[OST Review] 2020 OST Reviews – Part 3

It has been a long time coming, but I have finally decided to make a start on reviewing a certain type of song that I barely looked at in the past but have wanted to write about for a while now – OST songs. OST (otherwise known as Official Sound Tracks) have been a big part of KPOP. Many of the idols we know and love have gone onto being big name actors, whiles others have had to the privilege to sing some of the most famous tracks to some of the greatest drama scenes of all time.

I personally feel that there is a misconception that OSTs are usually just ballads, but I want to prove that wrong. Furthermore, there will be a Best OST category in this year’s KPOPREVIEVED Awards (hint hint). So I have picked five OSTs throughout 2020 to review and introduce to you here (and over a number of posts). Note that I have not watched all of the dramas, so I will be reviewing the song itself – like how I write my song reviews.


Crazy – APRIL
Drama: Backstreet Rookie
Release: 26 June 2020

First up this week is APRIL with Crazy. To me, Crazy would be suitable a side track on an APRIL album and I feel that it would go a long way, if that was the case. I really like this particular OST because it has such a really alluring yet simple melodic hook. It is super catchy and it is one of those hooks that I would dub as a ‘guilty pleasure’. It is a song that I am sure my friends would make fun of me for listen to it. But I wouldn’t pass an opportunity to listen to this song, no matter where I am! I also love the subtle retro influence that the instrumental has. The vocals do a pretty good job at masking this retro influence (not entirely sure if this is a good thing), but it is definitely felt heavily whilst listening to the instrumental version of the song. While we are on the topic of vocals, I really like their sweet high pitch delivery of their lines. It compliments the instrumental and also really helps bring the melody to life. I like the delicate touch it brings, making this song so much more appealing to listen to. (9/10)


Go Away Go Away – Chanyeol (EXO) & Punch
Drama: Dr. Romantic 2
Release: 20 January 2020

Punch and Chanyeol were a formidable pairing back in 2018 when they released their iconic Stay With Me for the drama Goblin. Now, they have joined forces once again for Dr. Romantic 2. This song features a really nice and soft instrumental, made of thumping percussion and acoustic guitars that closed to the song off really beautifully. The instrumental was decorated with Punch’s beautiful husky vocals, while Chanyeol brought his deep husky tone to the song via both his rapping and singing. I thought the rapping was interesting. I didn’t see it coming, but I am kind of glad it was there. It broke up the song for me, which make it more appealing. Otherwise, it would have been repetitive with the same melodies on repeat. It also brought an interesting dynamic. We don’t usually hear much rapping when it comes to OST and usually it is limited to one segment in the song. In Go Away Go Away, we have punch harmonizing with Chanyeol mid-rap. I thought that was really cool and different. Overall, Chanyeol and Punch really consolidated their position as an iconic pairing in the OST world with Go Away Go Away. (10/10)


I’ll Be There – Shownu (MONSTA X)
Drama: Tale of The Nine Tailed
Released: 15th October 2020

Shownu, the leader of the male group MONSTA X, is someone who don’t hear often from. He is a vocalist, but he doesn’t get much opportunity to shine in his group’s songs. However, his OSTs does. With this more recent release (actually, the drama is still on air), Shownu has shown off his vocal kills. Personally, I don’t see him as a ballad person and I felt that I’ll Be There proves just that. I’ll Be There does start off similar to the ballad, with just piano and dramatic thumping in the far distance. His vocals here already amazes me. But this first verse is just a false impression. The chorus reveals the rock influence and kicks the song up a notch. I really enjoyed the energy that came from it and felt that the rock twist felt more suitable towards what I know of Shownu. The second verse was similar to the first verse but has an extra beat to it. I really like the more texture and ‘rock out’ moment that the bridge and final chorus brough to the song. The intensity and peak was satisfying. I am glad that Shownu has this avenue to showcase more of his skillset. Now, it is time for a solo album from him and each of the MONSTA X members. (9/10)


