Review

Song Review: BTS – Dynamite

Dynamite is BTS’s first English-language single, and I’m surprised it took them this long. Western pop markets – America, in particular – are notoriously hesitant toward music recorded in any other language, to their immense detriment. True market penetration requires a push past the industry’s gate-keepers, and that’s a struggle. Social media and streaming has made it more possible than ever, but it’s still an uphill climb – even for the world’s biggest pop act.

With this in mind, I can’t help but listen to Dynamite with the ear of the general public – those who might be aware of a popular group called BTS, but aren’t familiar with their music beyond the most surface of qualities. I wonder how this will sound to them? It’s a credible disco-pop pastiche, bright and inoffensive enough to soundtrack ad campaigns (as Katy Perry’s insipid Birthday is currently doing for Target), and feels like the kind of “big tent” pop song created to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. There’s nothing wrong with that, though it comes at the expense of some level of musical character. Dynamite is a great avenue for BTS’s charm, but it says little about the group themselves. Does it even need to?

Upon watching the music video and its pastel palate, I was immediately reminded of last year’s Boy With Luv — another bright, funky track from the group. That song had major crossover appeal as well, yet felt more distinctly BTS. Dynamite grooves along a similar energy, bounding on rhythm guitar and joyful synth accents. It succumbs to Big Hit’s mealy-mouthed vocal processing, as too many of the agency’s output has done over the past year, but the guys sell the fun. It doesn’t feel particularly forced. Yet, it doesn’t feel particularly novel, either. The whole package has a very Justin Timberlake “Can’t Stop The Feeling” vibe – drawing upon classic influences without twisting them enough to wind up as anything more than an amiable crowd-pleaser.

But, everyone loves a crowd-pleaser, and Dynamite’s joy is infectious. It even makes room for a final-chorus key change. We don’t hear too many of those in mainstream pop anymore, and the climax lends the track a celebratory energy that sends it out on a high. I’m not quite sure that the rest of Dynamite earns this moment, but I can’t begrudge the guys for embracing brighter tones and the pure sugar rush that pop music can offer.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25


~

102 thoughts on “Song Review: BTS – Dynamite

  1. It’s fun, it’s groovy, and I had a blast listening to this! The chorus is great and the production is fantastic. Though next time I hope they stop putting their vocals through a diarrhea blender
    I’d give it an 8.75 but I agree with most/all of your points

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Congratulations to me. Finally BTS returns with a fantastic release!!
    After MOTS 7 I was a little disappointed. I was still worried after the teaser bcoz I was afraid the vocal processing could ruin the song,but I’m so happy that this wasn’t the case.

    This song is a gem. Such a happy and uplifting song. I like the lyrics too and if it was bad I would have said something about the English release but how can we object if this is the song we are given. I would take these type of songs any time of the day.
    It’s groovy , funky and just makes you happy while listening.

    My favorite part is Dynanana eh, dynanana eh… I have been singing that nonstop.

    So yes I’m once again excited about their October release, bcoz if this is any indication I’m all in for the next album.

    Rating – 9 or 9.25

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Yes, yes and yes!!
    I don’t know if I would be able to give a justified rating, but who cares. I absolutely love the song and am currently on a high from it.
    This song just makes me undeniably happy and giddy for unknown reasons. I needed this song.

    Someone already said but the dynanana eh part is so addicting and the step too. Some parts are absolutely breathtaking. Just made my day and its morning here so yes I’m glad to start the day with this joyful energy.

    I’m giving it the happiest 9 I can.
    Stay Happy everyone (✿ ♡‿♡)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. The song was great and the MV was even better. On it’s own, it is a really lovable song. But as someone who’s been in the fandom for atleast 3 years, I can’t immediately identify it as a BTS song. That’s partly because they keep experimenting with different styles but largely because I can’t even identify the members’voices! Except for Jungkook maybe, the blender makes them sound – not like themselves? It was great listening to them in English I guess, but I sincerely hope they return to their root language after this.

    It’s a solid 8.25 from me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Out of all of their releases this year, I definitely like this song the most. It’s a nice, easy groove. Bright and funky, which I almost always love. Feels a little too straightforward, but certainly not a deal breaker for me.

    I definitely wish they’d eased up on the vocal processing, but I’ve come to accept that this is a stylistic choice that won’t be going anytime soon, alas. To be honest, if the vocal production was a bit more minimalist I would’ve loved this song way more. To BH’s credit, I find the vocals much more tolerable because the production is balanced by a less busy instrumentation (compared to, say, ON). Also props for having the instrumental version on Spotify! I really do enjoy the overall song/instrumental, but the vocals drag it down for me…sorry BH. ^^;;

    Anyways, I’d give it something between 8.25 and 8.5.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh yes, this definitely has that typical mainstream pop summer song vibe. Very reminiscent of Can’ t Stop The Feeling with the rap invoking some Bruno Mars (Uptown Funk/ 24 Carat) at times. It’ s not groundbreaking, but it is super fun. I like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • also: I haven’ t really ‘stanned’ BTS in a while, but this MV just makes me fall back in love with them a little bit. Just wish their voices were also given more of a chance to shine (without the processing).

