Dear kfangurl: What are some of the best drama OSTs?

Shamster writes:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on dramas with the best OSTs! Just dramas worth watching because of how well the OST works- thinking Healer and One Spring Night and Suspicious Partner!

* Shout-out to MC, who’d also mentioned that she’d love me to write about drama OSTs!

Let us now drown in all of the amazing music! πŸ₯°

Dear Shamster,

That’s a very interesting question that you ask, about the best OSTs, since music and the appreciation of it is so varied. Just as with dramas, I think our individual responses to music are unique to each of us, and so something I love and think is brilliant might not blow you away the way it blows me away, and vice versa.

But, let me attempt to break down what I think makes a good OST, and then I’ll share some of the ones that I think are best, in my opinion, and then some that may not be the best, but which still bring me the feels.

Of course, I’m far from having all the answers, so as always, everyone, do feel free to chime in with your insights and sharing in the comments! πŸ™‚

WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT OST?

I’m far from being a music professional, but here’s what I think makes a good OST.

1. It feels organic to the story

I think the best OSTs not only feel natural to the drama world’s environment, but help to shape it, even. Sometimes, these songs are written specifically for the drama; at other times, they are pre-existing songs that are selected for use in the drama.

Importantly, the songs feel like they belong in the drama world (for example, a breezy song for a youth drama brings out the carefreeness that goes with – or should go with – being young). Also, the lyrics of the songs should support the drama’s message, and – gasp! – not contradict it.

2. It amplifies the story

Also importantly, the songs are applied in an astute manner; the right songs for the right moments can really lift the moment for the viewer, and make it the scene feel more momentous and significant, than if the scene was played without music. Bonus points, if the lyrics of the song are relevant to the scene it’s being applied to.

3. It makes you feel

This is super subjective because each of us is unique, so what makes me feel, might not be what makes you feel. Still, I’d say that the mark of a great OST is that it makes you feel. Whether it’s the poignance of the story, the romance of the OTP, the lightheartedness of our story world, or the wistfulness of unrequited love, a great OST stirs us up on the inside and makes our hearts ache &/or sing – in the best possible way.

4. It lingers with you

This might arguably be the point that sets apart the really great OSTs from the ones that are perfectly decent.

Dramaland generally does a nice job of its OSTs (except when it doesn’t – *cough*Something In The Rain*cough*), so big love ballads that sound good in the moment, but which you forget soon after you complete the drama, are a dime a dozen. The ones that really stand out, to me, are the ones that continue to linger with me, long after the final credits have finished rolling. That’s a lot rarer, and a whole lot more special, I think.

* The excellent ones that don’t linger

For the record, a show might have a very good OST that amplifies the feels, but due to the Show’s tone &/or subject matter, it’s not an OST that I really want to keep listening to. Case in point: World of the Married, which I thought had an excellent OST because the OST kept the tension taut and held me hostage on the edge of my seat, while our story twisted and turned. The thing is, though, I wouldn’t want to listen to that for fun. 😜

And although I haven’t seen 2017’s Save Me, Beez has shared this track with me, which totally gives me the creeps. Excellent for making your audience’s skin crawl, but really, probably not preferred for leisurely enjoyment – uh, for most people anyway. πŸ˜‰

GREAT OSTs THAT I LOVED (AND STILL LOVE!)

These are the ones that not only linger with me, but make the drama come alive for me. In my experience, these OSTs feel so organically grown alongside the narrative, that it feels like the drama itself would be a mere shadow of itself, if stripped of its OST.

For the record, the OSTs are excellent in their entirety, but I’m only sharing single tracks in this post. Also, to keep things fair – and so that I don’t actually have to rank my favorites! – everything’s in chronological order.

Winter Sonata (2002)

Ahhh, Winter Sonata. Seriously, all I need to hear are the opening strains of this song, and all the Winter Sonata feels come flooding back. Listening to the OST album is such an immersive experience because I feel like I’m re-experiencing that nostalgic, earnest, wistful drama world all over again, without the need for an actual rewatch.

You can visit the OST album here.

Goong (2006)

Goong was my gateway drama, so I’m probably biased, but I sincerely think that the OST in Goong is one of the best. The OST scores so much of the drama, bringing its manhwa-inspired world to popping life, that it almost feels like you’re watching a musical – but not really.

To illustrate my point, let me say that my sister and I (a different sister than the one who convinced me to watch The King: Eternal Monarch, just to be clear) watched this together and loved it so much that we went on to explore a few other dramas together. Somewhere along the way, my sis remarked that the drama we were watching (I forget which it was) felt so quiet and empty, because that particular show didn’t use its OST in the same way Goong did. In contrast, Goong feels fuller and more fleshed out, because of its OST. And yes, just listening to this one song brings back all my Goong feels – in what feels like a tidal wave. I loves it.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Chuno (2010)

I think of Chuno’s OST as badassery in music form. Honestly, this song isn’t even my usual kind of style, but just listening to this song gets my blood pumping and my feet tapping; I feel vicariously badass just partaking in the music, ha. This is one of those rare cases where the music in question is used to amp up the tension and action in the narrative, and yet, is music that I’m happy to linger in.

Of course, there’s more to the OST than just edgy badass tracks like this one. There are also heartfelt big – and often still manly! – ballads, and plaintive tunes, because our story is an emotional journey at its core. Overall, just fabulous. This OST unfailingly makes me yearn for a rewatch, because its pull is just that strong.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Secret Love Affair (2014)

Gosh, I found the OST in Secret Love Affair as evocative, immersive and intoxicating as the show itself. The music is a legit presence in our drama world, and feels like its own character, who deserves – sometimes demands – its own narrative space. It’s as complex as our characters; sometimes tortured, sometimes simple and innocent, oftentimes a mixture of both. The music in this show is so magnificent; it absolutely lifted my watch experience to a whole other plane – and then kept me suspended there, as I floated in the cloud of its beauty. Guh.

I rarely make the effort to buy a physical album (because who has the space for it all, right?), but I ordered this one; it’s just that special.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

My Mister (2018)

I really, really like the OST in My Mister. I wrote in my review – “I found this show’s OST to be often lilting, and alternately moody and wistful. I felt like while the OST worked to make my watch immersive, it also added a layer of surreality – and occasionally, poetry – to an otherwise melancholic narrative.” – and I still stand by it today.

Our story leans melancholic and our character experiences, bittersweet, and the OST worked so, so well, not only to mirror the pathos already there, but also, to inject an occasional touch of almost-whimsy to a world that would’ve been too dark without it. This show made my heart ache, but when it did, the music in it, made that heartache feel beautiful.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

When The Devil Calls Your Name (2019)

The music in this show feels quite different from the norm, with its strongly acoustic, folksy vibe. The songs were written specifically to be woven into the narrative, and that cohesiveness shows – and is one of Show’s big plus points. I feel the OST lands very raw and soulful, and it makes this story feel all the more heartfelt.

Our actors do play their own instruments, and Jung Kyung Ho does all his own singing as well. Also, check out that amazing solo on the electric guitar in the clip above. SO good. This OST definitely lingered with me, even after I’d finished my watch.

Flash Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay (2020)

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay is a show that feels melancholic, wistful, surreal and whimsical, all at the same time, and its OST manages to exist in tandem with that interesting mix of qualities, while enhancing our drama world’s ethereal yet dark vibe, even.

This OST definitely lifted my watch experience, making our drama world feel even more immersive than it already was, and some of these tracks continued to linger with me, even after the show was over. Really well done.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

OSTs THAT INSTANTLY BRING BACK THE FEELS FOR ME

Here are a bunch of shows whose OSTs didn’t quite make it to my Best List, but which I think deserve a shout-out, nonetheless. Mostly, these OSTs manage to bring back all the feels for me, even though most of these didn’t actually manage to linger with me – much.

Again, everything’s in chronological order.

Classic (Up to 2010)

Save Your Last Dance For Me (2004)

Save Your Last Dance For Me was one of my early kdrama loves, and I love-love-loved the OST. The violin crescendoes in the track above were my favorite; they felt so poetically dizzying. 🀩 There’s a great deal of nostalgic appeal for me, with this OST, and the only reason it’s in this list instead of my Best List, is because I feel that the OST didn’t quite help to construct our drama world (vs. Winter Sonata and Goong), even though it certainly did a nice job of scoring it.

Listening to it now as I type this, legit whets my appetite for a retro rewatch. Young, earnest, handsome Ji Sung as an amnestic chaebol prince who falls for our female lead twice? I want!

You can visit the OST album here.

You’re Beautiful (2009)

This drama is such boppy, silly fun, and this OST brings back all of those youthful, breezy, summery feels. I can’t say I actually think of this drama, nor do I have a special place for it in my drama-loving heart, but listening to the OST, I can practically see Jang Geun Suk in front of me, wearing his signature ponytail and lip-curling smirk, while rocking out with A.N.JELL. Fun times!

You can visit the OST album here.

Oh! My Lady (2010)

You know how, sometimes, a drama is really underwhelming, but it’s got a catchy OST that sticks with you? That’s what Oh! My Lady is, for me. The only thing I really remember about this show is that Choi Siwon is handsome in it – and has his fair share of shirtless screen time, heh. Oh, and he realizes he has a young daughter. Not a very memorable drama, to be sure. But somehow, this OST managed to get under my skin, and wouldn’t let go. I’ve literally had a couple of these songs as my phone ringtones, heh. The OST still brings back all the breezy feels – none of which have anything to do with the drama itself, lol.

You can visit the OST album here.

Secret Garden (2010)

I conclude that Secret Garden’s OST is more enduring for me, than the drama itself. While I loved the drama when it first aired, I find that I can’t get into the show anymore (I’ve tried). And yet, when I randomly heard this song playing at the grocery store earlier this year, I was able to sing along – and place it as part of the Secret Garden OST. That’s some impressive lasting power!

What this OST does for me, is bring back the positive Secret Garden feels, that I can no longer muster by watching the show itself. That’s pretty cool, yes?

You can visit the OST album here.

Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010)

I have a huge soft spot for Sungkyunkwan Scandal, because it was my first sageuk ever, and I found it surprisingly fun and cracky. In general, I thought the OST was very well applied. It often brought out – and enhanced – Show’s youthful, breezy vibe, and effectively lifted my watch experience. I just don’t have the impression that the OST was as strong a presence as those in my Best List.

In my head, this sits at about the same level as the OST from Save Your Last Dance For Me. Strongly enjoyable and evocative, and does a great job of scoring the drama; it just doesn’t quite help to construct the drama world, for me. But, it still brings back all the happy-cracky feels whenever I listen to it.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Modern Classic (2011-2015)

Dream High (2011)

I found Dream High cracky youthy fun, and this song always brings back the feels, along with an involuntary urge to bop along to the music. There are so many easy-breezy tracks on this OST; it’s truly the closest I’ve felt to being an actual kpop fan, heh.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Warrior Baek Dong Soo (2011)

Warrior Baek Dong Soo is one of those weird little shows where I feel like it’s somehow more than the sum of its parts. One of the MVPs, for me, is this song on the OST. Even though I found so many logic stretches and plot holes in this show that it became rather ridiculous, this song got under my skin in a big way. I found it so full of burgeoning emotion and expression; it felt meaningful and momentous, even when things on my screen didn’t make sense. And, afterwards, it lingered with me, long after I’d finished the show. That’s some serious staying power!

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Gaksital [Bridal Mask] (2012)

It’s been years since I watched Gaksital (8 years! 😱 Where has the time gone?!?), so naturally Show’s details are very hazy to me now. But this song brings back all the epic, pumping, viscerally moving feels, of a people gathered for a cause greater than themselves.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Queen In Hyun’s Man (2012)

I loved Queen In Hyun’s Man, though some of the details escape my memory right now. This song brings back Show’s poignant feels so well, though. “Same Sky, Different Time” sums up this OTP’s dilemma in just its title, and the music evokes the sweet heartache of loving someone across a millennium. Augh. It totally brings back the core feels of this drama, and even though the details are hazy, the nuances of emotion are crystal clear.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Arang and the Magistrate (2012)

I loved this show, and the thing that moved me most about it, was Arang’s search for self. The meaning of the romance is amplified in that context. As a ghost, she’s a wandering entity, and this song is a love song which refers to her as a person, and that gets me every time. I might not think of the show much, nor revisit the OST often, but every time I hear this song, the poignance of that acknowledgment gives me a good dose of sweet, heartachey feels.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Heartless City (2013)

One of the things that really stays with me, with Heartless City, is how moodsy and atmospheric it is, in its dark, gritty, oily sort of way. This song captures that vibe really well, for me. Listening to it, I feel immediately catapulted back into this murky, fascinating drama world, all over again.

Flash Review is here. You can revisit the OST album here.

Healer (2015)

You guys know how much I love Healer (hint: A LOT), and this song singlehandedly brings back all those Healer feels; it’s such a rush. πŸ₯° On its own, it’s a cheesy song by Michael Learns To Rock. In the context of Healer, though, it speaks of an epic love story that involves secret night couriers and blindfolded kisses on rooftops. Squee!

“Oh my love.. I’m all yours.. And there will never be another one because I’m eternally yours.. My heart’s aflame.. and it’s burning in your name.. Even through the sands of time our love will always grow.. And I won’t let go.” Eee!! 😍😍😍

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Kill Me Heal Me (2015)

I know I don’t have a review for this show on the blog (I got busy after finishing my watch and never managed to go back to write the review), but for the record, I did love this one when I watched it.

Ji Sung’s performance is amazing, and beyond the story’s logic stretches, what appealed to me more, was the strong emotional core that drives this narrative. It feels poignant, wistful, edgy and quite surreal – and I feel like this song on the OST brings that out, in the most perfectly immersive sort of way.

You can visit the OST album here.

Recent (2016-present)

20th Century Boy and Girl (2017)

20th Century Boy And Girl is such a lovely little collection of warm, fuzzy, easy-breezy feels, and this song’s vibe sums it all up, for me. The song lingers with me more than the drama itself, if I’m being completely honest. There’s just something about it that makes me feel like I’m on vacation without a care in the world. πŸ₯°

Flash Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

At Eighteen (2019)

I really really like At Eighteen as a drama, and in particular, my favorite track on the OST is this one. It’s got such an easy, soft-rock, groovy sort of vibe, and on top of that, I felt that the slight plaintive edge in the quality of the vocals was so perfect for the growing pains portrayed in our story. I always perked up whenever this song came on to score the drama moments on my screen, and listening to it now, it still brings back the same hopeful, sweetly melancholic feels.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Be Melodramatic (2019)

This show is such a quirky, unique breath of fresh air. I would’ve never dreamed that I’d be so into a song about shampoo, or that I’d ever giggle fondly at a song about poop, but that’s just what this show does so well. It makes me laugh at unexpected things, while keeping my heart full. Listening to this song brings back all the fun, peculiar goodness about this show, and it just makes me smile. πŸ₯°

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Search: WWW (2019)

Search: WWW is a show that dances to its own rhythm, defying both typical story milestones and narrative tropes, and this song brings that all out, for me. This song is so laidback yet groovy-sexy; something very different from the big love anthems that are so often celebrated in Dramaland.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Itaewon Class (2020)

Guh. I just love this song on the Itaewon Class OST. It’s so edgy-groovy and so defiant and strong, all at the same time. It encapsulates the underdog warrior for me, which is exactly what the drama itself celebrates. I love it.

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

Hospital Playlist (2020)

I freaking love that our Friendly Five play and sing for real, in the course of our show, and on a regular basis too! What did we do to deserve this awesomeness, because I’d like us to do it again. 😍 I will admit that the music in this show didn’t exactly linger with me after my watch, but listening to the OST again – particularly tracks performed by The Five (like this one above) – just brings all the feels back, instantly. Love. ❀️

Review is here. You can visit the OST album here.

IN CLOSING

This list isn’t comprehensive, of course. But I do think this list covers some pretty great OSTs, so I hope you’ll find some lovely nuggets from this post, whether they’re dramas to watch, &/or their OSTs to listen to!

Also, like I mentioned above, everyone, do feel free to share your favorites in the comments, since there are literally so many shows that I haven’t yet watched.

I hope this list helps!

Love! ❀

~kfangurl

Let’s sit back & feel all of the feels, all over again, shall we? πŸ₯°

POST-SCRIPT:

1. If you feel that I missed anything, or if you have your own insights that you’d like to share with the rest of us, do tell us about it in the comments!

2. Do you have a question of your own? Drop me a comment here or on theΒ Dear kfangurlΒ page, or send me an email!

158 thoughts on “Dear kfangurl: What are some of the best drama OSTs?

  1. Elaine Phua

    The soundtrack that is lingering for me is the Nirvana in Fire soundtrack. I loved the orchestral tracks, they were lush, grand and sweeping yet also full of melancholy when the mood called for it. I also really liked the ballads – Hu Ge sang the closing credits song, Liu Tao sang the romantic ballad and Wang Kai sang the song in the last episode. They have such lovely voices!! Gave me all the feels. I’ve been playing all the above on YouTube.

    Reply
    1. phl1rxd

      Hi Elaine –

      If I hear the intro I am right back in the drama. I love the entire OST and I especially love the small slight bamboo stick noises in between scenes to highlight suspense. I am reading the novel now and I imagine the music and the actors as I read.

      Reply
    2. kfangurl Post author

      This show just stays with you, doesn’t it?? ❀️ I like the song that Liu Tao sang, more than the others.. but yes, it’s all very lush and on-point, and I can completely understand your need to soak in the music. πŸ₯°

      Reply
  2. kellasandra

    Enjoy the OST’s as as playlist on my You Tube music mix and also get to see brief recaps so its a win win!

    Reply
  3. Alaskan

    Loved this! The music often helps me to keep powering through a drama. For example, I wasn’t as enamoured with Healer as most people but I loved the music, especially when the guy would parkour all over the place. Similarly, I always looked forward to the music in Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People. And whenever I hear the OST for Heartless City, I immediately picture Jung Kyung Ho and his eyeliner.

    And it’s not just the OST. I sometimes enjoy the opening or closing credits more than the actual drama. I think that the only reason I continued to watch Qing Qing Zi Jin, long after I lost patience with the artless female lead and the housebroken male lead, was because I loved the drama’s opening credits. Ditto for Guardian: The Great and Lonely God (aka Goblin), which I thought had a great opening credit. Other dramas whose opening credits I actually enjoyed watching were Story of Yanxi Palace, Arsenal Military Academy and Go Princess Go (I didn’t like the drama itself) and, for closing credits, The Legends.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Glad you enjoyed this post, Alaskan! πŸ˜€ I’ve experienced that before, where a drama isn’t really doing it for me, but the soundtrack is engaging enough, that I end up sticking with it, in spite of myself. πŸ˜… And YES, often, all it takes is hearing part of a song, to bring back all kinds of drama memories & feels! Such a great time capsule in that way, honestly! πŸ˜€

      Reply
  4. Prashil Prakash

    Agreed agreed agreed!

    Shows you mentioned here are still in my playlist

    Kill me heal me’s Rap song ‘Hallucinations’ is really cool song, for lack of a better word.

    Every Song from its okay not to be okay is simply masterful. Difficult to pick out a single song from that but ‘you’re cold’ Actually gives me chills whenever i listen to it. ugh.❀️

    Songs from ‘Be melodramatic’ are so clever and catchy!
    From the funny like the ‘poop song’ or the ‘shampoo song’ to really beautiful songs like “moonlight” or makes-you-wanna-sing-along song ”fake”.

    But for me The most difficult song to listen to is “Grown ups” (or adults). From ‘My Mister’.
    .
    Oh God. I’ve never had a song in my life which can actually trigger me wanna cry!
    It’s so beautiful and poignant and I love it so much that I can’t actually listen to it anymore.

    A similar song to that would be ‘Butterfly’ from Age of youth by sogyumo acacia band.

    Seriously! Getting the OST right in a kdrama is probably half the battle.

    Awesome Post!😊

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      So glad you enjoyed this post, Prashil! πŸ˜€ Aw, I feel sad that you love Grown Ups from My Mister so much but yet can’t listen to it. 😭 I hope you’ll be able to enjoy it again soon.. it’s too achingly beautiful to be passed over in favor of other songs!

