As it says on the tin, this week is an OST special. Keep reading and you’ll find seven of the best tracks released as part of television soundtracks, and hopefully you agree. If not, next week is an EXO special, so we’ll see if we can get back on the same page with that. As always, stay safe, and stay indoors.
Baro, CNU – ‘No Problem’ (Prison Playbook)
With a peppy, colourful vibrancy, Baro and CNU – both of B1A4 – combine seamlessly on “No Problem.” With buoyant synths and charismatic vocals, the verses have a euphoric element to them, conveying a feeling of being able to conquer the world courtesy of the seamless flow between the two artists as they sing and rap their way through motivation.
The chorus, a singalong frenzy, documents that “It’s alright, have strength, you can do it,” over semi-muted guitars, thumping drum beats and more of the same flamboyant synths. It’s a little bit camp and a lot of fun, so why not give it, and the accompanying show Prison Playbook, a shot?
Chanyeol, Punch – ‘Stay With Me’ (Goblin)
An iconic OST song – and one that would feel almost criminal to exclude – “Stay With Me” is the most viewed drama tracks on YouTube, and it’s easy to see why.
With a vehement electric guitar loop, Punch’s airy vocals mesh perfectly with the deep, soft delivery Chanyeol offers. The chemistry is undeniable as both drift between each section with only barebones instrumentation utilised to bring the touching sensibilities out of each artist without obstruction.
It’s a beautiful composition, one that warrants being the first OST track to surpass 200 million views, and is worth revisiting at a time like this.
Park Won – ‘Stranger’ (Mr. Sunshine)
There’s an old-timey feel to “Stranger.” With the melancholic strings and imminent piano melody, Won’s soft, soaring vocals are transcendental in portraying both current-day emotions, and those which seemingly link with the characters of the show – ones set in the Joseon era of South-Korea – with ease.
The lyrics are visceral in discussing the emotional loss of a loved one, the overall composition deep-seated in emotional resonance. It’s a tour-de-force of a track, and one that must be included in any conversation for the best work on an OST.
Crush – ‘Let Us Go’ (Crash Landing On You)
Taken from Crash Landing On You, a series which had as formidable of a soundtrack as it comes, Crush’s “Let Us Go,” is a poignant, heartfelt piano ballad which does enough in its raw sincerity to stand out above the rest.
Affecting in its deep, resonant tone, the 27-year-old’s unwavering vocal prowess stands out in the lyrically powerful chorus as the serendipitous strings and arguably mournful melody weave together, with the rest of the track adding further context to a heart-wrenching story of love that may never come to fruition.
An outstanding track from a sublime piece of television, “Let Us Go” is a must-listen.
Nafla – ‘Watchin” (WATCHER)
As gritty and unrelenting as the show itself, “Watchin’” sees Nafla tap into his more charismatic side, with the star bringing endless energy to verses as succinct as fight scenes themselves.
The chorus, which is brought upon my urgent, arresting trap beats and electronic backdrop, is organised chaos. Instrumentally looped over sharp electronics and abrasive hi-hats, a more laidback vocal performance gives off a sense of swagger as it zips towards a climax.
Catchy and confident, “Watchin’” is simply a must-listen.
Beom June Jang – ‘Your Shampoo Scent in the Flowers’ (Be Melodramatic)
A somewhat integral part of the show itself, “Your Shampoo Scent in the Flowers” is a breezy, melodic effort that shines in catchiness as opposed to polished talent. Jang Beom’s nasally vocals drift through the fast-paced chorus with an element of ease, whilst the verses flesh themselves out with acoustic guitar chords and piano flourishes. The climax, which adds some subtle strings to the mix, helps bolster the radio-friendly, heartwarming song but, as mentioned before, it’s more the fact that you’ll find yourself singing this along to this one at random moments that makes it so special.
Feel Kim, Changwan Kim – ‘Youth’ (Reply 1988)
Part of the charm of Reply 1988 was its knack to create relatability that transcended some of the cultural nuances foreign audiences would miss. We all have our own stories of family, friendship and youth – a time in our lives many wish they could go back to – and this show tapped into it.
Importantly too, it had a soundtrack to fit. With sonic appearances from the likes of Oh Hyuk, Park Boram and NO:EL spread across the twenty episode run, the programme moulded a tangibly emotional, apposite collection of songs to compliment the sentiments of each and every story told.
A highlight of this comes from Feel Kim and featured artist Changwan Kim’s “Youth.” With a twinkling-yet-nostalgic melody and shaky, raw vocals, the two combine to form a reflective piece about pining for the olden days. Eventually, an addition of brass brings more layered sensibilities to the track, but throughout it remains poignant, covering the loss of a key time of our lives with expert lyricism and palpable vocal delivery.
“Youth” is a tremendous bit of art, and a track well worth listening to if you want to dissect a bit more meaning from your music.
And that’s a wrap! What do you think about our selections? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and don’t forget, next week is an EXO special. We hope to see you here.