      Liked by 4 people

    • It is funny how we agree that Can’t Stop The Feeling was garbage and we see the resemblance but we love Dynamite all the same? Maybe I need to articulate what exactly sucked about CSTF…. something about that chorus, I think. And just that the world at that point had pretty much decided we did not need to see any more of Justin Timberlake… it was no longer his moment.

      You make a great point about the rap (if we’re calling it that…) giving us Uptown Funk. Uptown Funk was a great song though, in my opinion, so I wouldn’t mind hearing more sounds like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I was just thinking about that, actually- and I too thought of the chorus first as the thing that annoyed me! But what exactly about the chorus.. Maybe it’s the combination of that chorus and the insane amount of repetition (the song was inescapable for a while). Agreed about Uptown Funk- still one of my favourite pop songs, and I’m always happy to hear songs that remind me of it (like this rap flow, or Seventeen’s Very Nice instrumental).

        Liked by 1 person

        • For me, a lot of it has to do with how a song permeates pop culture, and day-to-day life in general. Can’t Stop The Feeling became the kind of song that was used in tv commercials, movie trailers, interstitials for morning talk shows, “up with people” style montages, school talent shows, etc.

          After a while, it becomes less a song and more a jingle, and that really affects my desire to hear it — even if I had initially liked it. Dynamite has yet to invade pop culture the way Timberlake did (and I’m not sure it will), but its similarity in sound and style is a bit of a stumbling block for me.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh, this is an interesting take! I don’t think Dynamite will but that level, either, and I think the whole world will be better ofd because of it. Even those of us who like the song could easily learn to hate it given a few months of excessive media usage.

            Like

  7. This is the summer song we’ve been waiting for since June 21st. To me everything works in the fight way and direction: pure, simple pop to dance and enjoy.
    Just one question: yesterday you asked for more melody and less rap in KPop… Today you got a song that’s 100% melody and 0% rap but you don’t seem to appreciate that much anyway (8.25 vs 9 given Super M’s 100): what is exactly missing this time?

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s not about rap or no rap (although I think I actually would have preferred more rap in this one).

      I think the melodies here are just too generic to hit me super hard. Fun and polished, but generic. I feel like I’ve heard this song a million times already in American pop over the past decades, so it’s missing that spark of excitement for me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah, it sounds a bit… sanitized. It really undersells what they (and k-pop groups in general) are capable of. And it feels even more disappointing after Boy with Luv showed they can make American-friendly songs without giving up their personal touch.
        ON was certainly a bit messy, but sounded ambitious in a way Dynamite doesn’t.

        Now I’m curious about BLACKPINK (and Selena Gomez) next single. It seems Ariana Grande & her songwriting team composed it, and while I’ll certainly be glad to see them sing something that’s not a DDU-DU copy, I really hope they do manage to retain their personality in the process.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Absolutely love this song! It’s been a tough year for everyone and I’ve honestly been feeling really down about everything but this song brings a much needed injection of happiness into my life. It makes me want to smile, groove and get up and dance. I feel like it’s just what was needed. It may not be groundbreaking, but imo, music doesn’t always need to do that. Sometimes a fun song is all that is needed.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I’m glad everyone’s liking this. I admit it’s fun but for me it was a bit meh. It’s a nice song but I don’t think I’d turn it on to listen on my own. I kinda hated the voice altering during that last part of the chorus and it might’ve irked me more than I thought it would lol. I’d give it a 7 but the mv was so cute and bright, I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “It sounds like a mainstream pop song” Im going to be honest with you, imo that’s always been bts.

    They are by no means innovators or risk takers. Was around when they debut and they were just doing what everyone else was doing.

    For all the talk about them writing deep music, their most popular work and best work are all generic love songs.

    Nothing wrong with this. One direction took over the world the same way as did nsync, after the backsteet boys and it all began with the Beatles.

    I don’t have high expectations for this guys. No matter how popular they get,because at the end of the day, BTS are just another boy band phenomenon who just happen to be Asian this time.

    Song is nice

    Liked by 4 people

    • I mean, I disagree strongly that their “best work” is all generic love songs (most popular, maybe— although Spring Day, one of their greatest hits, is definitely not a love song… and neither were ON/Black Swan, IDOL, no more dream, etc… so maybe I don’t agree with that either). And I could easily expound on that and make a big long list of songs that I consider to be some of their “best work” that aren’t love songs at all, but whose benefit would that be for? You’ve already wholly dismissed them as “just another boy band who happens to be Asian this time.” You are not willing to give them the time of day, you don’t care for them. And that’s fine. Whether I think your comparison is fair doesn’t really matter because it is your opinion. I just think you could stand to be a little more, I dunno, even-handed with this critique? They are not your cup of tea, and you did say “IMO” but the rest of your comment is weirdly authoritative: BTS are nothing new, nothing special, they’re doing nothing unique. Can’t you see how they are special to other people? I understand the frustration at not being included in a cultural phenomenon (case in point: I hate superhero movies and will never voluntarily see one) but can’t you just say “it’s not for me” without dismissing their achievements, which are really huge?