      And yes, I do agree that getting the OST right is so important in a show, whether it’s a drama or a movie.. and yet, most of the time, people don’t talk about the OST much, because we’re more engrossed with the plot and characters. I’m trying to change that, by including at least a short section on the OST in my reviews. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. merij1

    Someone was talking about how annoying it can be when they abruptly crank up the swoony romance song anytime the couple pause to stare in each other’s eyes or whatever.

    Ha. When it’s done really badly — very abrupt and immediately loud — I feel like I’m watching a Saturday Night Live skit. It transcends manipulation and enters the realm of parody.

    But even better is when the show recognizes how ridiculous it is and insert one of those “false start” romance moments, where you think it’s about to go swoony, the signal music starts up . . . but then one half of the OTP refuses to play along, and the music abruptly stops as well. lol

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      HAHA. Yes, very true on both counts, MeriJ! πŸ˜† When it’s bad, it can be reminiscent of a parody, but when it’s self-aware and tongue-in-cheek, it can be quite amusing. πŸ˜ƒ

      Reply
  6. MC

    OH YAY you talked about OSTs! I’m so touched you remembered my request from long ago!! πŸ˜€ I also agree with your points and of the shows that I have watched on your list, I agree with them! And YES to soundtracks that linger with you. Just some others and my personal favourites:

    Gateway dramas have a soft spot in my heart, I suppose, since I will always fondly remember or smile when I hear songs from DOTS or Strong Woman Do Bong Soon on my Spotify playlist. Now as a more seasoned drama watcher I recognise that these OSTs fall under the category of “typical OSTs with big soaring ballads and fun upbeat tracks” but back then I didn’t know and the music worked really well for me. Though I did discover Standing Egg (who had another wonderful song, I’ll Pick You Up on the Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo soundtrack) – so I’ll always be grateful for the SWDBS soundtrack!

    Soundtracks that I absolutely love and linger with me after the show has ended (not necessarily shows that I loved, just great soundtracks):
    – My Mister obviously, nothing more to add. I still feel like re-watching or feel melancholic whenever I hear any of the songs from the OST!
    – Goblin – so haunting and fits the vibe of the show perfectly. The intro song Round and Round immediately brings the show to mind and I honestly think that Stay With Me (Punch/Chanyeol) is one of the best OST tracks for any show. Love it so much. And I also like My Eyes and Beautiful.
    – Cheese In The Trap’s indie flavoured songs are so lovely and fit the show so well! I shared back in the review, there was a period of time that I kept the OST on repeat. But I admit I’m biased cos I like indie music haha.
    – The Smile Has Left Your Eyes’ haunting and mysterious tracks also work so well for the show. I love Lost in particular but the other songs (Star, Moonlight, Someday) are beautiful too.
    – On a very very different vibe, how much do I love We Married As A Job’s Koi Song? I cannot aptly put it into words. For that song alone I place it on this list. Haha!

    Good soundtracks:
    – Misaeng – I love the melancholic vibe of Tomorrow, Fly, and the instrumental tracks
    – Prison Playbook’s initial use of Time to Say Goodbye as Je-Hyeok’s theme which later changed to Bravo My Life. Also this was the first show where I heard a rap song as an intro and absolutely loved it
    – This Week My Wife Will Have An Affair – the songs pair so well with the show’s sad/ heavy hearted-vibes (for lack of a better word).
    – Because This LIfe is My First, Fight My Way also had really good soundtracks! I absolutely love Ben’s Stay from BTLIMF.
    – Healer – OMG I never imagined a cheesy MLTR love ballad would fit so well in a pakouring/fight scene but it just… does. I swoon as Ji Chang Wook does his thing and “Ohhh my loveeeee” plays! And I say all this admitting that I love MLTR, HAHAHAH.
    – Life on Mars – I hear the opening guitar strains of Agnes and I’m immediately transported back to the world of 1988, Park Sung Woong and the team hehe.
    – Romance Is A Bonus Book also had a pretty awesome indie-ish soundtrack! And another rom com with a pretty lovely soundtrack is Touch Your Heart. CLOY’s soundtrack was also really good though more typical with its power ballads. But many of the songs are so so good.

    There are also a couple of songs from shows that I’ve not actually watched but I love so much – Henry’s It’s You (from While You Were Sleeping), Lee Hi’s My Love (from Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo), Chicago Typewriter’s Be My Light (by Kevin Oh), there are many others but I can’t list them out.

    Ok wow that was a long comment! Hope you’re keeping well and I’m as always lurking and will post/ reply whenever possible!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Of course I remembered that you’d asked me to talk about OSTs, MC! πŸ˜€ And I’m so glad that you’re here to read it, now that I’ve finally done it! πŸ˜… Thanks for your patience! ❀️

      I absolutely agree that the OSTs of our gateway dramas have an unfair advantage; we will always have that special soft spot for the show and everything to do with it, because it was the show that inducted us into the weird and wonderful world of dramas! (I did love I’ll Pick You Up from Weightlifting Fairy; I think that was the song I listened to, as I wrote the review! 😍)

      Ahaha, thanks for the shout-out for the Koi Song; that is a great little song! So cute and fun! 🀩 I can see everyone doing the dance in my head, just thinking about that song. πŸ˜†

      PS: That’s great that you like songs from dramas you haven’t watched.. I’d suggest you continue to stay away from Moon Lovers, since your drama taste is similar to mine. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜†

      Reply
  7. learjet1

    Really enjoyed this post. The OSTs are one of the biggest reasons that I love K-dramas (a new convert – have only been hooked for about eight months and this blog has been a huge resource and enjoyable part of my journey!)

    I have developed several k-drama Spotify playlists which help me through some repetitive tasks at work, and even use Soundcloud when I can’t find some of the older OSTs. One problem I often have is getting hold of instrumental only pieces (i.e., not songs with the voice removed – music that is only meant as instrumental). Has anyone got ideas about where to find these?

    Favourites of mine are CLOY; Healer (but not the Michael Learns to Rock song – I love the song by Ben and also the theme tune); Pinocchio (although the show was lukewarm otherwise – some great instrumental only music); Love in the Moonlight (K Will song is just lovely and so cheering); Tomorrow with You; One Spring Night; Are You Human Too?; and Suspicious Partner.

    Two recent shows with great OSTs are Record of Youth (felt conflicted by this show but the music and PBG were fabulous) and the still airing Start-Up. The song they released from Start-Up last week β€œRunning” has immediately entered my happy list (a song that can lift me from feeling miserable and stressed, to relaxed and happy in under 30 seconds). Also like a couple of the songs from Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol a lot

    On a negative note ( πŸ˜€ ), I think the DOTS music and particularly music editing was one of the (several) big weaknesses of this show. The soaring, invasive love songs from ep 1 (when they’d barely met!) at every remotely emotional moment were invasive – to the point that I actually turned the sound off regularly because it was so irritating. I though that Goblin suffered from this as well, although it wasn’t as bad.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi there learjet, welcome to the blog! πŸ˜€ I’m so glad you found my little corner of the interwebs, and that you’ve found it useful on your drama journey! ❀️

      In terms of the instrumental pieces on OSTs, I’ve found that it helps to look for the full OST albums, ie, the ones listed as by Various Artists. Those tend to also feature the instrumental tracks.

      Also – I totally agree with you that shows like DOTS, which use soaring love ballads when the couple’s barely met, do not get it right. It annoys me and takes me out of the moment, coz it makes me feel like Show is trying to hit me on the head, saying, “These two are fated. FATED, you hear?” πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ Gets my goat every time! πŸ˜‚

      Reply
  8. phl1rxd

    Well this is another great post Fangurl. The power of music! I have always loved playing the embedded OSTs in your reviews while I read them. I have always felt that this extra touch was so special.

    I only have 2 OST albums but a lot of singles that I listen to.

    Albums:
    Goblin (First Love and Amnesia being favorites) and The Longest Day in Chang’an (Spring Day at the Royal Palace and Lasting Yearnings being favorites).

    Favorite Singles:
    1. Hurt, Ali | Rooftop Prince – a sad, sad song of separation from your soul mate
    2. Snow Flower, Park Hyo Shin | I’m Sorry, I Love You – So Ji-Sub walking down the street…
    3. Yim Jae Bum, Stigma | Chuno – ‘as if my heart got burnt…’ and I tear up
    4. Destiny, Lee Sun Hee | The King And The Clown – I cry every single time I hear this
    5. When the Wind Blows, Hu Ge | NIF – favorite drama and its best song
    6. Diamond, Ha Hyun Woo | Itaewon Class – Ha Hyun Woo is my permanent bias and is a gift from God
    7. Auditory Hallucination, Jang Jae In/NaShow | KMHM – this is haunting like the drama
    8. Crying Out, D.O.(EXO) | CART – love this song and I have never seen this movie
    9. With You, Kevin Oh | Manhole – this song and Uee and Jung Hye-Sung were the only three highlights
    10. Time, Gaho | Time – when life is slipping away

    And because the kids and I can never stop smiling, whistling or dancing the Xiguan School Dance to this – Smile of Peach Blossom, Wang Rui | I will Never Let You Go. It is light and bubbly like the FL and addicting.

    I listen to this when I am driving. My Heart Beats Like That, Gaho | My Secret Terrius – on waking up to your life

    Thanks for this post Fangurl!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post, dear phl! ❀️ I know music is a big part of what you enjoy about dramas, so I’m extra pleased that you liked this post! πŸ˜€ Thanks for sharing all of your favorites – and it’s so cool that your kids enjoy the OSTs too!

