Written By Zoe Kallenekos
It’s nearly the end of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and these final dog days are far from complete without songs to match the vibe. One new song by 25-year-old Christian French, “butterfly fields,” is a gorgeous tribute to warm, golden days spent in utter bliss. French undoubtedly makes his best effort yet with “butterfly fields,” a song detailing his happiness in the first stages of a relationship– and his fear that, soon enough, it could all come crashing down to an end.
French, who released his first song in 2016, has come a long way from where he started. From his first EDM-tinged pop singles to his newest release, French has explored a variety of new sounds and subject matter. “butterfly fields” is the result of a major evolution over several years, as French moved away from generic sounds to a lower key, introspective vibe.
Although French has made great strides toward defining a sound that works for him in the past few years, “butterfly fields” is something new altogether. From the very first second, the effects-laden electric guitar puts any listener in a mellow, psychedelic trance. As the sound washes over, chirping birds are also present in the background, literally taking listeners somewhere like the titular fields and evoking a peaceful, summery feeling outdoors.
The biggest strength of “butterfly fields” is the song’s flow, and the impeccably smooth and natural feeling the whole track has about it. The instrumental remains easygoing, but progresses perfectly as the first verse starts and a strong beat keeps the song confidently marching forward while the guitar sways. As the chorus kicks in and the instrumental becomes more layered, it lets up and comes back in just when it should, while avoiding ever feeling either empty or cluttered. Though many singer-songwriters fall into the trap of making their lyrics stand out and getting by with a more generic instrumental, French is not one of them; even with repeated listens, “butterfly fields” is flat-out gorgeous to the ears.
This is not to say French’s lyrics do not shine in this song. In “butterfly fields,” French tells a story of a relationship that, while still in its beginning stages, is something that feels intensely good, with the question being, as French sings: “Is it just a honeymoon phase?” Although the metaphors French uses for this love have been done before, such as love being like a drug or a dream that one does not wish to quit or wake up from, this central question, along with the irresistible sound of the song, makes these cliches into a non-issue.
French’s rich and smooth vocals, along with the track’s instrumentation and production, sell this song despite sometimes trite lyricism; “butterfly fields” is too good of a song to let a listener get caught up on less-than-extraordinary lyrics when there is an abundance of groove, heart and a good story. There are even a few standout lines that are adorable in their simplicity, such as when French describes how his love interest stands out from the crowd, “Looking like a sunflower / Even with a sky full of clouds.”
Others, such as “Everybody’s lame / But we’re not like other people,” would be eye-roll-worthy if not for their context within the song. As French is singing about new, intense infatuation, lines like this make sense; in the eyes of a cynic teeming with adoration, of course, the object of his love is put on a pedestal so much higher than his peers. It’s cute and even sweet in its own way, and perhaps even more importantly, realistic to how many people in similar situations think.
One final highlight of this song is how these lyrical themes are merged with the instrumentation beautifully to create a solid, cohesive final product. For example, although the guitar that began “butterfly fields” and drives a lot of the song can be heard throughout its runtime, the last 45 seconds or so of “butterfly fields” features a dominating guitar solo that pierces through the haze of the other instruments and brilliantly draws the song to a fading close.
This solo does what any good instrumentation on a song should do: match the energy and themes of the lyrics. While the track playing before and then underneath the solo is a comfortable, relaxing groove, similar to the enchantment of the new relationship French sings about, the guitar solo brings an intensity that’s needed to express the opposite emotions of that contentment and joy: the raw fear and anxiety that the happiness they share is only temporary. It’s the cherry on top of an already great song that showcases French’s skill of crafting a piece that’s engaging beginning, middle and end.
“butterfly fields” is the perfect, blissed-out, end-of-summer jam to throw on and instantly have a few minutes of feeling good. With this song, French displays a talent and brilliance beyond his previous accomplishments. Hopefully, he can take what makes him stand out and use his strengths to create more like this, so loving his music is not “just a honeymoon phase.”