Song Review: Cosmic Girls (WJSN) – Butterfly

Since their 2016 debut, Cosmic Girls have gone a long way towards established a signature sound. Much of this has been possible by keeping their stable of songwriters tight. I think this is important for an idol group, as it fosters a sense of incremental growth without jarring transitions in style. New single Butterfly continues the girls’ general aesthetic, but brings production team Galactika (of ITZY fame) on board. This results in another solid pop song, though the devil is in the details.

When I think of Cosmic Girls, my mind immediately goes to vocals. They’re probably my favorite working girl group in this regard, and a lot of that has to do with how their voices are layered. There’s a real tight blend, almost as if the same tone is being overdubbed. And then, you’ve got the incredible Yeonjung to bring it all home. So, I’m surprised to say that Butterfly’s vocal arrangement feels messy. In fact, the arrangement as a whole feels overly cluttered. Between the busy synths and constant exertion of the melody, Butterfly struggles to find a satisfying dynamic that would allow for necessary peaks and valleys. Remove those incessant synth chirps, and the problem would be nearly solved.

With that said, the track is still very enjoyable. Despite the busyness of its instrumental, I love Butterfly‘s unyielding energy. And as you might have guessed by reading past reviews, a galvanizing energy goes a long way toward covering issues I may have with a song. The group has found stronger choruses in the past, but Butterfly’s is effective and concise. Still, I would have killed for a climactic post chorus (à la As You Wish) to give Yeonjung a chance to really let loose. But in this age of subdued K-pop, beggars can’t be choosers.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!


24 thoughts on “Song Review: Cosmic Girls (WJSN) – Butterfly

  1. 1. A good instrumental is buried under vocals which shouldn’t happen

    2. The vocal guide is 100% wrong, no group should sing a song with such weirdly over stressed flow all over the place. The melody is definitely hinting something else.

    3. You can’t find something rhymes with ɛ? Write something else! Don’t put yeah to rhyme and you don’t even have to in this song?

    So, hard disagree on the rating, but I can’t even give a fitting numerical rating


    • 2. didn’t occur to me until you mentioned it. Oh here we go again, listening to this song all over again. It is as if they are singing a song in iambic pentameter, instead of longer more musical phrase lines. Actually more like ONE two three four ONE two three four (for some sections) and ONE two THREE four ONE two THREE four (for other sections).

      3. It has always bothered me how most Korean songs don’t bother to rhyme. I have a Stephen Sondheim book where he goes on for pages and pages about how a Lyricist (in English) to be called such must rhyme dammit! Then even more pages about the kinds of rhymes a proper Lyricist can and should do, … … whammit. I would think that the Korean language would have plenty enough conserved sentence structure and similar declined and conjugated word endings that would enable easy rhymes, but I have just come to the conclusion that it is not a feature that is required or expected in Korean songs. So I just let it go.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I love this song ! Sounds like something Lovelyz or Oh my Girl would make but not fully , sure it wwasn’t as strong as their other singles but their massive PERSONAL FAVORITES of mine so I wouldn’t mind , honestly.
    I’d give it 10 in BIAS since ITZY is also close in being a personal fav and I love Galactika so I really wouldn’t mind again and also their PERSONAL FAVORITES.
    Hooks: 8
    Production: 8
    Longevity: 9
    Bias : 10
    Rating: 8.75

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeez — I can’t imagine this song is going to have any staying power. I expected a lot more from WJSN and Galactika. None of the fun rhythmic elements of Galactika’s Itzy work are present and the vocals feel… wrong? WJSN are way better than this. They released 10-15 better songs last year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am not quite as taken by this song as you are. To me it sounds like I have heard this song a dozen times before, albeit sans cheerleader chants and disjointed rap verse. (If there was a rap verse, it blended in well, so well I have missed it six times listening just now.)

    My humble opinion: I am not sure the chorus harmonies are all real. The chords, the timbre, the way the same harmony repeats identically on every chorus, the ultra precise starts and stops on every note are all a bit too tight. Sure one could edit and produce the shit out of a live vocal to get it like that, maybe they recorded one of them doing all the harmonies and cut and paste for each chorus. But it sounds to me that it is crafted by a vocoder effect on a keyboard that produces chords instead of merely an autotune effect. (Like how the “Hymn of Acxiom” by Vienna Teng” was originally created.) In any case, we will never hear those harmonies live because kpop rarely does.

    That said, the song is OK. A bright summer song for whatever the Cosmic Girls fan club is called. Meets expectations. This also skews young, this theme, so I wouldn’t be in the target demographic anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I loved the song! For me, it’s a title that’s very energetic and has such a nice meaning! It’s nice to see WJSN maturing without losing their touch to girl crush and dark-ish vibe, sure, the vocals may not be top notch, but the song is still super fine and catchy!


  6. My main issue with the song is probably the lack of noticeable rises and falls, that being said still find it enjoyable and catchy if not quite as good as their last two titles.
    Thoughts on the album?

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I like Butterfly, but I can’t help feeling a bit disappointed with it.

    Hola would’ve been an excellent addition to their great singles run, I think. Pantomime is also very good.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Butterfly reminds me of assa by cignature. It’s a great song it’s just their voices doesn’t suit the track. It’s a good song, I just think another group should have sung it.


  9. I agree with everything you said. I like the song, but the arrangement is messy and makes it sound a bit too busy. Also, the rap was too short. And of course there is the lack of a climax/peak..


  10. I love the song! Everyone seems to be talking about how it’s too busy and too constantly energetic (lack of peaks or falls), but for me that’s the charm of the song. It never lets up. ‘Hola’ is better, but this is still it imo


  11. I like it, but it feels empty compared to their past title songs (Save Me Save You is still my favourite). The “cosmic”, “I’m a magical girl” feeling of the song just isn’t there. This feels like a small step back from As You Wish.

    Also the mixing… it sounds so noisy? It’s not like Lana Take The Wheel level bad, but there are parts of the song where I feel like the melody is trying to fight the vocals. But honestly just glad this isn’t another Boogie Up /shrug/


  12. The song is okay. I don’t like it as much as you but I’d give it a 7.75 or 8. What bugs me the most is that they had a great summer title track in Hola and they decided to promote this as the lead single… Hola might have its own problems but holy shit does it bang so much more than this.


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