The BTS hit song Butter has racked up more than a half billion YouTube views in the first week—and quite a few video reactions. Watching fellow fans react to the hit song can be a fun way to share your enthusiasm—and satisfy some curiosity—especially when those fellow fans are well versed in musical phrasing, editing cuts and hip hop moves.
Take Jordan Orme, who has edited music videos for the likes of Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne and Megan Thee Stallion. With time on his hands during the pandemic lockdown, he decided to create a YouTube channel to break down the music videos he edited, but soon began covering videos from artists such as Taylor Swift and k-pop girl group ITZY. From there he covered more k-pop groups and this month enthusiastically tackled Butter.
“I continue to do a lot of k-pop videos on my channel because k-pop music videos have incredible production values and engagement compared to western music videos,” said Orme.
He first listened to k-pop in 2018 when one of his roommates showed him a few videos.
“He was like, ‘Bro, you got to check out these guys. It’s like a bunch of Michael Jacksons or Justin Biebers, but altogether in one group.’ The music videos are absolutely incredible, the dancing, the choreography, the singing, the rapping and simply overall talent. I watched BTS, EXO, and NCT right off the bat, then we started getting into girl groups like Blackpink, Red Velvet, and Twice. We would watch compilations of all the new videos over that summer and the rest is history.”
Orme, whose favorite k-pop groups are BTS, NCT, Stray Kids, Blackpink, ITZY, and Everglow, enjoys sharing his enthusiasm on YouTube.
“It’s really amazing to watch your favorite artists and groups through the eyes of somebody else,” said Orme. “They will see things that you might have missed and teach you how to appreciate the artwork at a deeper level. Everyone loves to learn and be entertained at the same time.”
Camille Jouffrey aka Kami is a dancer, actress and musician, who began doing reaction videos in February 2020. While BTS is her #1 k-pop band, she also likes NCT, Stray Kids, Day6 and her favorite artist is Taemin.
“Before that, I only posted dance covers and freestyles on various genres,” said Jouffrey. “But one day, on a k-pop cover, a subscriber said they would be very interested in seeing a dancer like me react to k-pop videos, to know my thoughts and get feedback on them.”
Jouffrey, who lives in France, discovered k-pop by watching a reaction video that focused on the BTS song Idol.
“I could never find a dancer reactor that would truly describe why certain moves fit well, why the dynamics and the rhythm of it all matches the music (or not),” she said. “I guess that’s also one of the reasons I decided to do reactions myself.”
Jouffrey will soon release her own first song and music video. She said that discovering k-pop was like “finding what I’ve always wanted to do, create and see in front of my eyes. I loved it instantly.”
She describes Butter as a “lighthearted and warm song,” that can turn a gloomy day bright. “I just love that about it. And of course, from a dancer’s point of view, the choreography represents that perfectly and is quite original too.”
Nicholas Edward, known as Nico, says he and his friends don’t react to other k-pop videos—just BTS—at WhatchaGot2Say.
“This hobby of ours which has blossomed into a full-on obsession started two years ago ironically enough by way of a recommendation from another reactor,” said Nico. “BTS caught our attention instantaneously after we watched the music video Mic Drop. The song itself was melodious but what really kept us coming back for more was the seven stars that were ever present in that video.”
He reacted to Butter with his brother Adam and friend Blaze. “Both are dancers and music artists,” said Nico. “So they are able to bring a level of clarity when we do reaction videos.”
They have reacted to other genres. “Being huge hip hop fans, we’ve reacted to music videos to a few artists such as Logic, Eminem, Joyner Lucas, and a few others before we started reacting exclusively to BTS. One of the elements within BTS’ music that drew us in was hip hop itself. This helped us to form an immediate connection with the music of BTS that grew into us desiring to learn more about them as individuals.”
Based in Texas, Nico grew up in New Orleans and describes himself as a traditional Southerner “sprinkled with a dash of Cajun seasoning.” He enjoys interacting with what he calls the “fam base,” that is fellow fans he considers to be family.
“Having a community of people we can interact with that will point out things we didn’t notice, while we in turn are pointing out things they didn’t notice while they are watching our reaction video, is nothing short of thrilling to me,” said Nico. “There’s a real connection there and it’s so fulfilling to see that they get excited about the same things that we do.”
Rebecca Moore is a vocal coach based in England. She is known on YouTube as Rebecca Vocal Athlete because her approach to teaching singing is holistic, incorporating aspects of health and wellbeing. Moore, a performer and songwriter, creates reaction videos for various music genres, but has covered k-pop songs for more than two years.
“I’ve done a lot of BTS, I’ve done other k-pop groups as well, but BTS were the first, and EXO as well,” said Moore. “Then it opens you up to so many different bands that you see in the comments. It’s a whole new world. It’s a beautiful thing.”
She favors k-pop because it’s vibrant and fun, with stylish videos that provide plenty of eye candy. “What I know about BTS themselves is that they are always about loving yourself, so there’s messages in the music as well.”
One criticism that pops up in her video comments is about k-pop’s use of autotune.
“Pretty much everyone uses autotune now, that’s a given,” said Moore. “It’s just one of those things. You get a sort of snobbery with it, but they work hard, they sing well and generally you can see a progression from their singing. It’s lovely to see their journey.”
As to Butter, it hits all the right notes.
“I can’t stop singing it,” said Moore. “The hook is so clever. That’s not always what music is about, but it’s upbeat, it’s the rhythm, it’s the sort of homage to Michael Jackson, and it’s just about having fun. With BTS, you never know what you’re going to get.”