Korean Drama OSTs get a bad rap...mainly because they deserve it. Most songs are bland Korean ballad #90237409281, and Korea is the last Asian country that should be making ballads. (If you like ballads, listen to the ones from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.)
Fany Pack, Soyeon Friend and I are really the only ones here who like Korean dramas, and we wanted to highlight the good songs in Korean dramas, however rare they are.
The first song is Supreme Team's "Get Ready" for the drama Athena, which aired in 2010. "Get Ready" is one of the rare hiphop tracks that make it into a drama OST, and even rare hiphop track that isn't a rap ballad. It's one of those perfect tracks that can amplify the atmosphere for an action series like Athena.
Drama: Hero (2012)
Song: Dipshit Hero
Garion is one of the most respected hiphop groups in Korea because they're pioneers of Korean hiphop, which is why it was surprising to me that they even did an OST song. However, fellow rapper Yang Dong Geun stars in the drama, so that's probably why Garion participated in the OST. It's another great hiphop song that adds energy to an action series.
Artist: Big Bang
The last song Big Bang released that was worth listening to was "Hallelujah" for the IRIS OST. Again, the tone of the song matches an action series like OST, and this was before G-Dragon was using a variety of drugs.
Drama: My Princess
As much as I rag on ballads, I actually like them, but it's easy for ballads to be shit and hard for them to be good. Objectively, this song is just okay. Lena Park does do some vocal wankering on this song and the instrumental could be improved (it's really bare), but I honestly like it just because of the attachment I have to the song. It was the theme song for Spy Myung Wol. It would play the most during the drama. Spy Myung Wol is far from being my favorite drama, but it's the first drama that I saw Han Ye Seul in, and the first half was pretty great until a bajillion problems happened with the drama.
Now I'll hand it off to Fany and Soyeon Friend to list their favorite OST songs.
Soyeon Friend ~
A lot of my favorite songs come from Every Single Day, specifically from the "Miss Korea" and "Pasta" OSTs.
If any of you played Sims 2, that song reminds me a lot of one of the college station songs.
I also really like this song from "My Girlfriend is a Gumiho."
A good drama (like any other show) has a way of pulling you into it and making you care about the characters so that you feel invested in them. For me, at least while I really do enjoy these songs, with the OST, it's almost more like a way to relive some of the moments you had with the characters. I think a bad OST can't help a bad show, but a good OST can put a good show over the top and make it one of your favorites, like with "Miss Korea." When I hear one of those songs, I remember how Lee Sun-Kyun held the raft for Lee Yeon-Hee during the photo shoot, or with "Fox Rain" when she finally showed stupid Lee Seung-Gi her tails.
Despite Hyun Bin's epic wooden acting, I loved "My Name is Kim Sam Soon." I'd watch the shit out of that show again. And as much as I enjoyed the show, its ending theme, "She Is," is even better. It's like listen-10-times-in-a-row-with-no-shame good. I'm on my third listen this hour as I type.
This song always played during the epic battle scenes, so it's deliciously over the top. I credit it's modern sound for helping "Chuno" to become the only saguek I've been able to stomach. (Thanks, for the rec, AKF!)
Feeling suicidal after your weasel-themed Bobby plushie came in the mail? Fear not. Listening to "Dream High" will perk you right up. It's basically an affirmation of life in music form. I have used it as inspiration in real, grown-up life and can confirm that it works every time. Oh yeah, and the drama is good, too, if you can look past its blatant lack of passion. Believe me, if I was with Kim Soo Hyun, I'd be doing a lot more than stiffly kissing him while he's leaving on a bus. But that's what makes this song so great: Listening to it makes me feel as though my wildest Kim Soo Hyun fantasies can come true. Hwaiting!
That's it for me. The "Coffee Prince" OST is also amazing, but it's definitely best appreciated as the whole soundtrack in combination with the show. Looking back through the songs, none of them stands out on its own, but their placement in the show brings the story to life, during both the melancholy scenes and the scenes where you want to rip Gong Yoo's clothes off. It's an example of what Soyeon Friend described: a great OST putting a good show over the top.