      (I mean— being the first Asian act to have achieved all of these things, it really is a big deal! In the world we live in today? In Trump’s America? I have heard a lot of Asian people talk about how meaningful it is for them to see faces like theirs on billboards all over the world. I’m not saying BTS singlehandedly changed the world, but what they’ve achieved is not nothing!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • On a recent post a few days ago, I commented that nothing gets the Army knickers in a twist like being compared to other boy bands that have come before.

        Here, Look
        QED

        But among the general US population believe me the sentiment that BTS is this season’s IT boy band is not uncommon. My sisters, for example. My sisters’ friends (“Who is this BTS, aren’t they just like ___”). And the Army is just going to have to, someday, somehow, get used to it and get over it, because it isn’t good for their own health to freak out every time.

        This isn’t really the style of forum to discuss argue debate post lengthy missives on this topic, please god no. There are plenty of other kpop forums for that. Allkpop probably has 12 threads just this morning on this topic (though I haven’t bothered looking at AKP forums in a long while.) SO if you want to discuss this, go over there. NOT HERE.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I would know better than anyone how common this opinion is, don’t you think? I think the standard ARMY response to these comments on AKP/twitter/what have you is “get well soon” “you have bad taste” “anyway stream Dynamite” etc. Which is just pointless. I put some effort into writing a more diplomatic response than that while identifying what bothered me about their comment. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough about this but it actually wasn’t the comparison to past acts in itself that bothered me; I think that comparison is only natural. What bothered me was more the out of hand dismissal of them as a group: they’ll come and go like anyone else, they’re nothing new, they’re nothing special. Especially in America, it feels like this is the overwhelming opinion, and the press are very hostile and chomping at the bit for BTS to be over already. Of course for a fan, it’s tiresome.

          I thought my response was pretty reasonable, considering all that…. and I’m not going to get into a nasty back-and-forth with anyone on here. But I find your last paragraph a little… um, mean, I guess? I’m discussing BTS on a blog post about BTS… I’m not being rude, I’m not trolling, I’m just talking, passionately, about a group I love… Is that not on topic?

          Liked by 3 people

          • I really like your point about BTS being an Asian boy band to break out. There is genuine value to that. Boybands will always be somewhat dismissed in the public consciousness, but that won’t invalidate BTS’ work.

            Liked by 2 people

          • (Full disclosure: not an ARMY, not really into any release post-2017, don’t think it really matters what they release at this point because anything will be streamed to oblivion.)

            I think your reply was solid and well-thought-out! While I don’t totally agree with everything you’ve said, nor do I fully agree with Berry, your reasoning is clear and you were respectful about it to the point that I was honestly kind of surprised, haha. It’s refreshing to hear a take on BTS that’s a nice mix of civil and opinionated (obviously I never thought every ARMY was incapable of this or something, it’s just like you said: the standard response has become a non-answer). I think BTS has had some great achievements and I also think that while dismissing those achievements isn’t really anything noteworthy, it can sometimes come across as ignorant to act as if they do not exist or matter — they had some much larger hurdles to jump in the Western market than most others! Sure, they’re just another phenomenon, but they’re a PHENOMENON, and their unique set of accomplishments is worth a bit more than outright dismissal — regardless of whether or not you personally care. I don’t see a huge problem with the intention of the original comment but I don’t see one with yours, either. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! 🙂

            Liked by 3 people

        • Mymagoogle I really disagree with your comment this time and do agree that it was a bit mean and uncalled for.
          This person was being respectful in replying to the comment. How do you know that he is freaking out, when he is simply disagreeing… which you also do many times. You’re also passionate about some topics.

          Its not like the comment is okay if a person does not like BTS or share how they are not unique but the moment someone disagrees ,they need to get over it, not have their knickers in twist.

          Everyone is free to express their opinion as long as they remain respectful.

          If a person can express why BTS is another boy band , another person can reply that why they disagree with the sentiment.
          If the latter belongs to a allkpop thread then the former does too.

          Thank you and I do respect the former as well as your opinion.

          Liked by 2 people

          • And despite me pitching a fit, there still are a couple dozen paragraphs that can be summarized as “Is not!” Is too!” “Is not!” “Is too!” “is not!” “is too!”

            “Mom she pinched me” “He pinched me first” “No, I didn’t, she pinched ME first” “Mom, now he’s kicking me!”
            Each taking each others bait and feeding it back.

            This blog, the style of this blog, and the format of the comment structure in wordpress really aren’t made for teleological discussions. There are other places for it.

            Like

            • The original comment was, if anything, the one that brought up the “teleological discussion.” But you hit “like” on that one, and my response was the one that you told to GTFO…

              I don’t mean to pick a bone with you days later, but you really came at me unnecessarily hard up there and I still don’t know why.

              Let’s leave it to Nick to moderate his own comments section as he wishes…?

              Like

      • Oh my gosh.

        Best work is of course an opinion but its a fact that bts most successful work are love songs.

        I need u is what blew them up. DNA is their most viewed song. Boy with luv is their most awarded song and fake luv is their most covered song after I need u!!

        Dismissing them as another boy band phenomenon? My friend why take that as an insult? Very few boy bands can claim to be in that realm of success let alone from Asia.

