Posted in Drama Series, List, Music

When actors sing drama OSTs

…the feels are indescribable.

Music is part and parcel of a show. A drama, in this case. With it, mood is built, tension is raised, emotion is steered and eventually wreaked havoc. Without it, it is like food without garnish — still nice, but incomplete. Apt soundtracks make a show more pleasant and addictive to watch; great ones stay with you long after the show wraps up. There are only a number of titles i have rewatched, or that i plan to; even when i don’t ever plan to, sometimes all it takes is a listen to its signature song and down a trip down memory lane i go…

Dramas are deluged complemented with sweeping theme songs and dramatic incidental music, plenty of which are lovely and profound despite having similar sounds across the titles. Oftentimes these scores are more enjoyable and compelling than the series itself, but when starring actors/actresses take time and effort to record an OST, the watching experience is taken to a whole new level. They sing as the very role they’re portraying at that time, and the lyrics usually convey the character’s thoughts and feelings, of what they would say if they could say it. Hence the feels.

The magic ultimately lies in whether or not i like their tone/singing voice and the melody. The latter is more of the deciding factor than the former. Lyrics is the third point but it will only count after i check the translation out — most of the times, it doesn’t really matter.

Cut to the chase, shall we? 😉
From the number of dramas i’ve watched thus far, the following five songs are my favorites:

Dreaming – Kim Soo-hyun (Dream High, 2011)
The only non-idol in this idol-studded drama musical about six high schoolers with different backgrounds and talents in music aspiring to be top idols, Kim Soo-hyun was a standout, acting-wise, singing-wise. Sam-dong wasn’t my favorite character in the show, neither was his story arc the most interesting, but his self-composed song was the deepest and most stirring. When he performed this song in the showcase without his full hearing and yet managed to pull through till the last note (with the right pitch and emotion), i was moved and relieved and crying with him. That was a great moment.

“As I look at my dream fading far away, I just stand there
Because I don’t have anything left
But I get up again

Whether I will end here
My fear keeps me hesitating
Somewhere deep in my heart
There’s an echo that keeps me moving forward

One step, one step
I cautiously take another step
With both fear and excitement in my heart
Even if I falter and fall
I take another step towards the dream that I will one day meet”
(translation: haru2subs)

Even if I live just one day – Jo Hyun-jae (49 Days, 2011)
Kang-ahhh~ That name alone is enough to bring back so many fond memories i had of the show. Especially of the sweet and dreamy Han Kang. Being a fantasy drama, 49 Days explained all rules and consequences from breaking any of them from the very beginning. Straightforward but thorough, they left no rooms for second-guessing or even loop holes. The plot did run in circles a bit, i was lukewarm about the takeover scheme, but it also had compelling premise and engaging characters that made me care and cry buckets of tears.

Once he put two and two together, his niceness level went through the roof. And when he crossed the bridge over to “Song” and swooped in for a “comfort” hug *squeeeee* with that very song playing in the background, i was ruined. Is there anything he isn’t? He can even croon with such sonorous, full of vibrato voice and deliver heartfelt and giddy-inducing singing!

“Saying I love you are words my heart has always shouted
Saying I love you are words I’ve repeated, behind you
Saying I love you are words I couldn’t say, afraid you’d run away
I love you so much that I’m afraid
I love you

I’ll confess, I love you as much as today
If I could only live [for] one day, I’d want to be by your side
I’ll confess, I’ll say the words now
I love you”
(translation: javabeans)

Really – Song Joong-ki (Nice Guy, 2012)
The drama is sick, but this song is really sweet. Not that i didn’t know that Nice Guy was an angsty melodrama, but the characters were sooo exhausting to watch all i wanted was talk some sense into them, especially Kang Maru. Say what you mean, mean what you say, or simply break your damn silence! He took the hit for Jae-hee’s murder, was abandoned and betrayed while he’s serving his term, and later on framed and battered to near death, i looked forward to the moment he got over his obsession with his old flame (and started giving Eun-gi a chance). I carried on watching for that epiphany and spent most of its run admiring how (distractingly) fine Song Joong-ki is, the depth of his voice, the pretty shots of the scenes, or the intensity of the acting.