      Reply
  9. Natalia

    Personally I find most songs in Kdramas that I’ve seen pretty bland, even tiring or annoying at times. That seems to change though in more recent dramas. For instance, I did like the songs in Itaweon Class.
    On the contrary, I am often amazed about the quality of instrumental music in dramas. It’s ok to not be ok and Secret Love Affair are indeed good examples, but my favourite so far would be The Tale of Nokdu. This is an OST I listen too again and again.
    https://youtu.be/Roh_3_IjPI8

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      That’s a great point, Natalia! The instrumentals in our dramas are often really good. I feel rather sorry that I didn’t feature more of them in this post. πŸ˜πŸ˜… My favorite instrumentals are from Secret Love Affair, so at least I got that one in! πŸ˜…

      Reply
  10. j3ffc

    Right now Delightful Girl… is one of my exercise bike shows right now (watching slowly, at half an hour intervals) and I can see what you mean. The soundtrack is very much an element of its era and brings a fun energy to the proceedings.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Yes, it does add its own energy to the drama world! I feel like our dramas would be such different creatures, if stripped of their OSTs (the horror!). πŸ˜†πŸ˜… Glad you’re enjoying Delightful Girl – I found it a very fun romp, back when I watched it! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  11. snow

    There are many shows where though I’m not a fan of full OST, I love one of the songs a lot and sometimes the full album is like a gem. Also, certain shows have an amazing background score which further adds to the enjoyment and feels.
    And yes, some songs instantly take us to that time that we spent with a drama! β™₯

    I love Goong’s Perhaps Love! Also, I like ‘Start Over’ from Itaewon Class OST more than ‘Diamond’.
    I absolutely love Be Melodramatic’s songs! So many songs are so good.

    Personally, I love Delightful Girl Choon Hyang’s OST as it was my first drama and its songs just take me back to that amazing time. Other favorites are My Name Is Kim Sam Soon, A Piece Of Your Mind, Because This Life Is Our First, Coffee Prince, You’re Beautiful, Dating Agency: Cyrano, Misaeng.
    I also love songs by Big Baby Driver. Plus, It’s Okay, It’s Love by Davichi is β™₯

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      That’s true, snow – sometimes, I don’t care for the full OST, but a single song might linger with me in a big way. I think 20th Century Boy and Girl is a good example of that, for me. The rest of the OST didn’t make much of an impression on me, but that song by MeloMance just gives me all the feels! πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

      Oh yes, I think we all have a soft spot for our gateway drama OSTs.. which is Goong for me. So my attachment to Perhaps Love is plausibly even higher than the average Goong lover! πŸ˜… I think it’s so great, though, that music is able to capture and then redeliver the feels to us, even so many years later. It’s like a time capsule for emotions, I think! πŸ˜€

      Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Thanks snow! ❀️ Sometimes, inspiration just strikes in the best way. Now I wish I’d thought of that WHILE I was writing the post, rather than after! πŸ˜†

          Reply
  12. CarpControl

    Thank you kfangurl for writing on this topic! I do think an OST is responsible for making or breaking the drama. Oft-times, an earwormy soundtrack but also an inappropriate one, can be so jarring and take you away from the experience. (case in point: some sageuks like Empress KI & Scarlet Heart Ryeo…why were there SO many piano tracked k-pop-y songs there? haha!)πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

    Out of my very limited drama watching….
    The CLOY ost would still send chills down my spine, and cause my waterworks to unleash. 😭
    The BTIMFL ost is an indie masterpiece, which really helped me view the drama from a different lens, and re-interpret it. The ost is on my playlist now! πŸ’―β€

    Itaewon Class, DoTS & Goblin feature nice songs, the kind you would immediately identify if they played in a karaoke, restaurant or supermarket….but I wouldn’t go back to necessarily listen to them. I think a part of their massive appeal was because of the big-name artists featured on the OSTs. Vibe-wise, I wouldn’t say the latter two did an excellent job.πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ
    Also, thank you for reminding me of my childhood nostalgia, that wouldn’t let me forget about the OSTs of Goong, Full House & such.😭

    I am also looking forward to adding a few dramas on my list, because of HOW much the songs you featured here, made me fall in love with the idea of the drama (and your final rating helped too!) [SLA, My Ahjussi, When the Devil calls your name & Be Melodramatic are a few that have made onto my excessively picky Watch-list]πŸ˜‰

    Your OST picks here have restored my faith in k-drama OSTs so much, that I feel should T-drama classics like MARS or Autumn’s Concerto (my ABSOLUTE favourite OST ever) get k-drama adaptations in the recent future (by popular fandom demand), the OSTs would be doing an amazing job of retaining the feels! ❀

    ~Yay!

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Aw! I’m so glad that this post has restored your faith in kdrama OSTs, CarpControl! πŸ˜€ That’s so cool! I’m stoked that you’ve even added shows to your watch list based on this post – I’m excited to hear how you like the shows, when you get to them! πŸ˜€ I very much enjoyed each of the shows you’ve put on your list, so I hope you’ll enjoy them too! ❀️

      Reply
  13. Faye

    I am shocked that the Coffee Prince OST was not on the list. It was such a great OST for me with many memorable songs including Belle Epoque´s May (the song played when Eun Chan and Han Kyul pick up the chestnuts) and the wonderfully titled ¨I know I´m why the romance failed¨ which is played when she surprise-kisses him. Also, there´s Ocean Travel sung by Lee Sung Kyun´s character. These and other songs really helped set and build on the the different moods and themes throughout the show

    Reply
    1. Cathy

      Totally agree, Faye. The Coffee Prince OST added so much to the feeling of youth, excitement, and angst of this drama. My favorite song was Raincoat a Passing Rain, but also loved Red Night by the Blue Knights when Choi Han-kyul buys Go Eun-chan clothes for their “dates”. And of course Last Arpeggios by Bluedawn and Across the Ocean by Azure Ray totally set the mood during the beach scene. I don’t usually enjoy indie music but I think Tearliner did a fantastic job with the OST.

      Reply
    2. kfangurl Post author

      Ahaha, I’m sorry to disappoint, Faye.. I’m one of those weirdos that didn’t come away entranced by Coffee Prince’s OST. Not a diss on the OST itself, to be clear.. perhaps I was just too entranced by Gong Yoo, such that I had no bandwidth to process anything else..? πŸ˜†πŸ˜…

      Reply
  14. Sunny Lady

    I agree so much with this post. The OST can make such a difference. That Winter Sonata song… Ugh, my heart! And I didn’t even enjoy the drama that much. Healer was the first time I didn’t find it weird to hear songs in English as main songs for a Korean drama. It just matched the mood. The OST historical dramas are usually good to me. You feel the adventure atmosphere. That SLA OST…. UGH! THE TENSION ! THE PASSION! * holds heart * I was right there in the moment.

    My favorite OST of all of time is from a drama I didn’t enjoy at all. A Love To Kill. It had all the right ingredients for ME, but the execution got me so annoyed. And the fact that I love the OST so much makes not enjoying the drama even more painful because I cannot associate the songs to memorable scenes. I wish the soundtrack was on Spotify. I still go listen to the OST on youtube once in a while. It’s been like what ? 15 years now ? “A Love To Kill” by Lee Soo Young still makes me FEEL EVERY TIME.

    My top 3 OSTs would be : A Love To Kill, IRIS, Secret Garden… And honestly for the other two, I believe I’m just under Baek Ji Young’s spell. The OST Empress in my heart. And Yoon Mirae is my OST queen.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      So great to see you around here, dear Sunny! ❀️❀️ YES, the OST can make such a huge difference! So glad you feel the same feels I do, with OSTs like Winter Sonata, Healer and SLA! πŸ˜€

      I watched A Love To Kill, but the OST didn’t leave a similar impression on me, somehow.. I’m listening to it now on YouTube, and I’m sorry to say it doesn’t even ring a bell. πŸ˜πŸ˜… I feel bad, since this song’s lingered with you for 15 years! 😬

      Ahaha, I get what you mean about being under Baek Ji Young’s spell. She does the big love ballad SO WELL. Sometimes I like just her songs, but not the show itself. πŸ˜†

      Reply
      1. Sunny Lady

        LOOOOOOOOOL it is okay ! I know this OST didn’t make a big impression. But this OST brought us K.Will. His song “Dream” was his first big hit and if I remember correctly. No one expected his song to be this big and it gave him his breakthrough.

        πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ That’s what’s great about OST. You feel it’s made specially for you as it creates some specific feels that not everybody feels.

        Reply
  15. ngobee

    Anyone for the “Crash Landing on You” OST? One big love song, really, which has stayed with me ever since watching.

    I found the melancholy of Goblin’s soundtrack very touching, too. Stranger has a moving title theme, reminiscent of late romantic music.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi ngobee!! πŸ˜€ I did enjoy CLOY’s OST while I was watching the show too! I guess it just didn’t stick with me the way it’s stuck with you.. I agree it’s like one big love song! πŸ˜€

      Reply
  16. Elena

    It’s a very good compilation! I share many of them as favorites. I would only add the OST from W Two Worlds which I think had great themes and it was very well suited for the drama.

    Reply
  17. Aifa

    Probably the most effective score in kdrama history imo (and one of the most memorable) has to be Money Flower. That throbbing, ominous main theme ramping up to crescendo as the latest shit hits the fan and the stark white title slammed down on a black screen like a guillotine cutting off the episode’s drama in another massive cliffhanger: ICONIC.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      I LOVED the Money Flower OST while I was watching the show! 🀩🀩 I just don’t find myself listening to it for fun.. which is why I opted not to include it in this list. Sorry! πŸ˜…

      Reply
  18. Ena

    Totally agree with the points of urs on what makes a good OST. For me, one of the best soundtracks is of “Its Okay That’s Love”. I can hear those songs any time, any day .
    I think one of the best soundtrack perfect for that particular drama is of ” Shut Up Flower Boy Band”. Love all the songs and totally goes with the whole vibe of the show. the songs totally makes the show even better.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Oh yes, the Shut Up OST really did work very well with the show’s general tone and vibe. I don’t listen to it anymore, but I remember loving it back when I watched the show, so I’m sure I’d enjoy the OST too, once I go back to it. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  19. Timescout

    Great topic! πŸ™‚ A good selection up there, many I’ve enjoyed/loved too. Most of my fave kdrama OSTs are from older dramas as those from the newer ones just don’t seem to register. Probably because most of the more recent kdramas haven’t left much of a lasting impression either. πŸ™

    Hopefully the links work, ha.
    Que Sera, Sera – μ›”κ΄‘ Moonlight by W&Whale

    The Legend was my gateway to kdramas and the whole OST is great. Listening to any of the songs always gives me the β€˜feels’. Playlist

    Kingdom of the Winds – Playlist

    Resurrection – Playlist

    Black & White – ι—œζ–Όζˆ‘ε€‘ / About Us by Picks Ah, Black & White it’s still one of my fave twdramas, warts and all. And it featured young Mark Chao in his first ever role. πŸ˜‰ The OST introduced me to two Taiwanese bands Color and Picks, bought the albums of both after the drama ended. I believe Picks still performs.