        And as for unique what do you think the word pop means? Please view music charts before 2010.

        Look just enjoy your boys while they are still here. Jin is going to the army next year and if doing that killed Elvis’ career in the west

        Like

        • Well hey, I really don’t need feel the need to respond to this point by point, because by being condescending you’ve effectively made me stop caring. From this end, though, it sure looks like I put a lot of effort into being diplomatic and reasonably expressing my disagreement with you, but you are not willing to do the same for me. Similar to how you’d already decided how you felt about BTS before you ever hit play on this track, you had already decided how you felt about me before you ever read my comment, because I’m a fan. No point in asking you to be nice, I guess.

          It looks like you forgot to finish your sentence up there, maybe because you got too excited about the sick burn you were about to lay down, but I would dare to suggest that the music industry has changed since Elvis, of all people, was drafted into military service 62 entire years ago. Meanwhile BTS literally just renewed their contracts for another 7 years… Why do you suppose they did that if you’re so sure they’re on the brink of disappearing…?

          But hey, don’t answer that, because I won’t read it. Anyway, aren’t we here to talk about the music? I’d like to talk about the music. A word of advice: You can avoid these discussions in the future by simply critiquing the song itself in these comments, rather than taking the opportunity to gleefully announce the upcoming disbandment of BTS. I sincerely think this would be a better look for you. Kiss kiss!

          Like

    • I don ‘t know, I think this one sounds distinctly more generic than a song like, say, Fire. Even Boy With Luv was more distinguishable from your average pop song than Dynamite is, in my opinion. Of course, boybands making pop music are probably not going for utterly groundbreaking and deep- but I do think they’ve sounded more interesting than this. I imagine that if you listen to a lot more genres all pop boybands might sound similar- I wouldn’t know for sure because I just do love my boyband music haha.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. My overall: 10/10

    What another big year for BTS. It was already one of the best non-K-Pop songs sung by Korean act of 2020.

    Iconic nu-disco/disco and greatest arrangement so much.

    PS: I knew it will be chart on Billboard Hot 100 by September 2000.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a genre I have always been into as well as one that I’ve been missing as Western pop music continues to shift, but as much as I’m loving the bass line and general vibe, I wish BTS would stop with the autotune. They don’t need it, and while I know it’s more a stylistic choice than anything else, it’s always a huge negative for me to hear it in a song (with very rare exception). Thankfully they don’t go too too crazy with it and it doesn’t detract from the song so much that it would make me dislike it. I might actually put this BTS release into my rotation for the first time in ages wouldn’t mind it showing up on the radio for the next couple of summers!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yeah… as someone who really liked BTS in 2015, this was kind of the opposite of where I wanted the group to end up in 5 years? I don’t know if fandom consensus has moved on from the whole “deep artist” thing, but the other day I was listening through the latest August D mixtape, and I saw a YouTube comment under “Strange” praising Suga for bringing up capitalism, and it was like: “I’m just awe struck about how [BTS]’s mind works. In today’s world where where most artists want to make money, BTS choose to change the system…” and then someone else replied with something like “yeah BTS are never worried about having popular music or making hits, they choose to instead show a message and I adore how their minds work.” And to me, it’s like, how did they hoodwink their fans this effectively?
    I don’t think the BTS members can be anticapitalist and release this sort of music simultaneously! If, say, a very rich idol like IU stepped out and started saying things like “the capital is crushing the youth just like this giant gold bar I’m cradling like a newborn is crushing my bladder :(“ – I just don’t think that would be very credible! Idk, maybe I would not take the time to think about it if either of these sides of present day BTS were musically outstanding, but they’re kind of… both boring? Bang Si Hyuk wrote “Like the First Time” by T-ara, BTS releases HYYH 2; the team is fully capable. I’m kinda sad about it ngl

    Liked by 1 person

    • The fandom still believes they are deep artists on one hand, and then from the other hand shells out $250 for a merchandise bundle that includes a custom logo fleecy blanket.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah it just feels like a very cynical exploitation of young people’s general feelings of malcontent in order to sell the same inane kpop stuff. Sorta sours previous releases that I think are musically better but felt less dissonant at the time. Like, I’ll buy a big glossy Twice photo book for way too much money and be totally pleased with it, but JYP also never got twice together to do a show of criticizing Capital(TM)

        Liked by 2 people

    • The same way they’ve hoodwinked the fandom into thinking they are the only “authentic” K-Pop group, which is an aspect BH leaned very hard into particularly during HYYH. It’s sort of the same way the seemingly introspective songs about fame and identity seem like they come from entirely different people that something produced for mass consumption like this. It’s still smile on command, angst on command, pretty much like every other group out there.

