Sitting at home in Corona lockdown, I am listening to a lot more music and watching way more drama than is probably healthy for me. I have just finished watching Koi wa tsuzuku yo doko made mo and, although the story was so cliché and stupid it was painful at times, I totally fell in love with the title song "I love" by Official髭男dism.
Actually, some of my favourite bands and songs from Asian countries were discovered by watching movies or dramas. It is not unusual there a connection between the two – often a music video will include scenes from the drama. Great songs can make great movies and artists can become famous if they are featured in a popular movie.
I felt like sharing some of the drama/movie OSTs that have stayed with me long after I have forgotten what the story was about or that throw me right back into the feels. (I decided to give one example of each dividing them by colour)
Movie: Continent 后会无期
(I know this is tagged under country Taiwan on MDL, but it was filmed and produced in China, so I'll put it here.)
MDL Summary: The story revolves around a group of young adults who decided to restart their lives and embark on a road trip. This experience changed their lives.
Artist: 朴树Pu Shu
It's a road trip song. The lyrics and the whole feel fit the movie very well. This was actually one song I heard somewhere, even before watching the movie, and then it got stuck with me afterwards, although now I barely remember what happened in the movie.
Movie: I belonged to you | 从你的全世界路过
MDL Summary: It is a touching romantic tale revolving around two radio disc jockeys and the world they inhabit. They find the audience they reach reflects their own love and heartbreak and forces them to deal with issues larger than just their own lives.
Artist: Faye Wong 王菲
Song: 你在終點等我 Ni Zai Zhongdian Deng Wo
The style of music fits the cinematography of the movie so well, all songs from that movie suck me right back into the story. But I think this song resonated with me most because I loved Faye Wong even before watching this. Ah, Chinese just love them dramatic love stories, my brain is literally playing some movie scenes in my head when I listen to it.
Another great song from that film: 全世界誰傾聽你 by Artist: 林宥嘉 Yoga Lin
Movie: Cape No. 7 海角乐团 - 海角七号
MDL Summary: In the 1940s, near the end of the Japanese era of Taiwan, an unnamed teacher dispatched to the southernmost town of Hengchun falls in love with a local girl with the Japanese name Tomoko. After the Surrender of Japan, the teacher is forced to return home. On his trip back, he pens seven love letters to express his regret for leaving Tomoko.
Artist: 范逸臣 Van Fan
Song: 無樂不作 Wu Le Bu Zuo
There's a story to this one. I went on a summer trip organized by my uni back in 2009 to spend one month in Taiwan to take more intensive Chinese classes and see a bit of the country. During a trip, our tour guide sang this song on the bus with all his might and recommended the movie. I was laughing so much but also amazed (needless to say I got hooked on Karaoke after my time there). Some years later, I tried to find this song and watch the movie. When I finally did, I loved both, and up to now, this is one of my favourite songs.
Drama: Hana Kimi
MDL Summary: After watching a high jump competition on TV, Lu Rui Xi was so inspired by a jumper named Zuo Yi Quan that she decides to transfer to his school, which happened to be an all-boys school; therefore, she disguises herself as a boy to get accepted. At the school, Rui Xi befriends Jin Xiu Yi. One day during a friendly soccer match, Rui Xi is knocked unconscious by Xiu Yi. Quan carries her to the infirmary and realizes that Rui Xi is, in fact, a girl! However, Quan keeps her identity a secret. At the same time, Xiu Yi starts to question his own sexual orientation when he finds himself having feelings towards Rui Xi.
Song: 怎麼辦 Zenme ban
Whenever I hear that song, I just can't help but feel happy. It's definitely a childish song, but that's what it is about: cute and innocent love. Anyone who knows the Japanese drama and thought it was a bit stupid, will think the Taiwanese version is tons more silly and cringy, but at least Ella was a more believable tomboy. I still love both adaptions, and although that is not the main story, I just like how the song portrays the fuzzy feeling of a girl who has a crush on that handsome guy at her school.
