An episode from the American podcast Song Exploder featuring soloist Eric Nam has recently resurfaced, a year after its release, and fans are now using it to come up with theories about BTS‘ upcoming English song, “Butter.”
In the episode, Eric broke down his journey as a child of immigrants in the United States and how his identity played out in the K-Pop music industry. He talked about the difficulties he faced with producers, as he comes from a Western background and wanted to stay true to his identity in a field where it wasn’t as accepted.
My stuff is very pop, Western-influenced, Western-driven and in Korea, there weren’t a lot of acts that were pushing that sound. Since the onset of my career, I walk into the label and they’re like ‘What do you want to do?’ And I’m like, ‘I wanna do Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, right in the center of the road Top 40 pop.’ They literally looked at me like, ‘What is that? Who is that?’ They were baffled, ‘Nobody’s doing that. Why would we do that? You’re just going to do Korean Korean music.’ Being so hungry to be part of the industry and wanting to put out an album, I think I made compromises early, so I would say ‘Well, let’s try it the Korean way…’
He touched upon the differences between the American pop music industry versus the K-Pop industry.
The American system is like, ‘We see your color, we see your talent and we want you to be you.’ But in Korea, a lot of it is ‘You’re a blank slate, and whatever we make you into, we want you to be that.’
However, what fans found truly intriguing was the fact that his voice was often compared to butter–which is what BTS have named their upcoming song.
A big part of the struggle that I had in Korea was that my pronunciation isn’t perfect and so there was a ‘We don’t understand what you’re saying because your pronunciation isn’t great, you can’t emote the way we need you to emote. You sound too white, you sound like butter.’
They always say butter to be the most American thing because we always cook everything with butter.
Some fans are thinking that the title “Butter” could be some sort of call-out or diss track.
“It would be so cool if the song was made up with a bunch of butter puns cheekily addressing some of the westernization criticism they get–like a less in-your-face version of “Idol” lyrics,” wrote user Conscious-Ground-106 on a Reddit forum discussing the podcast.
Another comment explained in further detail why a call-out track would be right up the group’s alley.
These are all just speculations and theories, of course. There’s no way of knowing yet what the reasoning was behind calling the song “Butter,” but we’ll find out soon!
Eric nam said his korean pronunciation was kinda imperfect so ppl would say we can't understand anything, you sound too white, "you sound like butter" so i guess butter is a korean slang for something that's very white?? So bts digital single 'butter' might be a diss track ??!!
— Nilu⁷ ♡︎🦋 (@Nilumoniee) April 28, 2021
BTS’ second English-language single “Butter” will be released next month, on May 21.
"You sound too white, you sound too BUTTER… you sound like BUTTER… they always say 'butter' as if like to be the most American thing cause we always cook everything in butter…"
NOW THIS MAKES A LOT OF SENSE. A LOT. https://t.co/kZy6Lqlq3U
— ASHLEY⁷🧈 (@AlyssaAshleyC) April 28, 2021