Saturday, January 13th, 2018

BTS – Mic Drop (Steve Aoki remix)

“The guy who did the guest verse should be in the video” is in general a good rule of thumb.


Micha Cavaseno: First off, let’s get one thing clear: they should’ve put Desiigner in the video. But it’s fine, because I’ve got the inexplicable world where a foreign pop group has an EDM/Rap tune in the American charts and it isn’t some irritating viral scheme or trend but the reality that BTS’ crossover is going to be a thing I can sit back and watch with optimism. Aoki’s production tweaks are generic but serviceable, and it’s genuinely refreshing to hear J-Hope and Suga play with old Wayne cadences in the era of Migos-Triplet-Overkill (RM here is dull but inoffensive). Meanwhile, the bridge is so gaudy and self-celebrating, it’d come off moronic from anyone who was pulling off less than BTS manage to do these days, so in a way there’s justification to their sense of gloating I can’t even discredit. We’d be lucky to have them be such constant figures, but we can certainly do better and hopefully that’ll be the case going on.

Katie Gill: Though I’d personally prefer it if one of the female-fronted K-Pop bands were the ones to make it big in the States, I wouldn’t mind it if a miracle happened and BTS stuck around for a while. They’re talented, have good music, and can fill the boy band shaped hole that’s currently hanging out in American popular music. That being said? This remix isn’t gonna be the one to do it. “Mic Drop” is just a decent song to begin with, but the remix adds on all this noise, practically drowning the group in sound and backing. There’s little restraint and it shows. It makes the song sound downright stale at certain points and downright confusing at others–to the best of my knowledge, the slightly awkward English of the chorus and the second verse is remix exclusive. As unbearably hipster as it sounds, they probably should have kept to the original.

Alfred Soto: Because it’s BTS, it has more sonic ooomph than another act essaying electronic drops, which means a melodic middle eight goosed by subtle guitar. But it remains a slightly dull accommodation.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: The original’s charm is its immediacy, its straightforwardness-as-virtue, and the way it echoes back to the earliest BTS singles. Aoki’s flip is competent, but it takes a bit too much of its bite. And just to be clear — It’s Aoki who’s clinging off the cultural relevance of BTS, not the other way around.

Ryo Miyauchi: If the original was a feature interview post-Billboard Awards victory, the remix is the tweet-sized recap. Details behind the big moment go out for the sake of mass appeal; an unfortunate cut is Suga’s cocky sneer. The huge change is now rather than the individual personalities each justifying the group’s place in the game, “Mic Drop” depends entirely on the story to make its strength valid. While the beat got improved thanks to Steve Aoki removing its bagginess, the edit to the content suffers slightly.

Austin Brown: I’m tickled by the way the trap brass eventually evolves into a “Portland”-esque trap flute, shortcutting the evolution of contemporary Atlanta hip-hop in 4 minutes. Otherwise though, Desiigner continues to do his spastic thing, BTS stunt on the mic with much less subtlety than they’re capable of, and Aoki blows out the original’s bass, thus stripping the track of the few distinguishing features it DID have. Their biggest American chart hit to date.

Alex Clifton: I tend to be on the fence about remixes–perhaps the lone exception is the JXL version of “A Little Less Conversation“–and sadly I’m still on the fence with this one. In some ways, it feels weird that BTS finally cracked the US charts with a remix, as they’re a relative rarity within their discography. Aoki’s version of “Mic Drop” expands the sonic soundscape quite well, creating something more epic and spacious (with that genius ear-wormy piper noise), but it also clunky and cluttered–there’s so much going on that it’s hard to focus on just one melodic aspect. Desiigner’s verse is fine, but cuts out J-Hope’s/Suga’s raps with the iconic “mic mic bungee” line; the shortened rap line verse gives no sense of their individual strengths or their power overall. Lines like “it’s hella trophies and it’s hella thick” still feel awkward when the original Korean phrase was metrically better. And much like the original mix, the Autotune obscures and slurs some of the raps, which cuts down on how incisive they can be–especially an issue when the English lines are meant to broaden BTS’s appeal. I don’t know how listeners with no concept of BTS as a group are supposed to listen to this and get any sense of the boys amidst all this. The buildup still gets me pumped and I lose my shit every time I hear it played in public, but having so many other fingerprints on the song takes the focus away from BTS themselves.

Alex Ostroff: Aoki’s remix lets the same basic squiggle morph into different spaces and interesting shapes without losing the simple melody that makes it such an earworm, but part of me misses the weight and obviousness of the original beat.

Stephen Eisermann: Noisy, arrogant, and a little too in your face for my liking, I’m not sure how I feel about the track. The beat definitely slaps, but the super aggressive style of singing feels so forced and it makes me way too uncomfortable to be able to fully enjoy. This song is the musical equivalent of watching a nerdy kid stand up to his bully – your initial reaction is to root for the kid, but when the bully squashes him all you can do is cringe and walk away.

Will Rivitz: A rule of thumb regarding The Triplet Flow: if the song you’re penning a verse for doesn’t use it, please follow suit. Desiigner’s clunker isn’t the most flagrant example of a triplet flow throwing off the metered regularity of a song (for my money, that honor goes to Offset’s frankly awful verse on Aminé’s otherwise excellent “Wedding Crashers”), but it certainly juts out at an odd angle. Bless RM for salvaging this song with a beautifully Auto-Tuned second verse, but we deserve better cross-Atlantic collaborations.

Reader average: [4.66] (6 votes)

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5 Responses to “BTS – Mic Drop (Steve Aoki remix)”

  1. “This remix isn’t gonna be the one to do it.”

    Well it kinda did, question is if it will lead to any sort of momentum

  2. not saying this is what Mat is saying, but anyone who thinks this remix is particularly responsible for BTS’ success thus far in america…doesn’t understand what’s working (and not yet working) for them.

    yes, it did lead to a new hot 100 record, but literally any BTS song in november of last year that combined their synergy with two other established western names would’ve done about as well.

  3. yeah, 2017 seemed to be the Breakout Year for BTS in the west so I guess we’ll see if this can hold. will be suuuuuper interested to see what happens the next time they tour the US. (will also be holding out for pit tickets.)

  4. I am an ARMY but I agree with most of the blurbs. It’s a shame such an average remix is the one showing the world who BTS is. Even the Chainsmokers penned ‘Best of Me’ would have been a better choice.

    Oh well I hope the crazy fandom keeps BTS momentum a float in american radios for the next comeback

  5. This remix is on heavy rotation on the iHeartRadio “Nick Radio” station my younger brother has on repeat during a lot of the day, which i find interesting considering it’s probably the lowest charting song on there.