Barbra Streisand's first album of newly recorded, non-soundtrack studio material in three years, ButterFly was ridiculed at the time of its release because its credited producer was her boyfriend, Jon Peters, whose musical credentials were nonexistent. In retrospect, the real power on the album was arranger Tom Scott, a reed player who had perfected a light jazz-pop style in his work on Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark earlier in the year. ButterFly backed off from the pop/rock style of its predecessors, Stoney End and Barbra Joan Streisand, but it still found Streisand assaying contemporary material by such writers as Bob Marley, Graham Nash, and David Bowie. Unlike Richard Perry, who had produced those albums, Scott adapted the songs to Streisand's powerful and individual vocal style rather than having her ape existing versions of the songs. The result was more of a compromise with contemporary pop that, while it sold only to Streisand's existing fan base, nevertheless had its charms.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann