Korean dramas are known for having well-curated songs that match the drama’s script. Soundtracks evoke different emotions aimed for by a story and often take us back to the feeling of comfort or longingness depending on a drama’s impact on us. This year, our choices are all mixed as we leaned towards songs that are romantic, hopeful, or carefree.
Here are the soundtracks that dominated our playlist in 2021:
The Frown Crown
Nightfalling – John Park (Yumi’s Cells)
I think everyone who watched Yumi’s Cells would agree with me that the drama, aside from being well-loved, produced a line-up of OSTs that are amazingly put together. “Nightfalling” sung by Korean-American singer John Park revolves around two people who are on the talking stage and compares their growing love for each other to the sunset.
Love Me Like That – Sam Kim (Nevertheless)
Even if you haven’t watched Nevertheless, I’m sure you’ve heard of this Sam Kim hit one way or another. It’s definitely the spring anthem of 2021, a song about a person who was once broken but hopes to find a love worthy of bringing down the walls she built for herself. Just sharing my favorite line, “You see the world in colors, I view it black and white. Paint me a picture out of the lines that I live in all of the time.“
Like A Star – Doyoung (Yumi’s Cells)
Another gem from Yumi’s Cells OST! Doyoung sings about how a person can be one’s warmth amidst your darkest days. Yumi (Kim Go-eun) used to be in a dark place, jaded and melancholic, but when Woong (Ahn Bo-hyun) entered her life, she finally had the courage to love again, and like a star, Woong became her guiding light towards self-healing.
Starlight – Jeong Hyo-bean (Run On)
This was the background song every time Choi Soo-young and Kang Tae-oh meet in Run On. It speaks about falling in love with someone so distant, almost impossible to reach, but you’re still willing to fight for the slightest chance of getting through the woods holding hands.
Adrenaline – Solar (Vincenzo)
Solar serenades us with her soothing voice in this Vincenzo OST. This rendition of “Adrenaline” is so perfect and sexy! The song talks about one’s desire to be with someone they love but at the same time wants them to stay away because of the danger they may bring to the loved one’s life.
Superstar – Mido and Falasol (Hospital Playlist 2)
If I could put every song from Hospital Playlist 2, I would but I could only choose one. I’ve thought hard about it but I ended up picking “Superstar” (with Yoo Yeon-seok’s “To You” and Cho Jung-seok’s “I Like You” as runner-up choices). This song was played by Mido and Falasol during my favorite episode in the second season of Hospital Playlist. With its upbeat tone and comforting lyrics, this song is a healing tune for all the tired hearts out there. Hearing the 99z squad say “It’s okay, it will be okay” is enough to get me through another day.
Moon Crater – Kim Ye-ji (Dali and Cocky Prince)
Dali and Cocky Prince has a good line-up of songs in its Official Soundtrack but my favorite would be Kim Ye-ji’s “Moon Crater.” Its melody that suits a romantic night is accompanied by lyrics that use my favorite celestial body in the whole universe – the moon, as a metaphor for someone’s love. It paints a beautiful ode fitting for an art-themed romcom.
Is It Me? – Baekhyun (Lovers of the Red Sky)
Baekhyun is a singer who could pull off an upbeat pop and tug someone’s heart with a ballad. And him singing an OST for a period drama about star-crossed lovers meant that the scenes with his song will be more heartfelt, sometimes even painful. That’s what happened with “Is It Me?” in Lovers of the Red Sky. Baekhyun’s earnest crooning made Ha Ram and Hong Cheon-gi’s scenes more sincere and emotional. I listen to this song whenever I want to reminisce about these two characters who really worked hard to get their happy ending.
If I Could Read Your Mind – Wendy (Yumi’s Cells)
If my previous top OST choices are ballads, this song from Yumi’s Cells has an upbeat tune with cute lyrics that fit the story of one of the well-executed dramas this year. “If I Could Read Your Mind” is about that feeling when you start to be interested in someone and you wish you could hear their heart so you won’t be clueless anymore. It’s a lighthearted song that would make you feel exactly that “I like you and I want to get to know you” stage in dating.
3!4! – Soya and Dindin (Hello, Me!)
Hello, Me! had been a very lighthearted series to watch so it’s not that surprising that its OST line-up includes a fun song like “3!4!”. Unlike the other songs in my list – wherein lyrics had been a factor – I picked this one solely because I really like its 90s vibe. It’s kinda nostalgic and very much of an old pop. A good song to listen to if you want to brighten up your day.