What is it that lures you into watching a Korean drama/movie? Is it the cast? The plot? Or maybe it’s the original soundtrack? There have been a few occurrences where if there’s a new K-drama coming out, one in which I don’t know any of the actors, I then wait for the music videos for the OSTs. Because I’m naturally captivated by ballads, if that drama has a ballad good enough to make me weep, then I’ll more than likely start watching it.
It has never fully occurred to me how emotionally unstable I get when listening to Korean ballad OSTs. But that’s okay because I know I’m not the only one out there who loves listening to sad songs. If you’re into potentially breaking down into tears every now and then while listening to one, then I hope you take a listen to some of these songs. And with so many heart wrenching OST ballads out there, here is part three of our most tear inducing series.
[Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead!]
5. Jisun – “What Do I Do?” (“Boys Over Flowers”)
I started “Boys Over Flowers” with no expectations. I hadn’t read the Japanese manga nor did I know any of the actors in the Korean version at the time, aside from Kim Hyun-joong (way before his scandalous downfall). It didn’t take long for me to get wrapped up in this 25 episode series, as a matter of fact, I binged watched and finished BOF in two days.
Also on KultScene: 5 Tear Inducing K-Drama OSTs
Aside from the cringe worthy acting and obsessive characters, what made it all bearable was the actual soundtrack itself. For a drama as fully packed with ballad OSTs, it was hard to choose just one. As much as I couldn’t stand Ku Hy-sun’s emotionless acting and Lee Min-ho’s various curly hairstyles in this drama, my heart ached for those two every time “What Do I Do?” would start playing in the background. To see those two struggling as much as they did to be together and only to get battered and knocked back down every time they got close enough, on top of Jisun singing “do you think I’ll be okay without you? Are you okay without me? The world without you is so hard that I blame myself for still breathing”, broke hearts even more. I wonder if the music director for BOF thought, “what better way to make an already sorrowful ridden drama even sadder by having 90 percent of the OSTs ballads?” Because if that was the case, then it sure as hell worked.
4. GB9 – “Remember Me” (“Trot Lovers”)
What would you do if your loved one were to one day forget you? How would you feel if all the memories, good and bad, were completely erased from their memory? Due to an accident, Ji Hyun-woo wakes up in a hospital bed with all but the fond memories that he had once made with Jung Eun-ji in “Trot Lovers.” I get it, it’s just a drama, but sometimes through watching a drama, you build this imaginary bond with the characters, and if they’re hurting, for some reason, you also hurt.
It also doesn’t help when the main OSTs tries and pulls on every emotional nerve in your body. “Remember Me” is one of those songs you listen to with your headphones on and then suddenly find yourself silently weeping along to it. What is it about ballad singers with raspy voices especially that one vocalist from GB9? Granted, they’re not the gentlest voices but when they do sing, there’s something in their tone that suddenly starts to pull at all these heartstrings that you never even knew existed. My eyes can’t help but tense up and tingle with tears ready to burst every time I listen to “Remember Me,” especially when I think back to the climatic scenes between Eun-ji and Hyun-woo (who surprisingly make an adorable onscreen couple), even though I already know what the outcome is like.
3. Davichi – “Don’t You Know” (“Iris II”)
Prior to watching “Iris II” and listening to Davichi “Don’t You Know,” I was only used to ballad OSTs being sung by one artist, it never occurred to me how it’d work with two people. There’s something about the dynamics between the two ladies of Davichi that just works. “Iris II” involves a lot of violence and fighting with some but very little room for romance, so it came as a surprise to me to see how well “Don’t You Know” meshed in with the rest of the drama.
Through all the intense blood scenes and kidnappings, my heart did find warmth whenever Jang Hyuk and Lee Da-hae’s characters were able to get close and let their relationship blossom. They persevered through all the time spent apart and near death experiences only to end up by each other’s side. There’s a sense of calmness and melancholy that transcends throughout “Don’t You Know,” but every time you think the song is about to end, Davichi would throw you back into that uncontrollable rollercoaster of emotions. There’s a mournful tone in their voices, a tone so sad you can’t help but feel your heart ache.
2. Baek Ji-young – “After A Long Time” (“Rooftop Prince”)
What’s an OST list without the OST queen herself, Baek Ji-young? I fell in love with this song as quickly as I fell in love with the onscreen couple Han Ji-min and Park Yoochun (also known as Micky from JYJ) — it didn’t take too long! Even with the slight age gap between the two, you can’t help but notice the natural chemistry that they share. You could easily see the admiration and respect that these two had for one another, every time they look at each other, even in scenes where they’re having screaming matches.
Also on KultScene: 5 Tear Inducing K-Drama OSTs Pt. 2
“Rooftop Prince” is the first Korean drama to have flipped flopped between both a sageuk (Korean historical drama) and a present day storyline, and it was actually enjoyable to watch. You know how sometimes the lyrics of an OST may have nothing to do with the actual drama itself? “After A Long Time” is one of the rare few where the lyrics actually correlate with the drama. The lyrics and melody is relatively upbeat, less of a downer than most ballads out there but if you were to sync it up to the moments that it’s played during the drama, you’ll probably be quenching your chest from all the heart rendering scenes being displayed onscreen. Baek Ji-young portrays the anguish that’s felt between the characters by softly cradling you with her comforting voice without making the song seem as depressing as the situation actually is.
1. Kim Jae-joong – “Insa” (“A Millionaire’s First Love”)
“A Millionaire’s First Love” was my first Korean movie, it was also the first time I laid eyes and fell madly in love with lead actor Hyun Bin. By the time this movie came out, I had already watched my fair share of typical Korean drama plots: the one where someone gets sick and is destined to die but then falls in love and is too scared to let that person know, so they hide it until it can’t be hidden anymore or the one where the parents try to get in the way of their children’s relationships. Whether it was due to ranking in the workforce or maybe because they were actually siblings, but you know what I’m talking about.
Because it was a movie and not a drama, every thing was condensed and happened quickly, as soon as you were done laughing at a scene, you were then crying and then back to laughing. I thought I was emotionally prepared to take this movie head on since I was so used to these kinds of storylines, but I guess nothing can ever really prepare you for young love, heartache, and death. Listening to Jae-joong’s gentle voice sing “fly away, fly away love,” filled my heart with pain, agonizing over why I even watch these kinds of things. Although “Insa” is shortly versed, the lyrics were impactful and melodious, just enough to have you open up that second box of tissue in 30 minutes time.
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