Buried Treasure: Lee Chaeyeon – Don’t Be A Jerk

Lee Chaeyeon - Don't Be A JerkA K-pop act’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. Sometimes, b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.

As I anticipated, the hook of Lee Chaeyeon’s Knock has already started to grow a bit dull with age, but the rest of the album is shaping up to be a spring standout. Before writing about my buried treasure pick, I want to take a moment to marvel over b-side I Don’t Wanna Know‘s instrumental. Have we ever heard a K-pop track with such a long intro? Chaeyeon’s vocals don’t even kick in until nearly a minute, leaving space to showcase the killer production. I love this beat. I just wish the actual song had more meat on its bones.

In comparison, Don’t Be A Jerk is a much tamer pop song. But, it strikes a great balance between quirky and melodic. Its bright, synth-driven beat is incredibly enjoyable — particularly when it goes full bore for the chorus. I’m also smitten with the vocal sample placed under Chaeyeon’s performance. This flourish gives the track a unique calling card that prevents it from sounding generic.

But even without these fun elements, Don’t Be A Jerk is such a solid piece of pop music. It’s breezy but forceful — catchy but not overly repetitive. I think it would have made a better title track than Knock, honestly.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

Grade: B+


10 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: Lee Chaeyeon – Don’t Be A Jerk

  1. Yeah, I quite like both tracks you reference here. I Don’t Wanna Know is almost Prodigy-esque, just needs a bit of breaking glass and some sirens kicking off. Has that 90s big beat sound I love (Chemical Bros, Underworld, Leftfield, et al). To quote Super Hans in an excerpt from his Big Beat Manifesto: “Big beats are the best.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. normally i would gravitate to disco-influenced songs like this but i believe ‘i don’t wanna know’ is the real winner on this album, apparently it is kpop’s first attempt at the phonk genre! it is heartening to see chaeyeon is willing to push the boundaries of korean music

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Its pretty solid. But I’m not sure if I feel inclined to play it again. What keeps me is not necessarily Chaeyeon herself but the production and that vocal sample you mentioned.

    Objectively, this is better than Knock, but I think Knock works as a title track because that melody, as grating as it might become, is already pretty iconic and it is hard to deny its catchiness. It sort of puts the brand on the whole album tbh. So I like Knock better for now.

    On the other hand, I don’t wanna know is an absolute masterpiece. I don’t care how short it is, I don’t care that its melody is objectively quite limited. That production is epic. It is simply a lot more immersive, and full on experience. Its excellent. Definitely one of the best songs in K-pop the whole year so far.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I still like Knock but Don’t be a jerk and I don’t want to know are even better songs , another superb album by Lee Chae Yeon she’s been absolutely fantastic as a solo artist so far

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “I don’t wanna know” really surprised me when I first listened to it. Had to check I was still on the right album. The instrumentals really pack a punch, and I don’t remember ever seeing a Kpop song like it.
    Might be my buried treasure just for how unique it is.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’ blew me away. Never in a million years would I have expected Phonk music to combine with K-Pop. Even better, this is one of the best Phonk tracks I’ve ever heard. I love the insistent beat, and how well it works with the aggressive bassline and cowbell lead.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Oooh this is fantastic. I can see this song being a Chungha song. They both have similar vibes in my opinion.

    Also, BOL4 just released this a few minutes ago.

    I love BOL4 so much. Always releasing great music even after the split.

    I think Chaeyeon would pull off this kind of song really well. Chaeyeon and Jo Yuri releasing this kind of song together would be incredible.

    I have so many things that I want Chaeyeon to do. She has so much potential to become super big especially with her fame from IZ*ONE.


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