Drama: Proposal Daisakusen
MDL Summary: Iwase Ken and Yoshida Rei have been friends since elementary school. Ken, is obstinate and unskilled in love, but he fell long ago for the lively and cheerful, Rei. But Rei is about to get married to another man. While Ken and other friends from high-school attend the wedding ceremony, a fairy appears and sends Ken back in time, giving him a second chance to win the girl he loves.
Artist: MONGOL 800
Song: 小さな恋のうた Chiisana Koi no Uta
I used to watch a lot of Yamapi drama, and although I still think he sucks as an actor, I strangely enjoyed most of the drama he's been in. This one didn't leave much of an impression, but I have to be grateful for watching it because that way I discovered Monpachi or MONGOL 800 a rock band from Okinawa. One of their songs was also used in the drama Osozaki no Himawari starring Ikuta Toma, which I can recommend if you like slice -of-life/ finding yourself kind of stories.
Drama: Hana Yori Dango
MDL Summary: Makino Tsukushi is the only poor student at Eitoku Gakuen, a school for the ridiculously rich and privileged. Eitoku Gakuen is ruled by the Flower 4, or otherwise known as the F4, a group of four boys who come from extremely powerful families: Domyoji Tsukasa, the leader and heir of the Domyoji World Finance Group; Hanazawa Rui, the introverted son of a large company; Nishikado Sojiro, a player who is the heir of a tea ceremony school; and Mimasaka Akira, a madam killer with ties to the underground. If a student gets on the F4's bad side, he/she gets a red notice and is bullied and driven out of school.
Artist: Otsuka Ai
Ah…the feels. Anyone who has watched the drama will think of all the dramatic moments of Tsukushi and Domyouji while listening to this song (partly because they overplayed it. xD). This drama will forever hold a special place in my heart because it dragged me into drama land – and it was the first one I watched with the rich mean male vs. poor compassionate female storyline. What should I say? Old but gold. Fun fact: Actually if you listen to other older Otsuka Ai songs they are mostly upbeat and watching the music videos she is quite naughty.
Country: South Korea
MDL Summary: 7 years after graduating high school, Jung Min still works part-time at a convenience store but dreams of becoming a famous musician, even though he has crippling stage fright. Na Ra, Jung Min's former classmate, shot to nationwide fame for a brief period due to her beauty and charisma during high school. But after debuting in a girl group that failed to gain traction, her agency contract about to expire and her chairman informs her that she has to change strategy in order to remain at the agency. Jung Min and Na Ra meet coincidentally at the convenience store where Jung Min works, and it is this meeting that shall cause the gears of their life to begin to turn once more.
Artist: We are the night
Song: Tiramisu Cake
I honestly thought the songs in that short drama were made just for the drama (I know how stupid of me, but one song is about eating Samgyeopsal so…), but when I couldn't get the song out of my head I looked it up and found ~We are the night~. Their electronic pop music with a soothing voice is the perfect soundtrack for riding the train home from work. The drama was not bad, and anyways basically the length of a movie if you want to check it out.
Drama: Kill me, Heal me
Country: South Korea
MDL Summary: After a traumatic experience in his childhood, Cha Do Hyeon, a third-generation billionaire, suffers memory lapses and his personality then scattered into seven different identities. Wanting to regain control over his life, he asks Oh Ri Jin, a first-year psychiatric resident, to try to help him secretly, but she eventually falls in love with one of his personalities. Meanwhile, Ri Jin's twin brother, Oh Ri On, is a famous mystery novelist who investigates Do Hyeon and his family.
Artist: Jang Jae In feat. NaShow
Song: Auditory Hallucination
I've got to be honest, though that drama was a mess, in the end, I still enjoyed it. But that's mainly because it was carried by the character of Cha Do Hyun and his multiple personalities and this song is just … him. I don't know how to explain it with words, even before I looked up the lyrics, I felt this song suits him and his struggle so much. That is why I still like listening to the song even though rap is not my style at all.
I am more likely to get the feels from ballads and melodramatic songs because you know "the feels", but usually, I prefer to listen to Pop, Indie and Rock. While many songs just stay the "song I liked from that one drama", sometimes I do venture on and try to find more music from the artist. And the next step is finding the lyrics and learning the songs, but that's a different story. ;)