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.
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