The other day, I cobbled together a playlist of every LOONA-related song and hit the shuffle button. I’ve had my gripes about their music in the past (mostly tied to personal taste rather than objective quality), but hearing the breadth of their sound was quite a striking experience. In less than two years, the girls have tackled a great variety of styles, tied together with fan-friendly lore that’s helped establish a passionate following. With that said, neither of their full-group title tracks hit me particularly hard, and new single Butterfly’s musical choices just aren’t for me.
Produced by G-High from the Monotree team, Butterfly adheres to many of the atmospheric touches that have elevated the group’s best work. And throughout the opening verse, LOONA draw on the strength of that aesthetic to craft a moody melody that slowly builds interest. As the vocals begin to pitch up for the evocative pre-chorus, it appears that we’re headed towards something quite special.
Unfortunately, Butterfly climaxes in the kind of languid drop chorus that has outstayed its welcome in global pop music. Instrumental hooks like this rarely elicit sparks anymore, but when they do it’s because the loops feel novel or inventive. Butterfly’s drop recycles the same kind of bleary synth mush we’ve heard too often, sacrificing the song’s energy instead of bringing it to a new level. Devoid of a fleshed-out melodic refrain, the chorus opts for a high-pitched “fly like a butterfly” hook that will likely divide opinion. For me, the key is simply too high to enjoy. I’m impressed that the girls can hit these notes, but there’s just not much to grab onto outside of that novelty. Too often, the song feels like mood for the sake of mood, lacking the engaging framework to support its lofty ambitions.