British reality star Oli London’s latest single ‘Butterfly’ is a clear nod to the BTS song of the same name. The artist has definitely spent time away in order to develop his skills. Upon release, the track reached #8 on the UK iTunes chart, indicating that people are very much interested in his music.
The track starts off with his now trademark “Oli 예요” (yeh-yoh) and a whispered introduction. The whispering is clunky doesn’t match the volume of the rest of the track. It indicates a lack of attention put on creating high standard, Kpop rivalling content from the get-go. Considering that it’s not created by people who previously generally worked in music as a hobby, it is a commendable and brave attempt.
The input of the rapper Sten seems to be an attempt to justify his entry into the Korean music scene, and upon first inspection, it’s a reasonable effort. He seems talented despite the quality of this performance being restricted by the underwhelming beat. But, during his two verses, he offers a delivery that really brings up the quality of the entire track.
It must be noted that Sten has featured on other songs by Caucasians trying to create music for a Korean and Western audience. He worked with the former Celebrity Big Brother contestant Angelique ‘Frenchy’ Morgan on her debut single ‘Korealand’. Morgan is also close friends with Oli, with the pair appearing on her new reality TV show in 2020. Sten’s lack of English sets him apart from other Korean rappers. It would be interesting if it didn’t make it feel like his collaborative effort is simply a way to balance out the English that Oli sings. In this respect, it would have also been a nice touch to feature both Oli and Sten in a part of the music video together, to further emphasise the joining of the two cultures. While Oli’s Korean is limited, it is clear that he is making the effort to make himself understood to his target audience in a language that is considered incredibly challenging to learn.
The song itself indicates progress from “Perfection”, with the vocals appearing less metallic. However, the song-writing still leaves somewhat to be desired. The confusing depiction of the nocturnal butterfly, the description of the singer “shining like the sun” and the failure to maintain either means that the imagery is lost and muddled. Despite this, we appreciate that the innate meaning behind the track is a positive one, with good intentions. It is an interesting turn of events; “Perfection” felt like a dominant delivery, aiming to establish Oli’s position in the entertainment industry; he is “perfect” and therefore not to be touched. This song offers a more vulnerable angle; one which suggests that he underwent a period of innate dissatisfaction and a struggle for self-acceptance. It’s something not frequently discussed in Kpop, and something we would like him to elaborate on further in the future.
It’s not riveting content from the soloist, but it’s an interesting performance. The transition from reality star to musician isn’t one that has generally gone down successfully, but Oli seems to be taking some of his earlier criticism on board and growing as an artist. While the production of the song doesn’t compete with what is being offered by the giants in the Kpop scene, it’s clear that he wants to give it his best shot.
The song is avliable on Spotify and iTunes