    Ancient Detective – See You Later by Liu Qin Such a beautiful and evocative song. It’s also the ending song of the drama. I wasn’t able to find the opening (which I love too) @ YT but here’s EP1. The opening sequences of Chinese historicals/costume dramas are often visually quite pleasing. πŸ˜€

    The Untamed and Ever Night S1 both have a wonderful OST and I loved all the instrumentals.

    Reply
    1. phl1rxd

      Hi Timescout – you are on the money with Ancient Detective OST. I loved it as well as the drama. I also sometimes find myself humming the opening music to EverNight – so beautiful.

      Reply
    2. kfangurl Post author

      Wow Timescout, I realize that all your favorite OSTs listed, are from shows that I haven’t seen! πŸ˜›πŸ˜… I do have Untamed on my list, so perhaps I’ll be able to appreciate the OST like you do, when I get to it! (I attempted E1 when I wasn’t in the mood, and couldn’t get into it. I need to be in a xianxia sort of mood, I think – and that’s been particularly elusive lately. 😜)

      Reply
      1. Timescout

        Well, most of ’em are older.
        Untamed isn’t actually xianxia but a wuxia with a fantasy element. A bit different beast. Wuxia is definitely more to my taste. I think you’ll have to push through the first few epis to really get going. I’d seen the donghua before, so the story was already familiar.

        Ancient Detective might actually be more to your taste. Give it a go. πŸ˜‰

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Oh, I do prefer wuxia too! Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll put Ancient Detective on my list. πŸ˜€ And also, thanks for the heads-up, that I’ll need to power through the first few eps of Untamed. I think that’ll have to wait.. the last time I tried Untamed, I couldn’t even make it through E1. πŸ˜›πŸ˜… I’m going to need the right mood and lots of early episode fortitude, to get to the reportedly good stuff. 😜

          Reply
          1. Timescout

            Ancient Detective was surprisingly very good. I really liked the “Agatha Christie in ancient China” feel it has. πŸ˜€ Plus, it’s such a feast for the eyes.

            Nah, it’s no use watching something if one is not in the mood for it. I’ve come across that a lot this year.

            Reply
            1. kfangurl Post author

              Feast for the eyes is definitely a plus point! I do like pretty things. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜† I’ve put it on my list, and hope to dip my toes in soonish!

              Thanks for affirming the mood thing, Timescout.. sometimes I feel like I ought to give a show a chance because so many people are urging me to do so, but there’s always the danger that I’ll end up hating it, just because my mood wasn’t right. It’s a delicate balance! πŸ˜…

              Reply
  20. BE

    I am only five episodes into it, but I do like the OST so far to Reply, 1988, which is used the way music is often used in American film and drama as a cultural marker for a particular time period.

    lyrics and music by Kim Chang Wan, who also performs as the second voice on this. I do not know the name of the first singer, the young bespectacled fella with such a lovely voice.

    Reply
    1. Timescout

      The first singer is Kim Feel (κΉ€ν•„), a singer-songwriter. He has several drama OSTs in his resumΓ©, latest being One Day from Start-Up. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  21. Trent

    This is an interesting post, since I don’t tend to pay a lot of attention to the OST in dramas, certainly not as much as many people seem to. (Also interesting, in that reading the post put Winter Sonata and Goong on my radar as future viewing possibilities (although somewhat surprisingly, Winter Sonata doesn’t seem to be easily available in the U.S.?))

    Anyway, this made me realize that there are certain songs that have been memorable and have been entwined with the storytelling more than I realized. I immediately recognized that clip you posted from It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, for instance.

    Where this is most obvious to me is a couple of pieces from Goblin: the opening theme song “Round and Round”, which by the time I was into the middle episodes triggered an almost Pavlovian response upon hearing it. It was a big shock when, a month or two after finishing the drama, my streaming algorithm unexpectedly threw it into my playlist rotation, and I was like “holy crap!”. Also, “Stay with Me” and “Beautiful” from the same OST. So yeah, I do acknowledge the good, or at least the memorable, ones can have a big impact.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi Trent,

      I did a bit of poking around for you, and it seems that Winter Sonata is available on Amazon Prime here. If you have a VPN service, Winter Sonata is available on Viu in the UAE (link here.) Viu has a free to view option, so if you have a VPN service, this might work well for you. 😊

      Reply
      1. merij1

        When I followed that VIU link there was a trailer for a recently broadcast show called Alice. I fear I may easily develop a crush on the female lead, Kim Hee-Seon.

        Has anyone seen it (Alice)? Youtube has the trailer also.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Hey MeriJ, I’ve heard mixed reactions to Alice.. some folks like it, but most have said that it gets too messy in the end. πŸ˜› I did love Kim Hee Seon in Angry Mom, where she’s a mom that goes undercover as a high school senior in order to investigate some issues. I thought she and the show were pretty fantastic, so perhaps you’d like to consider it?

          Reply
          1. merij1

            Yeah, time travel usually ends up disappointing. At least it does when they make a half-hearted effort to treat it “realistically.” Better to just use it as a fun twist or go for broke and take it very seriously, despite the unavoidable paradoxes.

            Angry Mom! I checked that one out before, based on your A grade. Just added it to our list. Thx.

            On the noona front, I’m realizing most women don’t hit their peak beauty in my eye until at least their mid-thirties. Looking up photos of Kim Hee Seon just now reinforced this.

            Reply
  22. Snow Flower

    Great topic, Kfangurl!

    I usually prefer the instrumental tracks in the kdramas, but after years of watching, I have learned to embrace the pop songs as well. Your list included some of my favorite OSTs: Secret Love Affair, Chuno, Warrior Baek Dong Soo, Gaksital, Heartless City. I am adding a couple more:

    Damo – the drama is like a Greek tragedy set in 17th century Joseon. The music is a weird mix of techno/hard rock and melancholy ballads with solo oboe, and yet it works.

    Jumong – a classic sageuk with a classic OST!

    Rebel: The Thief Who Stole the People – an excellent old-fashioned sageuk about Hong Gil Dong, the Korean Robin Hood. I especially liked the OSTs that featured traditional styles of singing. The instrumental tracks were also great. The songs are still stuck in my head, and that says a lot!

    Mr. Sunshine – so epic, so tragic, and so melancholy, and the music adds another layer of feels.

    Because This Is My First Life – a soothing balm for the introvert’s soul, with a perfectly matched music.

    My Country – loved the instrumental tracks, especially the edgy violin solo of Bang Won’s theme.

    Flower of Evil – loved this suspenseful melo-romance. The music did not disappoint either. I composed my own piano piece inspired by the show.

    Reply
    1. Trent

      Ah, yes, Flower of Evil. I was so very very into this just last month. The two leads were amazing, particularly Moon Chae-won. I just spun up “Feel You” on youtube, and now I’m having all the feels all over again….

      Reply
    2. kfangurl Post author

      Hi Snow Flower!! I had a feeling that this would be a topic that’s close to your heart, being a musician and everything! So glad you enjoyed the post! πŸ˜ƒ

      That’s a great point about the instrumental tracks.. they can play such a key part in lifting a watch experience, but are often relegated to the sidelines when it comes to OST compilations. I especially like when the instrumental tracks have different renditions, to fit different moods in the show. That feels like a thoughtful touch that I’m sure requires a lot of extra time and effort to produce. πŸ™‚

      That’s so cool, that Flower Of Evil inspired you to compose another piano piece! Perhaps one day we’ll get to hear your music scoring our beloved dramas, Snow Flower! 🀩

      Reply
  23. beez

    EDITED BELOW: I have a question about OSTs in Kdrama for anybody that might know – It’s funny that I’m asking this because I actually retired from a Patent and Trademarks (encompasses copyrights) law firm but – I’ve always assumed that the reason we see so many western songs playing in the background (not necessarily as part of the OST but maybe over the speaker in a restaurant) in older Kdramas and not in the newer Kdramas is because once the medium went global, there must’ve been copyright concerns which would account for seeing less of that.

    So my question is: for soundtracks like Healer which features Michael Learns to Rock – were the rights purchased to use that music?

    It also worried me that one day that will come back to bite us in the butt where a beloved show is barred from being shown in the west because of these types of issues.

    I’ve also seen older shows with Disney paraphernalia featured and always thought “Hoo boy! Good thing this isn’t something that’s in the popular eye here in the U.S.”

    EDITED TO CLARIFY: I’m looking for the Korean law’s point of view. I KNOW what would happen on the U.S. side of things.

    Reply
    1. merij1

      Interesting question.

      When Conan O’Brien was about to leave NBC after being replaced by Jay Leno for the Tonight Show, he made a point of playing the original recording of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction. “Because he knew how ridiculously expensive that would be for the network. A parting gift, as it were…

      Reply
    2. merij1

      @merij1 – speaking of Into the Ring – that’s the only show that I recall you being really enamored with. Care to list any show(s) that you’ve really fallen in love with?

      Sadly, I still haven’t finished Into The Ring. I pretty much only watch TV or videos with my wife and she was turned off by the fisheye camera technique. I still hope to finish it, though! What I liked was that it was unique. Our non-binary 27-year old child person prefers to get a specific known thing from each type of show they watch. Predictable Bollywood for this, predictable K-drama romance for that. What I loved about Into The Ring was that it was so fresh.

      As for others on my/our A list:

      Last night we finished Melo Is My Nature (AKA Be Melodramatic). That is definitely one of the best shows we’ve seen thus far. There is no epic quality to it, no sweeping romance nor anything super dramatic going on, so comparing it to other great shows would be apples vs. oranges. It aims more for quirky humor, countless insights into life, human nature and the ups and downs of relationships, plus the female equivalent of bromance and an insider’s view into how these K-dramas are made. It’s fresh and creative and trope-free. Besides coming to love the large ensemble of characters — and they are characters! — I learned a lot about the K-drama industry.

