The Best OSTs In The World: Our Favourite Kdrama Songs
The Best Kdrama OSTs, ever!
Original soundtracks, or OSTs are as essential to a Kdrama as the air we breathe. They not only establish the mood of a scene but also multiply our emotions. They make us more attached to the story, the characters, and the whole drama. Unlike Western TV shows, Korean series operate with a lot of songs that have lyrics, not just instrumental tracks.
We also need to mention that Koreans have a tendecy to select just the right people to sing these songs. There are OST kings and queens like XIA Junsu, Lyn, Ailee, Baek Ji-young or Lee Seung-cheol, among others. There are also unique songs or arrangements, as well as “typical” pieces that you can immediately identify as an OST.
Let’s see some of the best Kdrama OSTs ever made!
Kim Hyeon-jung: Because I’m Stupid
Boys Over Flowers is a series that started the second wave of the Hallyu in 2009, thus it is considered iconic. Most would probably choose Paradise over this song, because it is more well-known. However, Because I’m Stupid is a song that fits the drama perfectly, and also very good musically. Especially this acoustic version, which is sang by Kim Hyeon-jung. It starts out gently and softly, to become stronger and more profound, while the sound of the guitar plays the strings of our hearts …
Jang Jae-in ft. NaShow: Auditory Hallucination
We got an outstanding OST for an outstanding series, Kill Me, Heal Me. Jang Jae-in‘s vocal gives us goosebumps (in a good way). In the meantime, NaShow‘s fierce rap portrays the main character’s inner struggles with his seven different personalities really well. The title of the song is perfect, too: the song is really like an auditory hallucination.
Heize ft. Han Suji: Round and Round
The OST of the wildly popular tvN series, Goblin is originally a 50-second theme song. The magical, almost dream-like mood of the song captivated viewers so much that producers decided to extend it to normal length. The theme song was originally sung by Han Suji, while the extended version was recorded by Heize. This created a scandal, as many fans of the drama were outraged at the producers not using Han’s voice to finish the song. Nevertheless, Round and Round matches the series perfectly, creating a fantasy atmosphere.
Kim Yuna: Voice
The hauntingly beautiful, gauzy voice of Jaurim‘s vocalist, Kim Yuna, is perfect for this crime story, full of harrowing, shocking scenes. Before Voice, Kim channeled her talent for another, similarly powerful series, Signal.
MC Sniper: Mask Dance
Koreans are really good at fusing different genres together in a way that will just amaze you. This is also what happens with MC Sniper‘s Mask Dance, recorded for the fusion sageuk drama, Arang and the Magistrate. This groovy hip-hop song perfectly matches Lee Joon Gi‘s fighting scenes. Who would have guessed that hip-hop and historical scenes can go so well together?
Ali: Carry On
Let’s not forget “traditional OSTs”, either. You know, the kind of larger-than-life musical pieces with heart wrenching, over the top singing that has such a distinct style you recognise it instantly being an OST from a mile away. Sung by master singers like Ali, Alilee, Lyn, Yoon Mi-rae, or Baek Ji-young, the classical OST will give you all the feels at the right moments in the drama. They will tear you up, empty your tissue reserves, causing immediate catharsis. Just like Carry On by Ali, recorded for Lee Min-ho‘s fantasy fusion saeguk, Faith.
Big Bang: Hallelujah
Then, we have the trendy kind of modern OST, fast-paced and contemporary, suitable for action packed dramas like Iris. Hallelujah by Big Bang is also interesting because TOP was playing the bad guy in this series, a heartless, ruthless assassin.
4MEN ft. Mi: Here I Am
The OST of Secret Garden is again something that can be considered classic in Korean dramas. The hugely popular fantasy drama gave us a number of memorable songs. Here I Am, performed by the insanely beautiful voices of 4MEN, featuring songstress Mi, will give you goosebumps, even after listening to thousands and thousands time. Especially if you remember the scenes it was used in!
Byeon Yohan: Cheongsan byeolgok (The Song of the Green Mountain)
Many times, the actors themselves record songs for their dramas, and this is not unusual. But in some cases, the actors might perform the song in the drama itself, just like Byeon Yohan did in Six Flying Dragons. This is a beautiful Korean folk song from the Goryeo period, and Byeon’s character sings it a cappella. It is brutally effective, bringing out all the feels in the scene. The actor also recorded it separately, and released it as an official OST, which you can listen here.
I live there, yes I live there
On the Green Mountain I live.
Eating wild grapes and goosberries,
There on the Green Mountain I live.
Cry, little bird, cry,
Wake from your dream and cry.
Me too, whose grief is greater,
will wake up and cry.
Yalli yalli yallasyong
The stone once thrown,
Who will be hit by it?
Who is able to avoid it?
Neither the beautiful,
Nor the ugly,
It hits you fatally.
Yalli yalli yallasyong
(Translated by Xiaolong)