      Like

    • To be honest I don’t think it’s a matter of BTS having hoodwinked their fans intentionally as much as ARMY itself having manifested in a terrifying cult-like manner over the past few years lol. They have a tendency to wax poetic about BTS whenever they do… literally anything. You kind of have to take them with a grain of salt after a while. (I also have to assume that anyone acting like Yoongi is literally Marx is like… a very young person lol)

      That said, I don’t necessarily agree that it’s impossible to genuinely have anticapitalist sentiments while also producing mainstream pop music. I mean, they are “very rich idols” now, but— well, I won’t bore you with the BTS underdog story that you’ve probably heard a million times, other than to say we know for a fact that Yoongi in particular grew up poor. That underdog story makes their voices more credible than your IU with a gold bar example in my opinion lol. I think this contradiction is probably a big source of internal conflict for Yoongi at least; he speaks to this directly in “Interlude: Shadow,” if we see it as genuine (which I do, at least). “I wanna be the king, I want it all mine.” He is already at the top, sure, but there is more to achieve through releases like this. Do we begrudge him and the rest of the group for wanting those achievements, wanting the Grammy and the US radio play? I don’t.

      As for being disappointed in the trajectory of their music, I can understand that and I know a lot of people agree with you in terms of preferring their old stuff. Personally, I like them so much as a group that whatever they put out, I’ll be along for the ride, and I think a lot of fans are in the same boat as me. But it helps that I love this song!

      Like

      • Well now this is a discussion about the late capitalism of Kpop, and how BigHit has capitalized (pun not intended) upon breaking the mold of “idols as products” with BTS while simultaneously making them into products galore.

        Rags to riches and underdog stories are not new to capitalism. They’re staples. I’m gonna assume that BigHit did not intentionally sell BTS as an underdog group with the intention of capturing the fancy of their audience, but that story still exists, and it is still appealing.

        All I’m saying is—yes, BTS fits into the capitalist mold like the rest of kpop does, with just a few twists from BigHit (authenticity, etc.) that even other kpop groups are starting to use (my beloved Stray kids, for example). That doesn’t make them bad people. They’ve worked for good causes and they make music that connects with many. But that plus a few lines in an Agust D song cannot make them anticapitalist. They’ve ridden that machine to the top, and while I can’t begrudge them for continuing to ride it, I can begrudge the machine itself. (oops, is that too controversial?)

        Liked by 1 person

        • I hope it’s not! Too controversial, I mean. It’s a really good point and in general I find all of this very interesting, and I wish this was the kind of conversation I could have elsewhere on the internet without being drowned out by calls to stream a video and #LoonaIsOverParty or whatever lol

          I do feel that BTS have made a career out of marketing their own authenticity which is, honestly, such an incredible contradiction in and of itself… there’s a lot to unpack there.

          Like

      • I should say, I don’t really think BTS themselves are out to trick fans or whatever; it’s BigHit’s marketing that feels heavily ironic and sorta rubs me the wrong way. Maybe they didn’t intentionally get the fandom to be at this point, but they very heavily leaned into this “BTS are actual Gods not Idols their MINDS are so huge” thing with the marketing at the same time they where getting really big, I dunno. I’m aware of BTS’s situation before they were BTS, and think a few of their songs where they speak to their own experiences are really great (“Move”, for example!), but it still strikes me as strange to have “generalized protest” as any part of their image right now. There’s nothing wrong with being personally conflicted, or inconsistent, but that’s not how some of it reads, at least to me

        Liked by 2 people

        • “Generalized protest” (what a good phrase!) is a weird thing to incorporate into any sort of pop act’s image, certainly we can agree on that. But it’s been a thing in kpop for ages (see also Stray Kids, recent Pentagon stuff, and many more) and I don’t see it going away. Honestly what kills me as an Army is seeing other fans act like BTS = Rage Against The Machine lol. Maybe in an alternate timeline….

          Like

    • My thoughts exactly!! BTS being ancap is the worst narrative to come out of kpop in the last 5 years… armys cannot be serious with continued cult-like belief that BTS is somehow “more woke” than other kpop groups… like… the industry itself is so capitalist it’s disgusting

      Maybe it’s because the fans are so young and haven’t read any Marx or Gramsci or Zizek or whatever but this shallow, pandering, and frankly regressive idea of “progressivism” that BTS and their fans are leaning into hard is really stupid

      Like

  14. My mind also went to Target first, and then Pharrell “Happy” but yes ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling” is closer to this particular vibe. Or perhaps Maroon5.

    This is the kind of song that exists in the aether at every supermarket. I believe this is exactly what they were aiming for, and congratulations they got it. As such, for me its not whether I like it or don’t, it will just be out there playing.

    To nitpick a bit: the verses have such a simple repetitious melody that it reduces that part of the song to almost a list song but not quite. The first verse, for example, they tried very hard to find things that rhyme with on or ong. It’s was passes for “works for me!” in pop, but it isn’t exactly Sondheim list song. It makes the lyrics overall a grab bag of the typical English song rhymes. Heavy, ready. Oooh, honey with money, that’s clever. Basically, there is very little song craft in these lyrics.

    That is if I could hear the lyrics. Its not the accent – it’s the BigHit processing blender. I have the lyric video in front of me, so I can read the lyrics. Without it. Light light light…. (… there must be a night in here they way the rhyme) … light light light night dynamite eh oh. There, that is how the chorus sounds. The second verse is a blur. Something about medicine and a ball.

    The choral build break is interesting for as long as it lasts. And then at 2:40 they run out of ideas, so hey key change! One more time, with feeling!

    Its alright. It exists.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I could tell this wasn’t going to be a release I would jive with from the teasers. It’s just so… faceless and completely lacks any personality. After criticizing so many groups domestically in Korea for following the popular, trendsetting sounds and coming off as lesser clones of one another, I feel the same way about this just with a geographic and slight demographic change. It’s yet another upbeat pop song pulling on retro sounds that many artists have done better with and for years now to the extent that it just sounded dated to me the instant it was released.

    Like

  16. A lot of BTS’s major releases in the last few years -including Boy With Love- haven’t clicked with me at all, but this was enjoyable! The fun they were having is infectious.

    I wish they would’ve made space for Suga, RM, or Hobi go off with a rapid fire Korean rap (like Soyeon in the primarily english K/DA Pop/Stars). That would feel more distinct to BTS and make the song less generic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that would have been cool (and maybe make for more variety in the verses + potentially an actually better song) but I think they wanted the novelty of having an all-English release, which does have its value. I do wonder if they’re going to release another version with more Korean lyrics, though. It wouldn’t be too unusual; they did a similar thing with “Mic Drop” and “Make It Right,” although those were collabs with English-speaking artists.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Is that key change “earned”? Who can say? Is it FANTASTIC? YEAH BABY!!! WHOOOOOO!! This song makes me feel like I am on so many different drugs. As perhaps this comment section’s representative ARMY, maybe you could guess how I would feel about this one, but then again no you couldn’t because even I, despite loving every release from BTS regardless of quality or even my own tastes in music due to my obsession with them that has permanently clawed its way into my psyche, STILL COULD NOT HAVE PREDICTED THE LEVEL OF ENTHUSIASM I HAVE FOR THIS SONG. WOW! I FEEL AMAZING AND IT DEFINITELY DOESN’T HAVE TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT I DRANK A HUGE THING OF COFFEE BECAUSE I HAD TO WORK AT 8 AM TODAY WITH VERY LITTLE SLEEP THE NIGHT BEFORE. CUP OF MILK LET’S ROCK AND ROLL!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I may not be as enthusiastic about the song as you are, I’ve gotta say I love how your comment had a “key change” of its own… into all caps. Haha I’m kinda jealous of your excitement!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. Well… I’m glad the ARMY likes this. I can see why they do.

    I know you weren’t a big fan of ON, but once that song grew on me, it grew on me hard. There was something so recognizably BTS about it. I’m gonna pin it on their voices. Yup, that’s a Jungkook-esque high note; those are some Jimin vocal runs. Those are some very BTS-ish background vocals. It was a song that, for me, elevated BTS’ individuality.

    This? t’s fun in the 2020 let’s-disco-in-the-supermarket-aisle way. It’s completely serviceable. I’ll probably forget it exists, soon enough.

    Miscellaneous notes:

    1. Jungkook sounds about two vocal shades away from being Adam Levine.

    2. I never thought I would have trouble distinguishing who was singing between Jungkook, Taehyung, and Jimin (without watching the mv, obviously), but the autotune decided I needed a small personal challenge today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poor Taehyung… if I have one serious criticism of this song it’s what they did to his voice. He’s my favorite vocalist in the group aside from Jungkook. He has this lovely deep timbre that is really unique and makes him stand out. And the way that they processed his vocals… not only does it make him sound generic, but as someone else pointed out up-thread, it’s hard to make out the words. It sounds like he’s singing his verse into a public bathroom sink 😭😭😭

      Liked by 2 people

      • Agreed! Not an ARMY anymore, but (hot take?) Tae has probably the best vocal potential out of all of them (maybe Jungkook surpassed him in training but idk). Unfortunately kpop songs tend to favor the higher voices, falsetto and belts and his voice is more comfortable in the lower registers. Such a shame!

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s tough to choose between JK and Tae for me because they both have their strengths. JK is an amazing performer and his vocals are incredible, particularly his vocal control when he’s also dancing, and he’s also such a charismatic dancer that he tends to outshine Tae in terms of live stages. But based solely on vocals… I mean, Jungkook’s voice is beautiful, but it’s beautiful in the way of a lot of well-trained male pop singers. It’s well-polished. Meanwhile, I’m hard pressed to think of somebody who has a voice quite like Taehyung’s.

          (Jimin’s voice is very unique and lovely too imo, but there is something about Taehyung’s that’s more to my personal taste, is all. A lovely baritone that, like you said, we don’t hear enough of in kpop.)

          Liked by 1 person

  19. Minus the key change, this song is way to generic for me, still, it is better than black swan;s studio version (I listen to black swan and on live versions due to the autotune)

    Like

  20. I WANT to like this song so bad! I like the instrumentation, the vibe, the fact that it’s just a generic, fun lil Summer song… but the vocals! Oh, lord the vocals. I know Bang PD said “vocals sound best when they’re strained”, but they are straight up squealing!

    The combination of high pitched, nasal vocals and EXTREMELY aggressive autotune pretty much ruins this song for me, which is such a shame, because I could see myself liking it otherwise. But that vocal mix is just… PAINFULLY grating. Please, dear god, let these dudes start singing in their range and stop cranking the pitch correction up to 50!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Vocals sound best when they’re strained?” I don’t think I could disagree more with a statement.. Apparently BigHit also thinks that vocals sound best when theyre processed hardcore.

