By this stage in the group's career, they had become known as a disco act due to successful singles such as "Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel", "Whodunit" and "More Than a Woman." However, Madam Butterfly is noted for its lack of anything approaching disco material, and, as such, is considered to be more akin in style to the group's 1973-'75 albums than to their '76-'78 Freddie Perren-produced output.
"Never Had a Love Like This Before", one of several slow jams on the album, became a top 5 R&B hit and has subsequently become a quiet storm classic, while tracks such as "I'm Back for More" are more funk-based than listeners had come to expect from Tavares. The title track Madam Butterfly received considerable airplay on R&B radio stations, and became a hit, but was not released as a single by Capitol. The album performed respectably on the R&B chart, peaking at #13, but failed to achieve substantial sales in the crossover market. Its reputation has grown over the years and it is now considered among the group's best.