As their popularity continues to grow, I’ve felt an odd disconnect from BTS’ recent musical output. Sure, it’s been solid but it hasn’t had the same kind of emotional or dynamic impact as their best work. Last years “Map Of The Soul: Persona” was a step in the right direction but despite a few highlights, February’s Map Of The Soul: 7 didn’t really live up to larger than life hype that had preceded it. Dynamite is a big moment for the group and comes as their first fully English language release. This could have gone a number of ways but the boys have smartly played to both their strengths as well as international trends with a song that unabashedly embraces retro influences whilst still feeling like a sleek representation of their sound.
This isn’t the first time the boys have played around with retro sounds for a big single. Boy With Luv was one of 2019’s best and most ubiquitous songs, taking influence from 70’s disco and 80’s synth pop to spectacular effect. And in that respect, Dynamite feels like its natural successor. Both thrive on a very enjoyable funk backbone and is the kind of musical DNA that’s pretty much tailor made to my tastes. Rather than swerve in many different directions, Dynamite maintains a very linear and streamlined pop structure, a rarity for a 2020 single. For many, this might be a turn off but after reviewing a number of songs that constantly have the urge to switch between musical and atmospheric templates, it’s nice to have a track that knows exactly what it wants to be and maintains that sentiment all the way through.
At its core, it’s simple feel good pop music that forgoes the kind of deep, over pretentious narrative ridden tracks that I was honestly getting tired of. And while I was quite apprehensive about the prospect of an all English single, the lyrics here are actually pretty decent. No cringeworthy lyrical play on words or breakdowns, just simple, uncluttered boy group fare. It’s a much better final product than I was expecting and I honestly couldn’t be happier. The central hook resounds with a great sense of funk laced jubilance and just hits all the right spots. Initially it feels too musically similar to the verses but further listens have really brought out Dynamite‘s many hidden charms.
But despite all its merits, there are a few minor things that prevent Dynamite from truely reaching excellence. Apart from the heavily processed vocals, Dynamite lacks the kind of melodic warmth that really made a song like Boy with luv soar. I understand that these two tracks were targeting completely different subjects but I would have loved to see Dynamite carry some more melodic heft. The bridge attempts to emulate this particular atmosphere but it just doesn’t manage reach the mark. That’s a shame because with some slight changes it could have really made Dynamite feel more impactful. But these are only minor issues for a single that’s easily stronger than most of what the group have released this year and one I can easily see improving with time.
Final Rating: 8.5/10