BTS “DYNAMITE” Review is part of my neverending love letter to K-pop boyband BTS. You can catch my ongoing series about BTS here or just sign up for my newsletter. This post also uses affiliate links.
BTS’s “Dynamite” is the earworm of the summer. Is it their best song? Not remotely. Will it sweep America and hook legions of new fans? Absolutely. Did I love it or hate it? It’s complicated. Read on for my full review.
Watch the BTS (방탄소년단) ‘Dynamite’ MV below.
About ‘Dynamite’ by BTS
According to Big Hit Entertainment, “‘Dynamite‘ is a Disco Pop single that sings of joy and confidence, bringing a new surge of much-needed ‘energy’ to reinvigorate the global community.” The first BTS song to be released completely in English, the stated purpose of the single is to encourage the world to break out of the dispiritedness settling globally due to the pandemic.
“Dynamite” has already broken several of BTS’s previous records in record time (pardon the pun). The YouTube premiere figures are between 3 to 4 million – and smashes the previous record holder of K-pop group Blackpink of 1.65 million concurrent viewers. The video is also on track to break the most YouTube views in 24 hours, hitting 41.7 million within 6 hours of its release on Friday, August 21, 2020 (1 p.m. KST/9 p.m. PT).
With choreography calling back to iconic Michael Jackson moves and 90’s dances like Kid N Play, BTS members also get to show off and highlight their charms and personalities in the freestyle portions of the video. Already spawning TikTok challenges, the dance is memorable and a delight.
The song is reminiscent of Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk” or “24K Magic” but I find it closer to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” or Pharrell Williams’s “Happy.” Incidentally, I despise the latter two songs. That should give you a clue about my opinion of “Dynamite.”
What I Loved
“Dynamite” is well-crafted, packs maximum punch, and a strategic play for the American market and radio. It’s infectious, joyful, full of brio and pep. The goal of BTS was to release a happy song for the world to forget its COVID-related troubles for a while. Mission accomplished.
The song should be (unless the radio stations are liars and truly xenophobic and racist as we have suspected all along) played on the hour every hour on every pop and multi-category radio station in the country.
Here’s the thing.
I hate it. (Also, I acknowledge that I have no soul and lack taste.) I know all these things intellectually about this song – and it’s so catchy – it’s been stuck in my head since the teaser dropped and I’m ANGRY about it. (I told you it’s complicated.) And after every listen, I really can find nothing wrong with the song – except that it’s not my bag.
Remember what I said about “Can’t Stop the Feeling” or “Happy”? If you love those songs, you’ll love “Dynamite.” I despised “Can’t Stop the Feeling” on first listen – I actually could not even make it halfway through the song. I liked “Happy” for a day until it became overplayed on the radio and I wanted to pierce my ears with sharp objects after.
Thank goodness for the video. Without it, I don’t know that I would be able to even like “Dynamite” half as well. The styling and visuals of the video are illegal. Like, what’s good, J-Hope? What are you doing, V? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS IN MY FACE, JIN?
Incidentally, my two youngest children, Glow Worm (7) and Sasquatch (3.5) LOVE “Dynamite.” Sasquatch demanded we rewatch several times before I forced him to go to bed. He even got angry when I wouldn’t let him watch it on my laptop. The older two, Cookie Monster (10.5) and Gamera (8.5) liked it but it wasn’t their favorite. They couldn’t understand why I hated the song, though. “But it’s so cheerful and happy!” they protested.
Children, that’s pretty much everyone’s reaction when I tell them it was not for me.
Please click and watch my initial reaction video (first with my four children and then with just myself).
Plus, a bonus reaction video with my friend, Jeff Harry, wherein he straight up roasts me for 35 minutes for my lack of taste. (Then like and subscribe to my channel!) I appreciate you!
What I wish were different
What’s that phrase? If wishes were fishes? I’m not going to lie and say I loved this song. However, given that BTS released this song to provide the world (and their fans) with some joy and fun during this pandemic, its huge push for the American market, and its inevitable world domination, who am I to argue? The styling on this video is on point, the song itself is impossible to expunge from your brain, and many mainstream listeners will become BTS fans from this song.
What else would I want?
