Without good music, life would be incomplete. You can say the same thing about an OST with a drama. Without an impactful soundtrack, a drama can’t be a perfect 10/10. Because whilst you may not remember the show scene-for-scene, you should be able to remember a heart-fluttering song or two from it.
This is a continuation of the first article. If you would like to check that out first, click here.
OSTs, to some, may mean absolutely nothing, and you may not even notice they exist at all. However, if you are like me, you also feel an OST has the ability to make or break a drama! It’s important that not only the OST makes you feel something, whether that’s sadness, happiness, or whatever emotion it’s trying to make you feel, but it’s also important that the OST (that we’re going to talk about in more detail here) fits with the drama, and makes you enjoy the drama even more thanks to the music involved.
In this article, we’re going to go on another OST journey, this time involving the relationships of an OST to its paired drama and whether the relationship is a match made in musical heaven or if it’s a complete mismatch of drama-to-OST.
Disclaimer: Just in case I upset anyone’s opinions when we do get to the ‘OST-drama mismatch example’, please remember it’s a matter of opinion, and I’m not trying to cause anyone any anger. If anything, I welcome you to voice your opinions on any examples or even just this article!
An OST that goes perfectly with its drama AND for listening on its own:
Ah, yes, Live! One of the top dramas that made my heart beat so fast while watching. A brilliant story, brilliantly acted piece of art. Live is a drama centred around the police force, solving and handling various different types of crime - from a police rookie viewpoint all the way to the veterans of the police force near retirement. I don’t want to spoil the story too much just in case you haven’t watched this masterpiece yet, but if you haven’t, I definitely recommend giving Live a watch. Not only for the reasons mentioned above but also due to its world-class OST.
Somehow, every single song in this OST is a masterpiece; there isn’t one song that sticks out like a sore thumb! Whether it’s a feel-good song such as Tin Sparrow - “For You”, that makes you want to scream every catchy lyric until you lose your voice, or whether it’s a heart-wrenching song that will make you cry more than a rainstorm in the form of EXO-CBX - “Someone Like You”, or an instantly addictive yet thoughtful song such as Family of the Year - “Carry Me”, I guarantee you that Live’s OST is one of the strongest, if not THE strongest OST in all of K-drama history! Haha, now you’re definitely taking notice! Go and take a listen after you read this article - no matter the location, time, weather, this OST is perfect in all. ^^
But what’s incredible is that not only do these songs sound so great by themselves, but they fit perfectly with the drama and the emotion or message they are trying to send to the viewers. It’s not just a happy coincidence of a good song selection in a drama (that I do see with some other dramas in which sometimes I believe they pick their music at random).
What do you think? Do you think this OST is one of the strongest ever, too?
A great OST that didn’t fit its drama too well:
“My love is gone; my love is solo.” You probably wouldn’t think these were the main lyrics for the most played OST song in a vicious sci-fi drama like Rugal, right? Unfortunately, they are. But, there’s actually nothing wrong at all with any of the songs in Rugal’s OST - in fact, every song (albeit there is only a small number) is great, greater than great, in fact!
Rugal’s OST was incredible, yet it would have been even more incredible and talked about way more if it was given to a drama in which the story matched the music more suitably. It’s a shame because I believe that if this OST was matched with a drama that was more relevant, for example, a slice-of-life or a mystery-romance, it would be appreciated way more than it is now. The catchiest song from this OST is the one that contains the lyrics “My love is gone, my love is solo.” (In the form of Min Kyung Hoon - “Lost Life”).
Instead, I believe this amazing heap of potential was pushed into the shadows. It also probably didn’t help that Rugal as a drama wasn’t well-received, at least when analysing the reviews and scores on our beloved MDL.
Do you think that Rugal as a drama not performing well has anything to do with its OST also not being talked about? Let me know in the comments below!
A Surprisingly Perfect OST:
Before watching Doctor John - I didn’t know what to expect. By the final episode, I remember smiling, thankful for what I had experienced. Not only was I gracefully surprised with an amazing story accompanied by great acting and beautiful cinematography, but I was also treated with a phenomenal OST that I knew I would be listening to for the rest of my life.
You know those songs where, even when you have never heard them before in your life, in the first three to five seconds of listening to them, you just feel this sudden rush of nostalgia and goosebumps? Well, while watching Doctor John, with the inclusion of Samuel Seo - “Pain or Death”, that is exactly what happens.
But this isn’t the only great song, again, just like Live, every single song in this OST is world-class, and it doesn’t change if you’re listening to the OST by itself or while watching the masterpiece that is Doctor John. If you need something to give you motivation, add Safira K - “Way Back” to your playlist! If you’re in your feels, why not add SALINPAPER - “Look At”, or, perhaps you just want to admire amazing vocals? Listen to Minseo - “Star”. All of these songs in Doctor John were a perfect choice.
What are your thoughts on Doctor John’s OST? Do you feel it holds its quality when you listen to the OST by itself? Or does it only hold its quality when it’s integrated with the drama? Let me know; I would love to hear your opinion!
An OST that deserved even more involvement in its drama:
Doctor Prisoner: a gritty, scheming, revengeful drama that has some of the best story and character work I have ever seen, alongside an all-star cast full of amazingly talented and underrated actors and actresses - with a hopeful second season someday sooner rather than later.
Now, can you guess what sort of music was present in Doctor Prisoner? Well, you would be right if you were thinking along the lines of suspenseful, mysterious. Which is exactly the type of OST needed in a drama like Doctor Prisoner; you don’t need anything too “flashy” or “lyrical” - after all, Doctor Prisoner needs the suspense to hype up the perfect story further. But, while this is all being said, I believe the OST should have had more presence in this drama.
The OST wasn’t severely underplayed, and an overplayed OST also does have its drawbacks, but when you have such great music at your disposal, you sometimes just need to flaunt what you have, right? Maybe this is just me by myself, but I can still picture scenes where I think the OST could have elevated Doctor Prisoner even further. No matter what, however, oh boy, it’s one amazing spectacle.
As you all know, there are many other dramas that I could have included in this article, and that’s why I decided to make part two from the original article. If you would like a part three, please let me know, and maybe include some topics that I could discuss in this potential part three! I really hope you enjoyed reading this article, and if you didn’t, I apologise!
If it has been two articles and I still haven’t mentioned your favourite OST, let me know what your favourite OSTs are (that I haven’t mentioned in this article or the previous one). ^^