      Like

      • I’m now imagining a future I-LAND mission that requires the boys to sing while being attacked or tortured or twisted or something…

        (probably not what they mean by ‘strained,’ but it wouldn’t shock me!)

        Liked by 3 people

    • The BigHit blender is real and it’s a shame. It’s pretty subjective, I suppose — as I mentioned way up above, I find it to be palatable enough in this song, though of course it’d be leagues better without. That said, it definitely doesn’t always work, so I totally get why it kills it for you. Hope for a solid live version?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Well, this is gonna be a bit long. I dont have much to say about the song however I do have alot to say about this comment section. Honestly I feel like a good number of ppl have turned this place to an avenue of expressing their dislike for all things BTS while hiding under the cover of “bluntness” “unbiased opinion” or being more intelligent or woke or mature or some shit like that and that’s messed up because this was my number one place for getting UNBIASED opinions on BTS’ music, away from the usual fawning of the more socially present ARMYs. Before you start with the condescension/ mockery and calling me one of their fanatical fans, I can assure u that though I love them very much am very clearheaded. In fact MOS 7 was not my cup of tea, there were individually good songs but as a whole I didnt like it and i didnt like ON either and yes I hate the autotune. I agree with alot of opinions here, some in part and I can also recognize the ones who though not fans still leave a critique of the song rather than a blatant degrading of it and consequent degradement of those who disagree with them. I’m so sorry Nick but in a way I feel like you encourage it, sometimes in the way you respond to certain comments and also because it seems like ur been especially careful, its like you dont hate the song but at the same time too scared to outrightly like it because liking it would make you seem less of an intelligent person( which you are by the way) to some readers of this blog. (This is the one place I admit that I could be wrong because it could really just be my fault in misinterpreting you). For alot of ppl on here, it’s more about an issue with the group themselves and their company than the music and it shows because quite a few of them cant give their opinions without involving their fans “army”. I ve seen someone here disparage every single thing bighit and approve and make allowances for everything from another company that I wont mention its name. As much as yall would like to think you are above the fans who make insensitive and immature comments on twitter, you are not, the only difference is you happen to have a more sophisticated grammar. My pain is that ppl come here to get facts but some of the facts presented are already biased with hate soo….That been said, in my opinion, with the exception of the voice processing that everyone has pointed out, and one specific part where I didnt like the visual, Dynamite is actually exactly what i was expecting it to be, it’s not deep, it’s not bursting with personality and it’s not differentiating them from other artists. But to me that was exactly how it was supposed to be, just a catchy, sunny, nice sounding song that does not represent anything apart from making you feel good and want to move your body. It’s just another feel good song that they made on a whim. I doubt it’s something that has been in the works for long, the lyrics were randomly picked and matched to fit the vibe without much thought in fact, ur not supposed to overthink this song in anyway.That’s what I think. In conclusion, regardless of who you “stan” let’s develop a culture of saying something isn’t nice when it’s not and saying it’s nice when it is, let’s accept that someone hasnt done well when they dont and acknowledge they have done well when they do.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s a given that, the bigger a release is, the more thorny a comments section is likely to become.

        This has been quite a week in the ol’ Bias List comments section for a variety of reasons… some good, some bad. To be honest, it’s sent me on a whirlwind of different emotions.

        For my part, you can rest assured that I am always as honest as I can be when writing my reviews. This blog is simply me giving my opinion. I don’t claim to be an expert on anything, or to be the “right” opinion. I know I post features called “the top ten best” of this and “the all-time best” of that, but it’s all just subjective opinion.

        In some ways, I believe that’s what makes this site different. In the end, I’m the sole contributor, offering my thoughts day after day. Like them or not, they’re mine. My hope is that, if you disagree, you can at least enjoy reading a different opinion and then respectfully responding with why you disagree. Please, challenge me. I find those kind of conversations vital. It would be awfully boring if everyone agreed all the time.

        In this case, I stand by Dynamite’s 8.25 rating (maybe it’ll eventually grow into the upper-8’s) for the exact reason you described:

        “it’s not deep, it’s not bursting with personality and it’s not differentiating them from other artists. But to me that was exactly how it was supposed to be, just a catchy, sunny, nice sounding song that does not represent anything apart from making you feel good and want to move your body.”

        To me, that description is totally emblematic of a rating in the 8’s. It’s fun and enjoyable and super-solid, and I’ll probably play it often. But, it’s missing that certain something that would bump it into the 9’s – at least for me. But, many people scoffed at my high rating of SuperM’s 100 last week, so obviously my voice is not the only meaningful one. It’s certainly not the definitive one!

        You are definitely right that BTS and Big Hit bear a greater burden of criticism than most artists and agencies. With BTS, unfortunately it comes with the territory of being the biggest K-pop group on the planet. More popularity equals more opinions, and (predictably) more backlash.

