Ideally, a collaboration between two artists teaches us something about both performers and what they have to share in a unique capacity. In the right circumstances, a track like “Buttercup” would have us get to know another side of Little Hurt that simply wasn’t accessible before coming into the same studio as a veteran performer like The Ready Set, and to me, this was the right moment to make this joint project happen. “Buttercup” isn’t a game-changer so much as a rundown on what its composer is capable of if given the right posturing from a heavyweight, and for a pop fan like myself, it does not disappoint.
One of the most important elements of this song is its balance between the approaches Little Hurt and The Ready Set take to their lyrics; using the instrumental fabric as a canvas, both players colorize the melodic parts with an emotionality that is never dependent on tempo as much as it is tone. This is crucial to creating an equilibrium, especially given just how different their styles are in comparison to one another. Opposites can do incredible things when they’re made to use contradictions and conflict as the basis for something communicative, and that’s exactly why the stony harmonies in “Buttercup” rock as hard as they do.
There’s the same groove-centric concept behind this track as there were Little Hurt’s previous singles and records released in the last few years, but I don’t think he’s starting to devolve into a state of predictability. If this were true, I don’t think he would be getting as adventurous in his performance with The Ready Set as he did for “Buttercup;” after all, if you’re trying to play it safe and develop a consistent style (much less one aligned with the establishment), introducing experimentalism in more liberal doses with each release isn’t usually how you’d go about doing it.
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This beat is sporting a fantastic sway that had my focus from the get-go, and in terms of utilizing it for poetic effect, The Ready Set straight-up puts on a clinic in this song. There’s no separation between his vocal attack and the rhythm at all – they’re entirely synchronized to induce a catharsis around every twist in the groove. Provocative might not be the right word, but when I’m listening to a single like this one and then taking a peek at what the mainstream has been cutting this past month, there aren’t many others that would seem to fit.
I love where Little Hurt is going at the moment, and even if you weren’t enamored with what he put down in “Cooler if U Did,” my gut says you should still give “Buttercup” a serious listen before deciding this guy is anything but an awesome new follow. With The Ready Set to give him an extra boost, this player doesn’t waste a second of our time with the trite bells and whistles too many of his rivals have been using to make entire albums lately. Meat and potatoes it truly is, but for the listener who has no time for nonsensical filler, “Buttercup” is a homerun.