Korean dramas are usually known for its complicated plotlines and dramatic twists and turns, and we all love following what happens to our favorite characters. But beyond storylines and characters and plot twists, Korean dramas offer us something that plays a major part in telling the story but often take for granted: music. The soundtracks in TV shows is an integral part of storytelling that helps build a scene and complete it. Each careful cue of the music puts the viewers in the moment and lets them live the story with the characters. And music definitely changes the viewing experience, because without it, well, can you just imagine the awkward pauses?
Let’s listen to some of the most memorable Kdrama soundtracks that just got stuck on our minds and made us want to rewatch each of these dramas.
“Round and Round” from Goblin
From Chanyeol and Punch’s “Stay With Me” to Crush’s “Beautiful,” Goblin’s original soundtrack gave us so many great songs. But the most memorable is probably “Round and Round,” first heard with singer Han Suji’s voice (and later with HEIZE’s in the released soundtrack, but that’s another story) in the iconic scene with the Goblin and Grim Reaper arriving dramatically to save Ji Eun-tak from debt collectors. Despite the many parodies it gave birth to, this scene brought us chills in our first watch, especially with this song. Still does.
“For You” from Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
Scarlet Heart Ryeo completely broke our hearts, and we’re still looking for closure. Listening to EXO’s Chen, Baekhyun, and Xiumin croon “For You” is just breaking our hearts even further. The song’s lyrics tells the story of the show and its tragic ending: how Wang So would still wait for Hae Soo, even if she forgets about him. Cue our tears.
(Fun fact: With the release of this song, the trio also formed the first sub-unit of their group: EXO-CBX.)
“You Are My Everything” from Descendants of the Sun
Okay. Not kidding, Descendants of the Sun has one of the most memorable original soundtracks. Chen and Punch’s “Everytime,” Yoonmirae’s “Always I,” K.Will’s “Talk Love,” everything was perfect for all the scenes, whether romantic, dramatic ,or often both. But when you hear Gummy’s “You Are My Everything,” you’d only think of the charming (though not completely unsubtle) romance between Captain Yoo Si-jin and Doctor Kang Mo-yeon and the more heart-wrenching love story of Sergeant Seo Dae-young and Lieutenant Yoon Myung-ju.
Too bad we can’t listen to this song without our hearts breaking over the no-longer Song-Song couple.
“My Destiny” from My Love From the Star
Before the undeniable success of Descendants of the Sun, My Love From the Star has been largely credited for the resurgence of the Hallyu wave. It still is, especially being headlined by big stars like Jun Ji-hyun and Kim Soo-hyun, and many fans still come back to this iconic drama if they want to cry or have a good laugh, take your pick. And just by listening to Lyn’s beautiful voice in “My Destiny” serenading the viewers as she sings about love and destiny, well, we’re sure you’d want to find your own fate and fall in love, too.
“The Moment” from The Heirs
For the better part of The Heirs, we only see Kim Tan (and eventually Choi Young Do) pining over Cha Eun-sang. And 2AM’s Changmin perfectly captures that heartbreaking feeling we get whenever she desperately tries to discourage his feelings. We still caught feelings. Even if it’s in this ridiculously over-the-top high school setting. Love really is the moment.
“It’s You” from Hwarang
While the show itself didn’t satisfy viewers with what many viewed to be weak characterization and even weaker plot, the original soundtrack is the true savior of Hwarang (along with the many pretty faces we can appreciate freely, of course). This star-studded soundtrack features Bolbbalgan4, Hyorin, Red Velvet’s Wendy and Seulgi, and even the drama’s star Park Hyung-sik. But our favorite is BTS V and Jin’s duet in “It’s You.” We already have so many flower boys in the show, and then we get these two ethereal visuals from BTS serenading us. Please. We want more. (Also, time to stan BTS.)
“Reset” from Who Are You: School 2015
More than simply being a platform for launching the careers of rookie actors, the School series is famous for tackling real issues concerning South Korea’s youth, including bullying, corrupt education system, and academy and tutoring culture. And Who Are You: School 2015 is no different, albeit a little more dramatic than most with amnesiac leads and twin swaps. But the soundtrack makes the drama all the more fun to watch. Everytime Tiger JK’s “Reset” plays, we just want to scream at these high school kids to stop breaking our hearts and just please be happy.
“Paradise” from Boys Over Flowers
No Kdrama list will be complete without Boys Over Flowers, and this iconic song from the show is probably something all Kdrama fans can recognize immediately, despite how cringe-y it could get. When the intro of T-Max’s “Paradise”, you’d end up wanting to see again how hot-tempered Gu Jun-pyo ends up falling in love with headstrong Geum Jan-di. It’s definitely cringe-y to watch and the secondhand embarrassment is unbearable at times, but their love story is maybe probably somehow Almost Paradise.
What other Korean drama OSTs do you love? Share them with us below!