Review

Song Review: BTS – MIC Drop (Steve Aoki Remix)

Less than a week after their historic performance on the American Music Awards, BTS have returned with a remixed version of their album track MIC Drop, courtesy of U.S. DJ/producer Steve Aoki. For the past year or so, I feel like I’ve been in the minority when it comes to the group’s incredible worldwide success. BTS has worked so hard and come so far, and they certainly deserve to be as massive as they’ve become. But as someone who has all but abandoned the U.S. music scene for a variety of reasons, I can’t help but feel that the very western elements I’ve come to loathe are threatening to alter k-pop’s unique identity. This push and pull has been steadily increasing ever since PSY‘s big international breakthrough in 2012, but it feels like we’re entering a new stage. And as a very early and enthusiastic supporter of BTS, I fear that the quality of their music is starting to suffer even as their star power explodes.

A western influence in k-pop is nothing new. It’s been persistent since the early 90’s, and forms a vital component of the sound that forged most modern idol groups. But now that America’s charts are in sight, BTS’s management has scrambled to have the group collaborate with the type of U.S. musicians who might lend them credibility with casual listeners. This tactic extends to MIC Drop‘s newly English-language chorus, which feels as unnecessary as it did when groups like Girls’ Generation and Spica attempted English breakthroughs years ago. BTS have made it this far by staying true to their Korean roots. There’s no reason to change that now.

On the plus side, MIC Drop‘s newly aggressive production heightens the energy of the original, transforming the track into the kind of hype anthem the group excels at. Nothing about it is nearly as strong or exciting as Dope, Fire or Not Today, but the song is within the same wheelhouse. The guys could definitely do with a little less autotune, which has begun to creep into their music more and more over the past year. As “hard” as their sound can be, BTS is home to a ridiculously solid vocal line. I wish MIC Drop gave those voices more to do. Its best moment actually comes during the last thirty seconds, as the production starts to build toward a climax that never pays off. That sense of immensity matches the bombast of the high-budget music video, but the rest of the song never quite gets there.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.5

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8 thoughts on “Song Review: BTS – MIC Drop (Steve Aoki Remix)

  1. So this song, Steve Aoki certainly did a great job remixing MIC to a more fun, jumpy sound which IMO plays well into BTS’ Strength. But still, I just hate these lyrics, This just has the cockiest lyrics in a K-pop song i’ve heard. To simply put it, the lyrics look just like a cocky milennial’s rant on hate culture. Its just annoying.

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  2. This remix was just entirely unnecessary. It felt like they changed bits of the song just for the sake of changing it, and it didn’t add anything at all. I’m fact the re-arrangement and production choices Aoki made were questionable… why cut the mix in half and make it sound like J-hope is basically rapping a cappella? Why make the upward build in the last section so obvious when it made a perfectly fine switch-up/coda in the original mix? Why the English? Why weaken the central riff so much when the original pseudo-middle eastern plucked string thing in the original was so much stronger?

    Yeah, all in all, the original Mic Drop mix was the “hardest” (because, really, songs like Dope and Fire just aren’t *that* hard at all) that BTS have been since like 2014. As a person who is a big proponent of that sound, I was glad to see the original, but this remix seems to just exist for the sake of having a Steve Aoki collab.

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    • I think you just don’t like edm. The edm community pretty much agrees that not only is this a great remix, but this is Steve Aoki’s best work in a while. I think introducing a build really highlight J-hope’s vocals. The upward build near the end keeps in theme with the house-dubstep format. The english is definitely unnecessary though. The riff was relegated to allow Steve Aoki’s to turn this into the type of track that put him where he is today. This is Steve Aoki’s home turf, if anything, he should have made more changes imo.

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      • EDM is just fine; I like my fair share of subsets of the “genre” (in quotes because EDM isn’t a genre in the same way the “alternative” isn’t a genre).

        I can understand why Steve Aoki made the choices he did, I just think that they were executed poorly. I actually would have been down for him to change more of the track, because right now I find that he didn’t really impress his identity into it enough! You say he relegated the riff to the background so that he could “turn it into the type of track that put him where he is today,” but I don’t see much of ‘Steve Aoki’ in the track. It feels like he just cut a lot out without replacing it with anything substantive. Of course this is all just personal opinion, and your word is definitely as valuable as mine.

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    • I disagree completely. The original is under produced and borderline unlistenable to me. The chorus is incredibly underwhelming compared the rest of the song without the added production in the Aoki remix. It isn’t that melodically interesting so it really needs the relentless beat to save it from being overpower by the “did you see my bag” part of the song which is clearly the fan favourite and the most memorable part.
      As for J-Hope’s part, I like it on the minimal instrumental. Rap is good when it changes up rhythms and dynamic’s like Hoseok’s rap and its more apparent when there is less going on in the track.
      English….I won’t vouch for but I mean I get it because they’re doing a massive push in the US (which is apparently working? they seem to be very popular in Australia where I live also.)
      I think the central riff is improved upon IMMENSELY with the addition of the EDM elements. It keeps with the aggressive BTS song vibe but also bringing into a very cool crossover where EDM and Kpop haven’t really gone before.
      All in all I think the Aoki version sung in Korean with a little less autotune would be my favourite version. I fail to see how the original production was in any way better to the remix.

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  3. Pingback: The Top 10 K-Pop Artists of 2017 | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

  4. This song is CRAP!! “She like Apple Jacks huh I like apple sauce huh huh” really? Did a 2 year old write this!!! The lyrics are TERRIBLE!!!!!! Seriously what happened to the old BTS? I miss the good music…

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