Kdrama Music Makes Our Heart Race
By: Sara A. Layne
We’ve all felt it. That adrenaline rush when we hear the theme music to our favorite k-drama. Our minds instantly play a montage of greatest moments of the drama and we crave to see the show again, if only for a moment. How many of us have rewound an episode so you can hear more of the song that’s playing in the background. I think the music in kdramas is some of the best out there. It can help the audience feel whatever emotion they are trying to convey. An example of this is when I hear Sad Run from the City Hunter soundtrack. People may not know the song by name but once you hear the drum beat start, you’ll know that the City Hunter is getting ready to open up a can of …well you get the idea.
Don’t you hear the music? I think it’s time to run.
My current ringtone is from one of my favorite kdrama’s of all time, My Lovely Kim Sam Soon. Clazziquai’s song She Is was used throughout the drama at many pivotal moments. When Sam Soon was looking for Hyun Jin-Heon (her boyfriend) at his house, she finds he isn’t there. She goes back to the elevator to leave, the doors open and *bam* there stands Jin Heon with his ex-girlfriend. The songs starts to play and the audience can actually feel their heart break as they watch Sam Soon’s face go from surprise to betrayal. True to kdrama form, it was all a misunderstanding but without the music, it wouldn’t have impacted people’s emotions as much.
This isn’t what it looks like.
Music doesn’t even have to be on the the drama’s soundtrack to become a staple in the show. The currently airing show, Vampire Prosecutor, uses the same Amy Winehouse song in 95% of their episodes so far. After closing a case, our handsome vampire, Min Tae Yeon, slinks into a posh nightclub. Bypassing the throngs of people dancing, he enters the VIP area where Amy Winehouse’s Stronger Than Me is usually playing in the background. Perhaps you haven’t caught it yet, but take a listen next episode. It really embodies the mood of the room. Every time I hear the song, even when not watching the show, I can imagine being in a smoky night club enjoying a nice warm glass of blood, erm I mean glass of chardonay.
Merlot? No, I prefer AB-.
Sometimes kdramas can go a bit overboard with using a song. Prime example is in Boys Over Flowers. This drama has a special place in my heart because it was the first one I’d ever seen. I loved the F-4 and by following the actors from show to show, I was able to watch some really good shows. Getting back to the music, I’m sure you know which song I am referring to at this point. Still don’t know? Well here’s a hint, ALMOST PARADISE! The song from T-Max seemed to show up in the drama every five seconds. A montage of the F-4 getting dressed for school? ALMOST PARADISE! Geum Jan Di rides her bike down the hill? ALMOST PARADISE! The entire cast being chased by bad guys? ALMOST PARADISE! It was almost nauseating how much they used the song. Every time I hear the words almost paradise, I start humming the song and the next thing you know I’m plopping down on the couch re-watch a few episodes.
Almost Paradise group shot!
The many serious faces of Almost Paradise.
Whether it’s a song that has been used so much, you’re sick of it, or the illusive background music that you’ve been searching for the past six episodes, music in kdramas affects us all. I for one am looking forward to hear the next great song.
Here is the list of dramas mentioned above. I encourage you to check them out because they are all great shows.
Do you know of a song in a drama that you absolutely love but can’t figure out who sings it? Leave all the information you know about it in the comments and I will try to find it for you.
Sara A. Layne contributes to the kpop and kdrama website Blackwomenlovebi.