      We’ve recently discussed My Mister and you just watched it also, but that’s another A+ on our list. Sense a pattern yet? It’s not the type of show so much as the quality. My Mister is top notch.

      Secret Love Affair – same box as My Mister in terms of being a super high serious quality drama aimed at adults. However it stressed us out too much for me to recommend it to others without qualification.

      Romance Is A Bonus Book— our gateway drug to K-drama! Lovely characters/actors — visually, for sure, but also deep inside — and a script that doesn’t resort to evil bad guys to keep things interesting. It’s just a great feel-good show.

      One Spring Night – a far more heavy and realistic romance, but very well done. Again, no real bad guy, unlike you count the FL’s ex-boyfriend and her sister’s soon to be ex-husband, whose male pride refuses to let them exit gracefully after the women call it a day. Mostly it’s about two normal people torn between OTP love and society/family’s outdated notions of whom one can date/marry and how modern generations balance individual choice with filial piety.

      Crash Landing On You — the merely C+ quality action plot was given far too much time, so it’s hardly a perfect show. But the romance was sooo swoony and the secondary characters were outstanding. Now that I’ve seem Rooftop Prince, I realize that was probably the inspiration for the endearing dynamic between Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin and his band of endearing juniors.

      Healer — does it even need to be said out loud? The blend of action and romance is outstanding. And Ji Chang-wook is iconic as the ML.

      Coffee Prince — another show that doesn’t resort to cartoonish bad guys for its dramatic tension. The romance is not only swoony, it’s also a remarkable trojan horse for promoting the notion that loves transcends all, even our homophobia. Back in 2007, you’d expect the he-thinks-she’s-a-man angle to be used only for laughs. “Ha ha. He loves her but but thinks that means he’s gay.” Instead it’s played straight (so to speak). This is also one of the few dramas we’ve seen that was directed by a woman. Maybe the only one.

      Reply
      1. merij1

        Honorable Mentions:

        A Thousand Goodnights – very sweet Taiwanese show on Netflix
        Something in the Rain — the first half, that is. Before it self-destructed and became awful
        Another Miss Oh – not an A+ for us, but it was very good
        Chocolate – ditto, especially if you like shows about people supporting one another as they heal from deep trauma. Weak ending but super incredible pentultimate episode with a romantic epiphany for the ages.
        Kill Me, Heal Me – very good show, both amusing and interesting
        Her Private Life – we went for the β€œCoffee Prince waffle guy” and were not disappointed
        I Hear Your Voice – fun, especially the hilariously vain FL
        Fantastic – lots of fun and a ML that seems clownish, then becomes totally endearing
        Secret Garden — it does have flaws, but succeeded despite them. I don’t think it’s aged badly, as others have suggested
        Was It Love? – if not for a disappointing final episode, I’d rank this even higher. One woman, four male suitors. What’s not to like about that!

        Reply
        1. beez

          I’ve only seen four from your second list. I’ll have to dig into them a bit to see if any qualify to be added to my Monster. Thanks for the list of hopefuls.

          Reply
          1. merij1

            Trigger warning: Lee Jong-Suk is the ML in I Hear Your Voice. However it’s more about the FL, played to perfection by Lee Bo-young. His role is mostly to love her despite her ridiculous flaws and thereby help us do the same.

            You already saw Secret Garden, which he was in as well.

            Btw, it’s not coincidence that your list overlaps with mine. I get 95% of my “watch next” list from you guys!

            Reply
      2. beez

        @merij1 – you might see a weird half double post cause I was in the middle of replying and had some kind of glitch.

        Starting over – I’ve watched all except 4 on your list. I plan to watch Into the Ring and Be Meloholic very soon based on your comments on the blog over the last few months and this week.

        I just can’t with Romance is a Bonus Book although I hear most people rave about how good it is. I just can’t stand looking at Lee Jong-Suk. Apologies to those for whom he’s a heartthrob.

        One Spring Night just doesn’t hit my interest spot although I like Ha Ji min.

        But from the way it sounds, there’s nothing that I could really hit your tender spot with because the shows that you really love are the ones that I love too! I guess I could jab at My Mister but there’s really nothing to jab at. πŸ€”

        I can’t fight back! I have no ammunition!
        πŸ˜–

        Reply
  24. Carulhein

    Hi Kfangurl, thank you for another wonderful post. To be honest, aside from It’s ok to not be ok, I haven’t seen any of the shows you mentioned. I do love my OST’s though and will make a point of watching these shows.

    My favourite OST’s at the moment stems from Do you like Brahms. Every single song is just beautiful. Especially love Chen, K. Will and Heize and Punch’s songs, but really all of them are great. Please do watch this show. And yes, the OST’s just made it so much better. Och, especially end of ep 8, wonderful kiss backed up by beautiful song πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

    Reply
    1. Carulhein

      I only realised in my ignorance how they actually use and edit the songs in a scene. How when he leaned in to kiss her, the chorus and high point of the song just coincided and exploded into the kiss and made it so much better πŸ˜€πŸ˜€ I’m learning how they use the music to enhance our enjoyment of the shows πŸ˜€

      Reply
      1. kfangurl Post author

        So glad you enjoyed this post, Carulhein! πŸ˜ƒ And that’s a great observation – it’s so true that the songs are placed “just so” in order to amplify the scene’s feels to the maximum. A good music director can really help to lift the watch experience, not just in the songs selected, but also how those songs are placed and applied in the various scenes. 😊

        Also, yes, I am watching Do You Like Brahms?, and am enjoying it pretty well. The kiss at the end of E8 was very lovely, I agree. πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

        Reply
  25. Usi

    A good OST is important for me. It has to amplify my mood. Often the OST managed to suck me into the story. It made me give the story a second chance and I connected with it later. OSTs are the type of music I’m hearing mainly in RL. I prefer catchy pop tunes or classic instrumentals. I was crazy for Italian Opera and compositions like from Vivaldi, Chopin, Beethoven in my late teens (Well, I was different okay XD) and I still would choose them over what is popular these days. Put a crying violin into an OST and you probably will have me.

    Reply
    1. Snow Flower

      Hi Usi,

      Just stopping by to say hello to another classical music fan! Yes, a crying violin or a gentle piano does for me too!

      Reply
    2. kfangurl Post author

      Hi Usi, that’s so interesting, that you were super into Italian opera and classical music in your teens! That’s so cool. πŸ˜ƒ Who says opera and classical music isn’t cool, eh? πŸ˜‰ And even though I’ve never been as passionate about classical music as you’ve been, a crying violin gets me too! 🀩 Also, I think you make an excellent point; there’ve definitely been times when I’ve liked the OST more than the story itself, and I’d stayed on with my watch, because of the OST, thus giving the show a longer look than I otherwise would’ve. Such influence! πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  26. Layika

    kfangurl thanks for the post

    For me Wheesung – Alive Even In Death of Jumong, Hero – Family of the year of Its ok thats love and crushs’ let us go of CLOY

    Reply
  27. beez

    Besides Healer’s OST, that’s Bad Papa’s for me.

    Chuno’s theme song is the only rap music I’ve EVER liked (no idea what they’re saying). And even though rap is a modern song styling, I don’t feel as if it’s oddly matched to this particular historical setting. The rawness of the rapping vocals matches Daegil’s tortured soul. And, of course, there’s Haegeum (the camp fire song) that’s everything opposite of the theme song in its melancholy romantic haunting melody. https://youtu.be/5-pjVkrm1Yc

    Secret Garden’s soundtrack impressed me so much that I purchased two songs on iTunes – Here I Am and
    Reason (both by 4 Men). And 4 Men’s concert performances of the song (The Sit-Ups Song) while wearing the legendary sparkly, “hand-sewn in Italy”, track suit brings a smile to my face. https://youtu.be/BvTwML-gcsk

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Oh gosh, yes, Haegeum is beautiful!! I’m listening to it now, and it’s bringing back all the feels. πŸ₯°πŸ₯° It is sweetly haunting indeed. β€οΈπŸ’”β€οΈ

      I realize I do have a tendency to enjoy tracks by 4Men! And that’s so funny, that they performed in the sparkly track suits! πŸ˜†

      Reply
  28. aparnapragya

    Loved the list!!! I’m gonna watch the ones I have’nt watched. Some of my favorite osts are-
    Reply 1988- I loved both the osts and the old songs used in it. I searched all the 80s songs in it when I finished the drama.
    Goong- I love this show and the songs in it. I get why you love it so much. Even the background music was so good. There’s a YouTube video that has all it’s instrumental tracks. I still listen to it.Β 
    My love from another star and descendants of the sun- These were my first two kdramas so I’m biased and get nostalgic whenever I listen to them. Especially the song “this love” reminds me how great Seo Dae-young and Myeong Joo were together!Β !
    Full house- The show was not that great but I love all it’s songs.Β 
    Sky castle- The song that came at the end of every episode was so creepy.Β  It fits perfectly with the story. Although I can’t listen to it for fun

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi aparnapragya, thanks for enjoying the post! πŸ˜ƒ How fun, that you’re planning to watch the ones that you haven’t yet seen! I’d love to hear how you like them!

      As for Goong, yes, the instrumentals were SO good, they really created a very special atmosphere in our drama world. I came across this video of one of the instrumental tracks being performed, and I find it fascinating to see how a piece of music that I’ve enjoyed so much, comes together in terms of the various instruments!

