Song Review: Ailee – Don’t Teach Me

Ailee - Don't Teach Me
It’s been just over two years since the release of Ailee’s second studio album. Now she’s back with a new full-length, entitled “Amy” after her English name. The album promises to represent Ailee’s true self, and title track Don’t Teach Me (가르치지마) references key moments in her career. The title mirrors 2014’s Don’t Touch Me, while the brassy sound reaches back to the styles she pursued during that era.

Big, brassy pop songs are perfectly suited to Ailee’s tremendous voice, but the genre itself has never been one of my personal favorites. Songs like U&I and Don’t Touch Me were epic because the songwriting itself was epic. Ailee sells Don’t Teach Me with equal vigor, but the track feels less interesting.

I’m going to blame much of this on personal bias, because it’s hard to fault anything about the production or composition. Ailee belts out the vampy refrains with the best of them, and the jazzy instrumental nudges her along with vigor. The whole track feels ripped from an old-fashioned movie musical. It’s flashy and flirty in energy, yet fierce and powerful in execution. However, this specificity also prevents Don’t Teach Me from breaking free of its genre restraints. Like I said: I’m not a huge fan of this style of song. I can appreciate its strengths but won’t be jumping to add it to my playlist. A more galvanizing chorus might have drawn my attention. After all, I consider the similarly-themed U&I to be a bonafide K-pop classic.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7

11 thoughts on “Song Review: Ailee – Don’t Teach Me

  1. I’m a Broadway baby and thus predisposed to enjoy this style. I do really like the production flourishes. The structure and melody aren’t my favorite however—it’s not that the chorus isn’t grand enough, it’s just not the catchiest. I also don’t mind when jazzy songs start out slow and hit with something more uptempo over time, but I wish they didn’t go slow in the bridge. It sucks the momentum out of it.

    I’m glad Ailee released this—I haven’t enjoyed much of hers since “I’ll Show You” era, and more in this style is likely to draw me in.


  2. Have to be honest, this olde tyme musicale revue style production is growing very old and tired for me. And it always the same kind of jazzy musical song. Its the kind which either slots in as the 1st act 2nd scene sassy “I am” heroine song, or as the song from near the end of 2nd act where the heroine figures it all out (which harkens back to her “I am” song). If I remember correctly, this is at least the 4th this year – the Kingdom the show production, there was a boy act in June, a solo girl act in August, and now Ailee.

    That said, Ailee powers through it with a fine performance.

    It is worth pointing out that as her usual, the choreo is styled to allow the singer to actually sing. There is movement and she moves, but the backup dancers do the heavy lifting, as it should be. (There is a heavy backing vocal, but you can hear exactly where she is singing along with herself and where she isn’t.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re probably thinking BTOB’s “Blue Moon” and “Outsider”, and Kwon Eun Bi’s “Door”, the latter of which were both August. I can’t think of anything from June that fits the style, though. I get they’re all pretty similar, but I still love them. Cheesy in the best way. I think Bbtripin does Ailee’s choreo, so no surprise it’s also great.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like Ailee and I really like this style, so I’m sold. Honestly, a week ago I would have agreed that October was pretty suck-tastic, but there’ve been a bunch of releases the last few days that I’ve really enjoyed. Once I’m done going through b-sides I might break 100 new playlisted songs for the month. To be fair, there’s a lot of R&B and indies in there – I’ve been feeling better the last week so I might be wallowing a little in the feelings I couldn’t feel for a while there.


      • Yes it is, and I love the performance too. The styling and set dressing on the music shows has been hit or miss, which bugs me because he ought to have access to people who know what they’re doing, but I guess my brain is somewhat amused playing stage critic. Music Bank the dancers looked like they were wearing baggy sweatshirts and jeans and in all black they kept fading into the dark stage. M Countdown it’s the same problem only in white, although at least the dancers are wearing black shoes. The bright, busy backgrounds are really distracting too.


        • I suspect its a matter of how much the SJ sublabel want to spend on the music show costumes or not, and probably they are existing from the costume closet. At this point in their career, Super Junior don’t promote much on the music shows, perhaps 2 or 3 or so, mostly as a common courtesy to the kpop industry and habit than to lure potential new stans. Both SJ sublabel and Eunhyuk will should the cost / benefit of how much to spend on the music production, the video, the shows, the other promo costs, etc.

          Unless its the title song from the full SuJu or the lead single off the forthcoming D&E, in which case then the performance becomes the featured song on their Super Shows and the year end MAMA’s and such. Then the costumes that show up on the video and shows will be more a suite of costumes all custom designed and made. But for this song, when it gets performed at a Super Show, Eunhyuk will probably still be in the costume for the previous song.

          =my humble speculation=


          • Makes sense to me. It was just disappointing because that choreo is so great I was really looking forward to stages. At least the performance video is good!


  4. Huh, I’m kind of disappointed by the b-sides. I love all the previously released tracks, but the new b-sides feel like they’re lacking something. I wonder if there was a change of producer somewhere in there. I do like “Lose myself to you” and “Beautiful Disaster” – the latter either uses real instruments or whoever’s doing the programming is a step above average, because the strings and percussion in particular sound really nice. “New Ego” has a fun clapping percussion and bass line but needs real brass.


  5. I think with these kinds of songs I can always appreciate them but I never feel the need to listen to them again. I feel the same about Eunbi’s ‘Door’, which someone has already mentioned here


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