        When it comes down to it, here’s what I would wish – not only for my comments section, but for every interaction we have online or offline:

        1. EMPATHY
        2. Acknowledgement of our own bias
        3. Resisting the urge to rush to dramatic conclusions about someone or something that you don’t fully know

        Part of the reason I’m occasionally dismissive or snarky with certain comments is that it honestly feels like shit to have someone accuse you of something really horrible when they know nothing about you beyond some words you write about music. And when you write about music as much as I do, there are a LOT of words to pick from. Not all are equally polished.

        Unfortunately, our current social media/online culture is not conducive to empathy. It rewards cheap shots and one-liners and rushes to judgement.

        We can all work on bettering this discourse, myself included.

        Liked by 4 people

        • Firstly Nick, I’d like you to know that with the exception of the place where i mentioned your name, this post wasnt directed to you at all, It was directed to a certain number of commenters on here. I dont have a single problem with your 8.25, the numbers usually dont make much difference to me compared to what you have to say rather what I said was brought about by a sort of pattern I noticed across several comment sections. Rest assured it’s not everyone here and some ppl leave the harshest criticism but at the end of the day its their true opinion free from hate or bias but with the comments am referring to, you can always just telI that it’s not. I acknowledge my bias for Bts because I wouldn’t be driven to make such a lengthy post about a different group but this bias for me hasnt stopped me from enjoying music by a different artist or group. I agree we need ALOT of empathy and just downright humaneness when it comes to kpop. The anonymity of social media seem to have suppressed or blinded that aspect.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks, and don’t think my long response was all directed at you, either. It was kind of summary of a lot of things, and you brought up some good points so I decided that this was a good place to post it 🙂

            Like

        • You may have noticed that I had just started to comment here non-anonymously, so to get the kind of response I got upthread was…. discouraging to say that least. You were very sweet to me initially, and it is nice to see this comment from you so I’m glad I checked the thread again!

          I try to approach everything with empathy and I think that it’s something that often gets lost between ARMY and non-fans at this point… I think people feel like they are railing against Capitalist Bighit when in fact they’re just being rude to a stranger online who they know is a fan.

          Maybe the bigger issue is that there seems to be a disconnect between you and some of your readers re: what this site / its comments section is “for.” If I may co-opt some common k-pop survival show language, I’m feeling somewhat “sorry” / “burdensome” to you. I feel bad thinking you might feel like you need to introduce some sort of code of conduct just because little old me was causing a ruckus, haha. But hopefully none of that is necessary and we can just be excellent to each other.

          Like

          • No problem. I don’t intend on moderating comments, other than those that are clearly threatening or offensive in nature (which… lucky me… are usually directed my way rather than towards other comments).

            Back-and-forth arguments/discussions can occasionally get heated and it’s very easy to inject subtext between the lines that may or may not have been there to begin with. It’s funny… teaching digital citizenship is actually a portion of my day job, and I’ve had this exact conversation with students many times.

            I certainly don’t want anyone to feel attacked, but I also think it’s important for everyone’s sanity to take a step back and realize that we may not fully understand the context, bias or intent behind a comment or message left online. Sometimes it’s as simple as a commenter or reviewer just having a bad day. We’re all human. I’m guilty of it myself, and the fact that I choose to share my thoughts publicly every day means that sometimes you all have to suffer through a cranky or not-in-the-mood Nick. That’s just life.

            Anyway, thanks for starting to comment regularly. I enjoy hearing everyone’s thoughts, whether they agree with mine or not!

            Liked by 1 person

  21. The first BTS song I have enjoyed in a while. It’s nothing new and doesn’t sound like them at all (specially with all the vocal effects, at some point Jimin sounds like Fukase from Sekai no Owari), but is FUNK!! That’s my musical kryptonite, can’t help it.
    Not related to the music at all but I really enjoyed reading the thoughtful ans civilized discussions about the BTS phenomenon in the comments, we don’t get to see those very often.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. First of all, I can’t dislike this on principle. Retro funk is one of my favorite genres, so if BTS, one of K-Pop’s trendsetters, chooses to tackle it, it can only be a good thing, because other groups will probably follow suit. K-Pop is trend driven, but this is a trend I’d be down with. Plus after how dour their Korean singles have been (honestly can’t get into Black Swan, and I really want to, because everyone’s treating it like SOTY material and I feel I’m missing out) this is a breath of fresh air.

    That said, I’ll add to the chorus of voices complaining about the excessive vocal processing. Like what did they do to my boys J-Hope and V. Sapped all the character from their voices. Doesn’t help when the song is entirely in English and the vocal melodies are, honestly, not particularly exciting. Whole thing sounds rather sterile as a result. Still, the last key change helps it (though I will forever be reminded of a certain group of K-Pop reactors complaining about unearned key changes while reviewing an Infinite song), and when things suck as much as they do now sometimes you just want a fun, undemanding pop song. This isn’t perfect, but it suffices. Rating is about right, imho.

    Liked by 2 people

        • Be Mine is iconic and no one can tell me anything different, I respect their ‘technical opinion’ but, at the end of the day its still an opinion (they even disagree on the musical aspects sometimes), and music is not always about technical stuff. The reactors have raved about songs that I strongly dislike and vice versa, but I always find their perpective very educational and fun. Am going to miss a lot of the graduates.

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.