      Ahaha, YES, that song from SKY Castle was perfect for the show, but I wouldn’t listen to it for fun either! πŸ˜†

      Reply
  29. miosmi

    The soundtrack of “Live up to your name” is one of my favorites. It has light and upbeat songs, but also beautiful, melancholic and sad songs. Hyolyns “Always” still gives me goosebumps whenever I listen to it and the lyrics fit so perfectly to the situation on screen. Same goes for “Not gonna wait” from Park Jae Jung. The lyrics are relevant to what’s happening in the scene. It also happens to be the only Kdrama that i have ever re-watched. There are just so many other ones waiting in my watchlist. Hehehe.
    I also like to listen to the songs from “Familiar Wife”. The first time “No longer mine” from Roy Kim was playing, i cried a river. On the other hand “Let me show you” from N.flying has a positive vibe.
    Now I have to check if you wrote a review for the two Kdramas. πŸ™‚ I always love to read your opinion on dramas and more often than not we seem to have the same taste. Sometimes before i start watching a drama, i quickly check, how you rated it. If the rating ist to bad or you dropped it, i would most likely not start watching. True for “Angels last mission” for example.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi miosmi, I didn’t manage to complete Live Up To Your Name coz I wasn’t in the mood and wandered off to something else, but I did enjoy Familiar Wife very much, and I do have a review for it, which you can find here. I’m listening to No Longer Mine now, and you’re right, it’s so plaintive; can’t blame you for crying a river! πŸ’”

      Reply
  30. Lehar

    Great post !! I am gonna listen to every soundtrack posted here ! specially “when devil calls your name” one

    I don’t have lot of korean osts in my playlist. Maybe my listening depends on the show and its feel .

    I still remember My girl ost “you never say goodbye” and i still love it .Same way for Girls day’s Cupid from “City hunter”.
    I love all of ” Because this is My first life” ost, just appropriate for the drama and fun .

    Nowadays all I am hearing is “To.jenny” ost . It is so quirky and fun. It’s only 2 episodes …you will love “Tiramisu cake” one

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Thanks for enjoying this post, Lehar! πŸ˜ƒ I hope you liked listening to the soundtracks I posted!

      I’ve had To. Jenny recommended to me a number of times.. looks like I should bump it up the list! Thanks! 😘

      Reply
  31. merij1

    We’re quite fond of the OSTs for Romance Is A Bonus Book (especially the Black Skirts’ song, Someday) and One Spring Night (especially the songs by Rachael Yamagata, such as No Direction.)

    On your list, the Kill Me Heal Me rap/pop duet really stands out. We just heard the shampoo song on episode 4 of Be Melodramatic an hour ago. Ha. That was fun.

    But can any of this ever approach the majesty of the OST from Something In The Rain? BOTH Tammy Wynette AND Carla Bruni singing Stand By Your Man? Not once or even once each, but many, many times? And the incomparable Bruce Willis covering Save The Last Dance For Me?

    I think not.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      🀣🀣🀣 Your deadpan irony is hysterical, MeriJ! I think I will still pass on the alleged majesty of the OST from SITR. πŸ˜†

      That’s so great, that you’ve already gotten to the shampoo song in Be Melodramatic! Perfect timing, since now you’re able to appreciate its relevance in this post! πŸ˜‰

      Reply
    2. beez

      @merij1 – I realize that sometimes Kdramas feature western music (especially the older ones) and so I’m not surprised that a kdrama used Tammy Wynette and Carla Bruni. But since I didn’t see Something in The Rain, then I’m assuming the Bruce Willis reference is a joke? Even without knowing the circumstance, it still produced a grin from me.πŸ˜„

      Reply
      1. merij1

        Beez, the SitR OST really does include Bruce Willis singing Save The Last Dance For Me. It’s not awful, just not great. I like that song, btw, especially Emmy Lou Harris’ version. It’s a standard.

        Reply
          1. merij1

            I actually enjoyed the video that introduced that band with him on harmonica. My memories of him back then were more tied to Moonlighting than the action movies that made him rich.

            Reply
            1. beez

              Moonlighting was fun… for a while. I remember his band doing songs like Aretha Franklin’s Respect Yourself, and I seem to remember him collaborating with The Pointer Sisters on something? But I kept thinking he should only play the harmonica and let someone else in the band handle the vocals.

              Reply
  32. BE

    PS the photo you chose to close this post of Kim Hee Ae…I thought she was more remarkable in the World of the Married, but she just owned me as Hyewon, such an intimate, womanly performance. How privileged for those who could love such a woman to see it so deftly and perfectly enacted. And the music, it felt her, the song you chose, and then looking at that shot of her sitting there.

    Reply
  33. BE

    The OST for Secret Love Affair is amazing. And the music is so integral to the story of Hyewon and Sun Jae, so many scenes, beginning with the first time they play together, which lays all the cards out of what will come. I have myself fallen in love once with a woman who played Irish folk music on her fiddle for me all one afternoon. I have never before or after been one of those love at first sight kinda guys, but the effect of music–so intoxicating, and so it hit a perfect note when Sun Jae recalling their duet exults in how moved by the erotic nature of the encounter. The classical music is one thing, so dramatically played and because of the acting and direction quite dazzling. But the background dramatic music is so well used to heighten the emotional intensity and tension of the illicit nature of their liason, scene by scene by scene; I especially recall the music at the dinner party for the magazine article, how it emphasized the agony of Hyewon in her fit of guilt over the pain she was causing her paramour–sensational. Even the seemingly out of place with the rest of the score use of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” in the bedroom scene, which reveals so much about Hyewon’s sense of personal loss, works so well to tell the story of Hyewon and Sun Jae.

    Reseeing My Mister, I was also struck by the use of the OST thematically, particularly on a minor level the exaggerated guitar band theme for the brothers, Jung Hee’s forlorn oldie, perfectly expressing her over the top, decades long longing for Gyum Deok, the wistful Ordinary Day, Li Ji An’s secondary theme, but most of all Sondia, and the lyrics to it so especially evocotive and expressive of Li Ji An, the pathos of her days, and cathartic for the viewers who are rooting her on.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Ah, BE, I love how eloquently you describe the music and its presence in Secret Love Affair! 🀩 I so agree that the background music perfectly heightens the emotional intensity of the scenes. The background music is what stayed with me after the show, rather than the classical performance pieces featured in our story. It just captured my heart, and listening to it brings back all of the heightened feelings I felt, while watching the show. ❀️

      And yes, Sondia’s rendition of Adult really is so evocative of Ji An and her life. So delicately haunting and beautiful. ❀️

      Reply
    2. Snow Flower

      @BE, listening to the OST of Secret Love Affair is like being given a key to a secret room full of magical objects, or having your own private beach that nobody knows about. Of course, these magical locations can only be shared with one’s true love.

      Reply
      1. BE

        Thank you. I would just like to restate here something I said a while back. I do not have access to any app allowing me to add likes to people’s comments, nor do I wish to for a myriad of reasons. But I like so many of you and so many comments here. So I apologize if you do not see my handle on the list of likes of your posts, and I do know everyone does appreciate being liked, myself included.

        Reply
      2. BE

        “a key to a secret room full of magical objects,” more than any K Drama I have seen, I felt this way about the entire drama, and the OST brought many of those objects to my heightened attention.

        Reply
  34. lalarocca

    I love the OST from It’s Ok, That’s Love. I hear it, I see the scene, feel the story feelings, and remember how I felt while watching the show. +++ Looking forward to listening (or re-listening) to your and other commenters choices.

    Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      I’m taking a listen to the OST from It’s Okay That’s Love, and it does bring back the feels! Thanks for reminding me of this one. πŸ˜„ I hope you enjoyed listening to my picks, lalarocca! ❀️

      Reply
  35. Tess.A.T.

    Hello. I’d like to mention the most recent one, Cdrama’s Love Is Sweet. Available now in YT and Spotify. I love all the songs there. There’s also this Kdrama with OSTs I find great, The Package. And yes, I’ve downloaded all OSTs of Healer.

    Reply
  36. j3ffc

    I’m a huge music fan, so this was a particularly welcome post. Now I have a lot of shows to watch that I wasn’t planning on just for the OSTs.

    Totally agree with your selection of Be Melodramatic in this category. I found the music very atmospheric and enjoyable on its own, and also thought fit thematically very well with the show. It’s one of the few OSTs that I listen to all of the time (another one is My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, but that in case it’s largely driven by the one awesome song, Fox Rain).

    But another reason I likes the BM OST so much was that music was such an integral part of the show and was in a few great cases performed in the show itself. Which brings me to a question: where are the great K-drama musicals? I love dancing/singing scenes tremendously and am surprised that they seem to be relatively rare in dramaland…or am I missing some? Even Buffy the Vampire Slayer had its musical episode (great, btw)!

    Thx again for the post.

    Reply
    1. Asperugo

      As a big fan of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I would love to see a kdrama musical as well, but maybe world is not ready for that yet. Even in the US musical TV-shows have not been particularly successful and most of them have been cancelled after a season or two. I feel like kdrama viewers might be even more conservative in their viewing habits, especially international fans. People expect certain things from a kdrama and changing the formula too much is a big risk. South Korea definitely has the talent to do it, but who is willing to finance?

      Reply
      1. beez

        @Asperugo – I think U.S. audiences are going through a “too jaded” phase to appreciate musicals right now. The grittier the better. Musicals aren’t even being made as movies very often now. And when they are, even if they were huge successes on Broadway, the movies don’t seem to go over well. (I’m still looking forward to watching Cats despite the bad reviews.)

        I think Kdrama audiences might still enjoy the whimsy of musicals because the naivetΓ© is in part why we watch.

        Reply
      2. j3ffc

        Crazy Ex-Girlfriend had a secret weapon: the ultra-talented Adam Schlesinger (former writer/band member of Fountains of Wayne), who we sadly lost to COVID earlier this year. I understand beez’s and kfangurl’s comments about full-on musicals not being likely in the cards, but will continue to hope for more incorporation of the occasional performances in to dramas (color me optimist).

        Reply
        1. Asperugo

          Yes, Schesinger definitely was a key player and without him the show probably would have not made it into the air. Crazy Ex was a passion project for everyone involved, including the network president. There must be people in Korean entertainment industry who are passionate like that and make it work somehow, someday.

          Reply
    2. kfangurl Post author

      So glad you enjoyed this post, Jeff! πŸ˜ƒ I’m so happy to hear that you’ve put some of these shows on your list!

      In terms of kdramas with performances built into them, more recent shows like Hospital Playlist and When The Devil Calls Your Name come to mind. You might also find slightly older shows like What’s Up? worth a look; there were some real singing performances woven into the show. I also really like Dream High and Shut Up Flower Boy Band, which are of a similar vintage, and also feature lots of music. You’re Beautiful has a number of performances in it as well, since its main story revolves around a rock band, and the actors themselves are mostly musicians.