Then this song came along, and i was pleasantly surprised to learn that it’s sung by him. It is soothing albeit not as soulful as i’d like it to be. Maru barely spoke his mind and was hardly readable so this song was the closest we could get to his inner thoughts and feelings toward Eun-gi (before he started doing contemplative narrations in later episodes, that is). The lyrics are so him: only having eyes for that one person he loves; steadfastly waiting for her, in case she’ll come back; and firmly believing that he’ll meet and love her again in the next life. He didn’t cry over love as the lyrics suggest, though. Really is imbued with tenderness and sincerity, and that’s more than enough for me.

“Because I love you, tears fall
Because my heart hurts, tears fall again
In case I lose you again, in case I lose you again
My two eyes only look at you

Look at me, who loves you
Because tears fall like this, because tears keep falling,
Even if I’m born again, even if I’m born again, it’s you

I only see you

I’m waiting and waiting for you
In case you come back, in case you come back again
Even if I’m rained on, even if I walk in the snow
Even if I’m born again, it’s only you”
(translation: pop!gasa)

No matter what – Seo In-gook (Master’s Sun, 2013)
Seo In-gook wasn’t the male lead in this supernatural rom-com, i wondered why he contributed to a track instead of So Ji-sub who has had singing gig before… but wew, his voice is darn good! I thought he is new actor on the rise as he keeps getting leading roles one after another (besides Master’s Sun, i’ve seen him in Answer Me 1997 and No Breathing); little did i know that he actually started off as a singer through Mnet’s Superstar K.

No matter what is a song any second male lead can sing to. Pining for the heroine, hoping to get a fair chance at winning her heart, unable to stop himself from developing feelings for her…no matter what. My heart would bleed for him had he deserved it (like the best second male lead ever — Yoon Pil-joo of Best Love), but he didn’t even play that part. The first time he said he liked Gong-shil was a lie, and when he did fall for her, it didn’t show. Master’s Sun is probably the only show of its kind without meddling or clingy second leads; in fact, the second leads had their own cute loveline which was as interesting to follow as the main couple’s. So when his character ended up with Little Sun, it didn’t feel like a consolation prize at all.

“It doesn’t work even if I try to talk out of it
Like a kid who does things the opposite way
I tell myself to give up but I can only think about you
For me it’s always you from the start to the end
So it has to be you for me

[Please] come a little bit closer to me
Open your heart for one time

If I can have you in my arms
If I can feel you for one time
I could live with that
But you are smiling in front of me knowing nothing”
(translation: 1theK)

I’ll protect you – Ji Chang-wook (Healer, 2014~5)
Because he’s Healer, it’s as simple as that XD

More? Oh well, Ji Chang-wook started off in musicals (and still does them) and has done OSTs for his previous projects as well,  so i know he can carry a tune. Wasn’t it also somewhat expected that he’d lend his powerful voice to Healer‘s too? Admittedly, i wasn’t crazily in love with this song (my favorite: You by Ben) but for Jung-hoo whose ultimate dream had been to buy an uninhabited island and live in solitude, wanting to live a normal life with the person he loves was like a dramatic U-turn right? Love does that. It could even turn an apathetic non-hero into someone who cared and wanted to protect someone else. Nothing novel, but he got me hook, line, and sinker all the same.

“The person I want to embrace in my heart
The person I can’t let go
I’ll take away all your sad tears
The one person in the world who makes me smile is you
So don’t cry anymore, I will protect you

There is no other love
Even after time passes
Even if the world changes
It’s only you

It’s okay even if I’m in pain alone
If it’s for you, it’s okay
I will embrace all of your painful scars
The one person in the world who makes me smile is you
So don’t cry anymore, I will protect you

I love you, be by my side forever”
(translation: pop!gasa)

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