See, friends? It’s possible to both hate a song and yet also see why it is a motherfucking smash hit.
The video is fun, dynamic, and PACKED with visuals. The dancing is nostalgic and lowkey. The song itself? After streaming it for several hours, I confess that it is catchy as fuck. Still hate it. (Although, I am extremely conflicted.)
“DYNAMITE” is perfect for the American radio format: it’s entirely in English, is upbeat, nostalgic, and imminently danceable.
BTS has since released four additional remixes and a B-side video. This is my reaction to the B-side M/V, the EDM remix (a travesty), and the Acoustic remix.
If you like this and want to read more about my BTS Obsession, then you’ll love these posts:
- BTS ‘ON’ KINETIC MANIFESTO FILM : COME PRIMA REVIEW
- BTS MAP OF THE SOUL: 7 ‘Outro: Ego’ Comeback Trailer Review
- BTS (방탄소년단) MAP OF THE SOUL: 7 ‘Interlude: Shadow’ Comeback Trailer Review
- BTS Black Swan Art Film and Song Review
- My 10 Best BTS Songs
- Why I Love BTS
- Your Guide to Being a Middle-Aged BTS Fan
- Why Is BTS So Successful and How Can We Replicate It?
- The Grammys Snub BTS: ARMY’s Reaction Smacks of White Privilege
- 100+ Signs You May Be a BTS Stan
- Intro to BTS
EXACTLY HOW I FELT! The song’s way too generic and major scaley for me, but I understand the intelligent move from BigHit to sweep the American market.
LOLOLOLOL! I’m a SAD AND ANGRY PERSON, you know? But it seriously is so catchy – it’s going to be in my brain for at least a month.
It’s not my favourite, I like ON better, but I can’t stop listening to it. I also didn’t like Stay Gold much but it got stuck in my head and now I keep listening to it. I”m kinda disappointed that it had to be a song in English and a song they didn’t write to be number 1 on the Billboards. I’m so happy for them. But I don’t want them to feel they have to sing in English to succeed. But maybe this will open the minds of the close minded. I love how they’re smashing through stereotypes.
Yes! They’re smashing through so many stereotypes, it’s wonderful. 🙂
I was fully prepared to hate this song and I mean HATE it. I really dislike peppy, perky, feel-good songs. I wasn’t thrilled that it was going to be an all-English song. I feared another BWL, or even worse, another Stay Gold, which holds the distinction of being the worst thing they’ve ever done AFAIC. I know and care nothing about Western pop (I’ve never heard of half of the artists that are huge, never heard a song by Ariana Grande until a couple of weeks ago and was unmoved, only know Taylor Swift because of Ryan Adams’ covers…you get the picture) and having lived through the disco era, I would much rather stick pencils in my ears than ever have to listen to a disco song again. So yeah, I couldn’t imagine giving this more than one listen (and then streaming and YouTubing it when I wasn’t actually listening or watching, just to help the cause.) But totally in spite of myself—and strictly because THIS IS BTS, because anyone else wouldn’t have gotten the time of day—I found myself really enjoying Dynamite from the get-go. Is it a direction I want more of going forward? A thousand times NO. Am I happy it’s so successful? Yes…and no. I’m happy that it made THEM so happy but I’m actually really sad that a song they had nothing to do with, in terms of songwriting, production or both, is getting them so much attention and could be the one that wins them their much hoped for Grammy. They deserve to be recognized for some of their true masterpieces—and there are so many—not a bit of fluff, no matter how joyful and uplifting it is. Granted, they’re the ones who made it what is is but it’s still not really theirs. All that being said though, it was the right song at the right time by the right group, and as much as I’d like to go all Dobby on myself for liking it, like it I do. (As you can see, I also use 10 words when one will do.)
Lol! If it makes you feel better, plenty of artists win for songs that they had nothing to do with except in the recording and performance. 🙂 It’s not a Grammy for best songwriting, right? (Or any Grammy, yet.) And this is how the game is played and if BTS wants to play ball and dominate the American pop industry by playing their game and giving the industry no excuses to ignore them, then I think it’s a very strategic play. (Also, the song is so catchy! But gah. I can’t wait to not stream this song anymore.) Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! I appreciate it!