      When it comes to actual musicals, though, Korea doesn’t tend to broadcast those. For example, I know that Goong’s popularity and great soundtrack sparked an actual musical, but that’s not something that is available to watch in full online. However, I did find this video that gives a glimpse of what that musical looks like. I hope you find it interesting! 😊

      Reply
    1. kfangurl Post author

      Hi Ally!! Thanks for sharing your piece on DB! Your passion for music really shows – and what a treat, to see you playing the piano even! πŸ˜ƒ That’s super impressive, by the way, how you mastered the piece in 2 weekends, after not picking up a new piece of piano music for so long! 😱 Who knows how far you would’ve gone, if you’d chosen to be a performance major like you’d considered! (Also, your story about playing duets in medical school gave me Hospital Playlist vibes! πŸ˜„)

      I completely agree with you, that music is universal, and speaks to people in a way that bypasses the mind, and reaches far deeper, to our hearts. πŸ₯°

      Reply
    2. Snow Flower

      @Ally,

      Your story is very relatable. I am a musician, and sometimes feel like I take music for granted. It was the magic of kdramas and their music that made me go back to composing when I was stuck in a lockdown earlier this year. I composed one piano piece a week while It’s Okay To Not Be Okay was airing, and ended up with a total of 8 pieces, my musical tribute to this great drama.

      Reply
    3. phl1rxd

      Ally – that was just beautiful and a well written article. Brava! I am a big Goblin fan and Amnesia and First Love are my favorites. They move me deeply.

      Reply
      1. merij1

        I just realized Another Miss Oh was written by the same woman who wrote My Mister, Park Hae-Young. Nothing to do with OSTs, but it surprised me.

        Reply
        1. kfangurl Post author

          Oh! I hadn’t realized that! Both shows are very thoughtfully written, so it doesn’t come as a shock. Just, a very pleasant nugget of information. Thanks for sharing, MeriJ! πŸ˜ƒ

          Reply
        1. j3ffc

          That’s what makes the drama-world go ’round! It made my list because I was enamored with Seo Hyun-jin in “Let’s Eat 2” and the generally positive reception. Then doubled down after seeing Ye Ji-won was in it (thought she was hilarious in “Dinner Mate” and “Thirty But Seventeen”).

          I’ll be sure to catch up with you after I’ve seen it (it’ll be a while). And, hey, I still owe you for the rec for “Tree With Deep Roots” (2/3 way through and totally loving it).

          Reply
          1. beez

            @j3ffc – So glad you like it! Did you watch it’s “sequel” Tree With Deep Roots first? Tree was actually made and aired first.

            Also, I hope you can join us on the Chuno (aka The Slavehunters) rewatch that we’ve been talking about and Kfangurl has graciously agreed to give us space to discuss every Wednesday starting in about two weeks. (Kfangurl will be announcing it next week but I hope we get as many people as possible, especially anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.)

            Reply
            1. MC

              Wow a Chuno watch? After how I’ve been recommended it a million times? I would love to join! Just that my schedule nowdays is a little… unpredictable haha with a baby. I’ll try to join as much as is possible but may fall off the wagon!!

              Reply
              1. kfangurl Post author

                Aw yay that you’ll be joining the fun, MC!! πŸ˜ƒ Announcement post will be out on Wednesday, and the first Open Thread will be up next Wed, for E1 & 2! Hopefully 2 eps a week will be manageable for ya! ❀️

                Reply
                1. merij1

                  If it’s only two each week, I could do that. My gal is not a likely Chuno fan, so I’d need to do it solo.

                  Reply
                  1. beez

                    @merij1 – I don’t know… Jang Hyuk has a strange affect on women. And if he’s not her type (although I have yet to meet a woman impervious…) then there’s always Oh Ji ho as second lead.
                    You can show her this clip to see if she’ll be interested https://youtu.be/OJAdsctssZI
                    It could be considered slightly SPOILERY except the scenes are not in chronological order so I don’t think it will really spoil anything.

                    Reply
            2. merij1

              Based on the YouTube clip you provided, it looks terribly depressing.

              Is it one of those arty stories where everyone dies? Or wishes they had died instead?

              Reply
              1. merij1

                As for my wife, what I guess I’ve never explained is that she’s drawn more to the women in these shows.

                Not romantically, but in terms of what matters most. Especially the strong women.

                By contrast, one of her pet peeves is when an older, less good-looking man is paired with a beautiful younger actress.

                She’s totally there for the guys too, but two swoony-handsome guys will not compensate for a weak FL.

                Reply
                1. beez

                  @merij1 – Uh oh. The time period lends itself more toward men and their endeavors since usually, women were regulated to carrying water, cooking and, if wealthy, embroidery. _(ツ)_/Β―Β 

                  A woman drives the story but not in a way where she’s a strong character, imo

                  Reply
              2. Snow Flower

                Chuno is pretty intense and dramatic, but never hopeless. The FL can be underwhelming at times, but there are two other female characters who have a lot of spunk.

                Reply
              3. merij1

                Jeez, Beez. I can’t believe you didn’t take the bait. I ignorantly dissed your fave show just to provoke a reaction, and in return I get
                . . . nothing. Nada. Rien. So sad.

                Next I was going to say that THIS is the show that looks like a melo. An action sageuk melo, but a melo nonetheless.

                Utterly wasted provocation. What is this world coming to?

                Reply
                1. beez

                  @merij1 – I responded late. I didn’t log on yesterday is the only reason there was no response. And instead I responded by seriously trying to provide you with a better link so both you and your wife would be interested. I smack of desperation to want you to join the watch party and hope you like the show (because it is a tad dated now). But you know that once anything is remarkable, everything that follows improves upon it.

                  But had I known you were trying to goad and poke the bear… I would’ve thrown a torch at Into The Ring! (Which wouldn’t have been much of a zinger because I plan on watching it based on your comments) ☺

                  Reply
                2. beez

                  @merij1 – speaking of Into the Ring – that’s the only show that I recall you being really enamored with. Care to list any show(s) that you’ve really fallen in love with?

                  Reply
                  1. merij1

                    I’m replying in detail via your opening comment higher up so we don’t run out of reply slots as quickly and so it isn’t as hard to read.

                    Reply
              4. beez

                @merij1 – that particular clip I posted of Chuno is just one aspect of the show. I selected that one because it deals with the romance of two characters and I thought that might appeal more to your wife but, while that’s the driving force behind the main character – Jang Hyuk – the show deals more with the comraderie of the three main slave hunters. There’s also the viewpoint of the slaves in the background. That’s partly why I want to discuss this show with others – why are we so sympathetic to Jang Hyuk’s character as a slavehunter? (Nobody answer that for me now! I’ll meet you in the show’s rewatch in a couple of weeks. πŸ˜‰)
                Here’s a link to the clip that Kfangurl posted in her OST post https://youtu.be/nvgHxON2_aU If the clip I posted focused on the romance, her clip is focused on the action. Is there death? Most certainly. It is set in the time of swords & sandals (straw shoes) after all. But actually there are surprisingly few deaths except those necessary for the story considering the time period.

                Reply
            3. j3ffc

              Watching “Tree With Deep Roots” now…my first Saeguk! Holding off on “Six Flying Dragons for a while but definitely on my list. SO appreciate the recs.

              Would love to watch Chuno but not sure I can squeeze it in at the rate you all can. I can do 2.5 shows at a time and right now my time is spent on Tree and “My Unfamiliar Family”, which I just started. Maybe I could try if on my half a drama (exercise bicycle time)….where can we get it in the States? It would be so much fun just to watch something community-style.

              Reply
              1. Snow Flower

                Chuno (The Slave Hunters) just became available on Viki and Kocowa in the US. It used to be on Amazon Prime too, but I don’t know if it is still there.

                Tree with Deep Roots is a masterpiece. It motivated me to learn Hangul. I have watched it twice. One of these days I need to rewatch 6FD too…

                Reply
                1. merij1

                  Amazon no longer offers Chuno/The Slave Hunters. Just a few months ago you could pay to see it there. I guess all this is carefully coordinated by the lawyers.

                  But as you say, I see it now at Viki for the first time.

                  I’ll try to watch episodes 1-2 today. Where are we discussing it?

                  Reply
                  1. kfangurl Post author

                    Hey MeriJ, announcement post will be out in approximately 12 hours, and Open Thread for E1 & 2 will be out next Wednesday! πŸ™‚ Besides Viki, Chuno is also available on Kocowa. That one doesn’t require a paid subscription to watch Chuno, unlike Viki, where it’s not available except to Viki Pass holders.

                    Reply
                    1. merij1

                      Tomorrow or a week from this Wednesday?

                      I have VikiPass so I usually don’t notice which level qualified me.

                      But I did notice that each episode of “Melo Is My Nature” doesn’t start with the gurgling Viki bubbles. Instead, it’s a Kocowa theme.

                      We’ll be watching the last two episodes tonight, btw!

                    2. kfangurl Post author

                      Tomorrow’s post is to announce we are doing this and invite everyone to join in. Next week’s post is when the discussion starts. πŸ™‚

                      Enjoy your last 2 eps of Melo is my Nature tonight! πŸ˜€

                    3. j3ffc

                      Enjoy the finale of Melo. Look forward to hearing your detailed thoughts elsewhere.

                      Your note brings up one thing about Viki that makes me sad. I really enjoy watching opening credits to shows and, more often than not, they are missing from shows on Viki.

              2. beez

                @j3ffc – I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to rush you. For some reason I mistakenly thought you said you were watching Six Flying Dragons but I went back and you’d actually said you’re watching Tree (which, imo, is the best order to watch them in). Tree isn’t that long for a saeguk so maybe you’ll be ready to join us next week for Chuno. Chuno!

                As to where to watch Chuno – here’s a link to my comment elsewhere about streaming subscriptions and how I balance the cost of Viki and Kocowa (where Chuno is available) https://thefangirlverdict.com/2020/10/25/review-the-king-eternal-monarch/comment-page-1/#comment-89935

                Reply

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