that said, from a musical standpoint I’m not sure that JYP really knows what to do with Jackson. For the past several comebacks, his moments in GOT7 tracks have all been delivered in the same gruff, overly put-on shout-rap tone. That’s all well and good for a bombastic track like Hard Carry, but not so effective when it comes to more nuanced material. For this reason, I feared that a solo release would be three minutes of the exact same blustery cadence.
Thankfully, Papillon includes enough variation to feel at least somewhat dynamic from a musical standpoint. But any of this goodwill is sabotaged by the song’s inane English lyrics and lazy chorus. Its one-dimensional simplicity recalls mainstream American hip-hop of the early 00’s. And in this way, I suppose Papillon is actually a bit refreshing in its low-ambition retro approach. But then again, this style of rap was never really that great in the first place, so it’s not the kind of nostalgia worth revisiting. Jackson is an incredible entertainer in so many ways, but if Papillon is any indication, I’m not sure he possesses the kind of versatility to carry a solo musical career.
This feels like JYP is trying to recreate Jay Park’s success with AOMG with Jackson while still under the JYP umbrella. Even disregarding the music (bleh), I hate it when people pick up on a word that sounds cool but has no real meaning or context. So does Jackson feel like a miniature dog breed or a butterfly? Because that’s what Papillon is, and neither fits what little context the lyrics have.
To my understanding, the lyrics of this song is quite personal for Jackson. The relationship between Jackson and JYP is not in good state at the moment, ever since Jackson found out that his agency didn’t even try to negotiate any price of his appearance on a Chinese variety show “Please Refrigerator – China version” as a regular host prior to premier airing. This really made Jackson furious because this really damage Jackson’s bargaining power, as this kind of feels like he is appearing and hosting the show for free despite his skyrocketing popularity in China. And its not just about money, Jackson had a really tough time keeping up with the tight schedules by his agency, causing a critical health issue not long ago.
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This song is really good. Jackson is so perfect and I’m literally obsessed with the song. Everyone needs to stop hating on him. He is one of the best rappers.
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