Spotlight – Bobby (iKON)
Drama: Record Of Youth
Release: 5th October 2020

The rock influence continues in Spotlight, an OST for the drama Record of Youth. It is another recent OST release occurring back in October. It is also the first OST release for newcomer Bobby, more commonly known as a rapper from iKON. I don’t think many YG artists delve into the OST market, so it is interesting to hear that Bobby was joining the subindusrty. Unlike the previous OST I just review, Bobby doesn’t hide the fact that this has a rock influence. You could feel it from the start. It is a pretty consistent track from start to end, as a result. But what makes the song unique is that there is a bit of a Western rock influence to the overall song and I really liked how the intensity of the rock changes as we progress through the song. There is also a bit of funkiness to it, which I think is fantastic. Bobby’s vocals is very suitable for this rock style. I particularly enjoyed the more hoarsey moment in the bridge of the song. I also liked how he used the rock element to end of the song. The way it was dragged out felt awesome and was extremely satisfying to listen to. (9/10)


Two Words – Wendy (Red Velvet)
Drama: Start Up
Release: 15th November 2020

To wrap up this edition of the OST reviews post, we will take a listen to a ballad. This one is pretty significant, as it is the first Wendy release we have heard in a while. An OST was a perfect way for the main vocalist to get back into the music industry without putting massive stress on her body whilst she is still recovering from her fall back in late 2019 (though from the sounds of recent news – Red Velvet will be coming back in the new year). Two Words was a stunning ballad to listen to. It may be typical in retrospect, but it is what Wendy does and how she sounds that it really amazing. I like the softness that the acoustic guitar brings to the first verse. As the song progresses, both Wendy and the instrumental build up. More instruments are brought into play, while her tone builds for the chorus and to match the build up in the instrumental. I like how she starts with the high notes into the second chorus. However, her most impressive one has to be the one that comes at the end. It is definitely nice to hear her once again and I hope we can see her (and the rest of Red Velvet as a five member group) soon. (8/10)

5 Favourite K-Drama OSTs (Part 1)

Welcome back to the ‘Favourites’ segment of my site, where I share my personal picks regarding different aspects. As you may notice, I have decided to go with ‘Favourites’ as the segment name, because they are my favourites. I have also decided to cut down the list from 10 (as originally planned) to five because it would be easier and quicker to write.

This week, I have decided to focus on OSTs or Official Sound Tracks from K-Dramas. I don’t watch that many and the few that I do watch don’t get that much spotlight. But that doesn’t stop the songs from popping up on my playlists or me investigating the various songs that do get released. So in no particular order, these are 5 of my favourite K-Drama OSTs.


Back in Time – Lyn
The Moon Embraces The Sun

I start off the list with the very first OST that I fell in love with. While it was released back in 2011 for the drama, The Moon Embraces The Sun, it is an OST that I keep on going back to for its epic orchestral sound. While Lyn has a few other massive OST hits under her belt (some which I enjoyed), I still firmly believe that this track tops the rest of them. Her vocals draw you in and hold you there for the entire length of the song, not once letting you go.


Stay With Me – Chanyeol (EXO) & Punch
Goblin

Out of all the songs on this list, I think many of you will agree with this one. It’s a more recent OST release, from the K-Drama Goblin and was released in December of last year. The instrumental of the OST is extremely striking and the combination of both Punch’s and Chanyeol’s husky vocals make this one damn good song to listen to.


Talk Love – K.Will
Descendant of the Sun

It has been a while since we last saw K.Will on the stage. However, he has been active in the OST world, singing tracks for a few dramas. One of them belongs to the hit drama, Descendant of the Sun. It makes the list because it makes you smile. I find it quite catchy and K.Will’s vocals are undeniably amazing in this song.


All For You – Seo In Guk & Jung Eunji (APINK)
Reply 1997

This chart-topping OST from 2012 features both Seo In Guk and Eunji (APINK), who also played the lead roles in the same drama. What makes this a great OST is it was easy to get into. It was a simple song, with a simple sound. The English lyrics made it catchy and appeal to many people, including international fans. The vocals of the two were also sweet and dreamy, making them an amazing duet and on-screen partners.


Rise and Shine – Kyuhyun (Super Junior) & Tiffany (SNSD)
To The Beautiful You

The entire drama To The Beautiful You was produced by SM Entertainment and hence it makes sense that the entire OST album was performed by SM Entertainment artists. The standout song from the mix was Rise and Shine, which is an upbeat track, full of amazing vocals from both the main vocalists of Super Junior and SNSD. It reminds me of a musical and gives off a bright atmosphere.