Drama Casting & News
Music director defends Boys Before Flowers soundtrack
by | February 21, 2009 | 106 Comments

We’ve all griped (more or less) about the uber-cheesiness of the Boys Before Flowers soundtrack, and so have Korean viewers.

Complaints have mostly been leveled at the overuse of the songs, rather than the quality of the songs themselves. (In fact, the individual songs are enjoying great popularity on music charts, almost on par with the drama itself.)

But now the drama’s music director, Oh Joon-sung, is coming out to defend his work from detractors.


Boys Before Flowers OST – “๋ณ„๋น›๋ˆˆ๋ฌผ” (Starlight tears) sung by Kim Yoo-kyung. By the way, I hate this song. I hate how it’s used in the drama (angst! tragedy! Sturm und Drang galore!), and I hate it on its own. On the other hand, I did get repeated requests to upload it, and this post is as good a place to put it as any. [ Download ]

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For the record, Oh Joon-sung has worked on the following dramas: sageuk King and I (which also starred Gu Hye-sun), Get Karl Oh Su-jung, long-running historical Jumong, That Woman is Scary — and yes, as we suspected, PD Jeon Ki-sang’s previous projects Witch Amusement and My Girl. Yes, I think his choices have been awful in many of these shows, but I still have to have respect for anyone who has built up a career like that. Not all series can have stellar soundtracks like Soulmate or Coffee Prince. And yet, I really, really wish someone else had gotten his job.

Oh defends his choices, saying that inasmuch as scriptwriter Kim Soo-hyun uses dialogue to express the emotions of the main characters, the drama also uses its imagery to express its emotions. Okay, point taken, although I would advise Mr. Oh to think twice about using writer Kim as an example of something done right.

He continues: “In cases where the scenes show the characters’ sadness, we increase the gravity of the music.” He particularly addresses Episodes 13 and 14, which included lots of location filming in Macau and portrays the split between characters Jun-pyo and Jan-di: “The intention was to convey their feelings more through the imagery than dialogue.”

Criticism aside, perhaps the real proof is in the pudding — Oh adds, “It’s rare that an OST sees all of its songs becoming so popular. The Boys Before Flowers OST has found all of its songs entering the pop music charts. The soundtrack’s popularity is great, but the drama comes first. A drama soundtrack is just one way of expressing its emotions.”

Hey, nobody’s arguing with the principle of the matter — that a soundtrack enhances the viewing experience. It seems Oh skirts the issue at hand, though, because even if one agrees with everything he says, the fact remains that BBF’s soundtrack has been woefully overused and abused to the extent that it’s losing its punch. It does seem they’re adding a couple new songs into the rotation for Part 2, however, so there is that.

Via Asia Economy


106 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Empress

    My biggest gripe if the over use of “ALMOST PARADIIIIISE”.

    Wish he would use more original scores than the pop songs.

  2. Sue


  3. simi

    That’s still no excuse for sheer lameness and abuse of cutesy music. I swear, Almost Paradise is haunting me!! I cringe when I hear it.

  4. theedie

    i would say a good 80% of the time the music ruins it for me. I understand that OST songs tend to be repeated in Asian dramas as opposed to American shows that feature different music every episode, and usually that doesn’t bother me. For exmaple I loved the OSTs for Full House and Delightful Girl Choon-hyang, I ended up learning the lyrics to most songs. BOF on the otherhand didn’t have very good songs to begin with and the added repetition doesn’t help me to forget those songs. Here’s hoping that the new stuff is any good *crosses fingers*

  5. KTV

    Ha ha.. I don’t know if sound= imagination or sound= nightmare… for viewers

  6. Twilight_freak

    i think it’s an
    allright soundtrack

  7. me

    OMG if they play aaaalmost paaaaaaaradiiiiiise in a not-so-almost-paradise situation, i think i will scream….just…dont play the song again, Please? just leave it as the opening theme…PLEEEEEASE! *sigh*

  8. orr

    is that his (kim hyung joong’s) hand in the picture?

    yes the music sucks. yes it’s overplayed. but we continue to watch the drama and root for the characters. that ought to account for something… so music director Oh, please don’t complain about the complaining. perhaps even glean from the complaints? at least you know we (or at least i) will continue to watch whatever the music.

  9. Aye

    Initially, I had lots of problems with Boys Before Flowers (Lee Min-ho not included). The OST sounded awful, the acting was terrible. But I’ve grown to like the OST as I watched new episodes every week. And the cast has improved in their overall acting. So it has gotten to a point where I like almost everything about BBF.
    Even if there were better songs that could have been used, it all would not represent the BBF that we’ve come to love today so I wouldn’t change anything. My feelings could have gone the other way, but I’m glad I feel this way.

  10. 10 amanda

    The over-over-over use of almost paradise is giving me nightmares.
    At least i have someone to blame now

  11. 11 bethany

    he’s definitely not addressing the issue.

    but more than that, im impressed by the fact that he felt that he *had* to address the issue that so many people seem irked by. perhaps points to the rise of web2.0… and how the voices are actually being heard! (to the point where he has to address the press).


  12. 12 kerik

    I so much cringe at almost paaaaradiiiiise too. Especially in that scene when the F4 sans Junpyo had a go at the thugs in Macau. So. Not. Appropriate.

  13. 13 fizzle

    I’m not even watching this show, but this guy’s “defense” is absolutely weak. Why bother trying to defend yourself if you’re not going to address the complaints?

