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Jay Knife

by Dajung

nighttime 02:20
Nighttime And everybody thinks I’m high
You can do what you want to You can do what you want to Do Say what you want to But Oh, oh I can’t be who I want to I can’t be who you want me to Be who you want me to Oh, oh What do you want me to do? I wanna stay alive Stay alive
I'm hating my friends again You're crossing the line and then I'll lie again “I see what you mean” I'm hating my family again They don't like it when I sing And I'll lie again “I see what you mean” You crossed out the lines I wrote Saying, "this is not the sound we're looking for" You thought I'd let go of it and go home But I'm still alive, I'm still alive I remember the day I felt Like I was supposed to fit in a box But I’m claustrophobic (What?) Remember the days I had Some problems with speaking, talking, and speaking? And I still do (And I try) You crossed out the lines I wrote Saying, "this is not the sound we're looking for" (you were just forcing me to do things) You thought I'd let go of it and go home (and trying to explain to me how much of a bad idea this was) At least I'm still alive, I'm still alive Didn't kill my At least I didn't kill anyone
When you fall in love I've never been in love How does it feel?
She doesn’t see my pain Yet she hears what they say How can someone be so confident? I hate when you point it out, so elegant And I never hated someone’s intelligence So much it hurts I told you many times And you don’t seem to change, no You know you can get so different When you’re not around me, so tolerant And I hate when you come back home Hollering, “I hated that party, I should’ve just stayed home” Is there any way you could change?
drama 04:18
I wrote a song about you And I don't care if you know it or not Because it's just self-medication where I sit And sing about things I love and hate I don't know why I get so sad When I sit in front of my keyboard And they'll ask me what I've been through What was it that made me so desperate For the love that I'll never receive I'll try not to think, I'll never succeed And they'll say, “for the love of god, just stop singing already My ears are bleeding again, just stop” I won't know how to answer if they Ask why all of my songs are about death and I'll Try to explain, “I'm just making up stories to write a song, you know?” That dramatic shit that everybody comes up with to write a song And I'm just doing the same thing "I'm doing the right thing," I tell myself For the love that I'll never receive I'll try not to think, I'll never succeed And they will say, “for the love of god, just stop singing already My ears are bleeding again, just stop”
untitled 2 03:49
Forgot to spell my own damn name I guess I didn’t like it Thought the world would end just yesterday Hope they’ll love me the same When everything’s sorted out I’ll Let you in Right now it’s just noises, You won’t hear a thing Sometimes I wish I wasn't even born at all But I know I can fight it though it’ll cost some more Alright Listen, stranger I know I’m not the only one But it’s getting to much I feel like im exploding I’ll never tell the loved ones how I truly feel Maybe when they die I’ll be talking to their graves I don’t think I’m erratic, I’m just hurting and hiding She doesn’t understand anything And he makes noises when he eats I hope you don't think me any different I'm still me, the same boy That you really really loved But don’t worry I still pray at night I could turn into a different man The next morning I’ll wake up And feel normal again Just the way you wanted it all to be Just the way you wanted it all to be
pride 02:04
I’m proud today Proud to live the day Proud to love you the way They loved you And someday They will be proud of me You will be proud of me I will be proud of me There’s so many people hating And I don’t get why Yeah, I don’t get why There’s so many people hurting Because of you, why Do you even try? I’m proud today Proud to be the man I have always been A man But you had something against me Something too ugly To be inside of me You had no empathy So don’t be too proud of me Cause I’m not proud of me Is my god proud of me? Or should I care about it at all? And someday I will be sure of things I will know all the things I wish I knew I wish I knew
myp3 03:30
Jenny, we have to go find Mr. Christ Why Mr. Christ? Miami! Christ! No, Tobi wants to say Mr. Christ, not Mr. Christ Calum, your iPad! Can you give me one for Mr. Christ? No We’ve spent way too much time Complaining about our lives Wish we could have writ more songs and played more games I hope we won’t wake up one day And feel like it’s all been a dream So don’t cry, we’ll meet some day Well I kind of get (Still don’t get) Why I cried I was just saying goodbye Guess it’s harder for me When you are the one that’s leaving And forgive me friend, When I start forgetting your face Promise me, you’ll never stop this race We started together And know it’s forever


Jen Dajung Kim, known professionally as Dajung, was born and raised in the Korean city of Incheon. At the age of twelve, she moved to China and attended an international school where she met her friends from different parts of the world. It was there that she acquired her bizarre monicker – Jay Knife – from her English teacher. In an effort to deal with childhood trauma and teenage angst, she started writing songs like she was filling a journal. In that journal, she recorded herself ruminating on self-identity, culture, religion, doubt, anger, and love.

From 2017 to 2018, Dajung uploaded her songs to various music streaming platforms under the name Jay Knife – written as “j.knife” at the time. When she came back home to Korea in the summer of 2019, she temporarily stopped making music. Struggling to find time to create music amid her rigorous school work, Dajung still wonders how her 14-year-old self ever managed to “just be creative.”

On her 2021 album Jay Knife, Dajung rips out the pages from her old journal and staples them together. She holds them in her hands and mourns the fading of her younger self. To her, Jay Knife is a recollection, but it also signals a new epoch of her musical world.

“nighttime” is one of the first songs Dajung has ever recorded. Created using her iPad and the microphone attached to her headphones, the song consists of simple ukulele and vocal loops. She sings quietly, almost whispering in an attempt not to wake her family up at night.

“do what you want” and “i’m still alive” revolve around the idea of being alive. In the two songs, the then-15-year-old singer reflects on what it means to be alive and how she manages to stay alive after all the mess she has been through.

Paradoxically, “when you fall in love” is not a love song. The song questions the existence of love. In the song, all Dajung does is simply ask: “when you fall in love, how does it feel?”

“is there any way you could change?” is a painfully honest song where Dajung selfishly asks the other person in a relationship whether they “could change”. She reflects on communication and connection, or the lack thereof.

In “drama”, Dajung discusses her relationship with songwriting. She reveals her doubts that she felt as a teenager from a small town. She also references people’s comments that held her back from pursuing music – the same idea she explores in “do what you want” and “i'm still alive”. Similarly in “untitled 2”, Dajung struggles with understanding her dreams and desires as she candidly sings, “I feel like I’m exploding.” In “pride”, Dajung rather triumphantly reclaims her identity. She tells the stories of her friends as well as the people of her generation. There is still a tinge of doubt in the song where she asks, “is my god proud of me?” Nonetheless, at the end of the song, she claims, “I will know everything/I wish I knew.”

Back when Dajung attended an international school in China, saying goodbyes was an annual ritual to her. The last track on the album “myp3” reflects on the bitterness that arises from frequent farewells. The minimalist ukulele song demonstrates Dajung’s desire to remember and be remembered forever. She wrote the song in MYP3, which is the IB equivalent of eighth grade.


released February 4, 2021

Produced by Dajung, Mingyu Kim
All songs written, arranged & played by Dajung
Recorded by Dajung
Mixed by Mingyu Kim
Mastered by Seunghee Kang@Sonic Korea
Design by Studio Gomin
Photos(Cover) by Youngjun Kim
Photos(Booklet) by Dajung
Music Video by Sugar Salt Pepper


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