    I’ve always wondered why Delightful Girl Choon-hyang’s soundtrack stood out compared to PD Jeon Ki Sang’s other works’. My Girl had a cheesy OST and Witch Yoo Hee was just lame in every sense (the music being one part of that lame-ness). So Oh Joon Sung didn’t work on DGCH? No wonder.

  14. 14 Sere

    Who is he kidding?!? As a general rule of thumb, dramas have repetitive OSTs, but there’s a BIG difference between a repetitive decent OST and an obsessively repetitive okaish one, don’t you think?

  15. 15 aibori

    The guy is pretty clueless isn’t he? Why did they even hire him? ๐Ÿ˜› Music in movies and dramas should enhance a scene & do it QUIETLY. So that you almost don’t notice it (it just helps mold your emotions). This soundtrack is so gaudy that you end up focusing on the music (wondering why the hell they’re using this song lol) rather than the scene. :/ Maybe when they release it on dvd they’ll re-do it.

  16. 16 Annie


  17. 17 Andrea

    LOL @ kerik: really? wow I’d love to hear his reasoning behind that one. I’m glad I decided to stop watching BOF before it killed my love for that song.

  18. 18 EM

    I say what a poor defense

  19. 19 amktsy

    The sound track is nice.
    i love all the songs of it.
    But when i watch the drama,i feel that some of the parts should not put that song or should put other songs of should don’t even put songs.
    at first,i though i’m the only 1 feeling weird about it.
    luciky everyone also think so.
    hope they can find someone better who knows what is the right time to insert what song.

  20. 20 Empress

    Actually, I went back and listened to the OST and the only 2 two songs that I can actually tolerate is Stand by Me by SHINee and Do You Know by Someday. The rest of the OST is intolerable. Like it makes me want to rip my hair off!

    I swear if he uses ALLLMOOOOST PAARADIIIIISE again in a scene where F4 has to save Jan-di or any other character, I will chuck my remote at the tv.

  21. 21 Marie

    the drama DOES come first…but how does that idea relate to the issue of ost songs being overplayed?!

    No offense to the director, but given the hype surrounding BBF/BOF, shouldn’t the selection of songs have a little more…depth?

  22. 22 bspanda

    Honestly has Oh Joon-sung actually READ the criticisms? Or has he just seen the sales figures for the OST as the sole gauge of it’s success? Hello perhaps it is due to people’s love for the DRAMA that they pick up the OST? Not cause the OST is an outstanding OST…

    “….the drama comes first. A drama soundtrack is just one way of expressing its emotions.โ€
    (That comment only makes sense if he thinks he is making an ironic statement….

    Mr Oh please explain how you are that is put into practise, when often the song used DISTRACTS from the emotions on screen. Due to blah song/repetition etc eg the numerous times that, on screen, there is some emotional scene which is then screwed by use of ‘Almost Parrridddissse’? It’s as if Oh is working from a completely different script!

    A good soundtrack is when you don’t notice the OST whilst it is being played. A great one compliments and enhances the scene. A OST is not suppose to make you reach for the remote control to turn the volume down.

    Mr Oh please practise what you preach ok?

  23. 23 Anonymous

    I am wondering why you dislike starlight tears?. I find the ballad really stirring (just the music), I am not sure about the words since I am not conversant with korean.

    My only rant on the show is with overuse/misuse of “almost paradise”.

  24. 24 Stella

    Almost Paradise should be sentenced to 20 yrs to life

  25. 25 lovenyc52

    i got the soundtrack right when this drama started airing and i really enjoyed it… but now i can’t really listen to it much.. especially ALMOST PARADIIIIIISE!!… and Lucky is getting overplayed as well. I think i’m echoing a lot of people’s feelings when I say that it’s not the SONGS that are intolerable… it’s just the total misuse and overuse of them that kills it.

    however, i am still enjoying the instrumental songs ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. 26 Devi

    I honestly don’t think the BOF OST is that horrible. I mean songs like “One More Time” by tree bicycles and “A little” by Seo Ji Young, which IMO are probably the best songs on the ost, barely get much screen time in favor of the cheesier, teeny-bopper songs like “Stand by Me” and “Paradise.” But I’ve kind of grown to like “Paradise,” especially when it starts playing during the most absurdly non-paradise like situations, i.e., like the F3 rescue scene in episode 13…I start giggling for all the wrong reasons, lol. I’d totally be lmao off if they somehow managed to work “almost paradise” in any of the scenes between JP and the fiancee.

    @ lovenyc52: i agree. the instrumentals are quite lovely. i wish they’d play the instrumental versions of “Lucky” and “Because I’m Stupid” instead.

  27. 27 lenrasoon

    “Almost paradise” is better (or less worse lol) than “Lucky” i can’t remember who sings this…but yeah Lucky is far more irritating to me….

    and i think that Oh Joon-sung won’t take these critics seriously ’cause of the popularity of the songs, so we’ll be hearing *and pulling our hair off* a lot of “Almost Paradise” in every single scene till the end.

  28. 28 lisa


    I just wish there were more instrumental songs used. All of the pop songs sound the same; it’s hard to tell where one begins and one ends sometimes!

    btw, I think I also hate Lucky more than almost paradise. At least A.P. is laughable…I just cringe at Lucky.

    I love the F4 theme, the instrumental almost paradise, whatever they call it. It’s freaking awesome, I wish they had more like it. …But why isn’t that one on the soundtrack?

  29. 29 chasen8888

    A song is suppose to complement the scene is the drama not overshadow it or make it loses its depth. Thats what the overplaying of BBF OST is doing. We all like the music, but its usually played at the wrong scene in the show or overplayed or its the wrong song. BBF needs a new OST, not overplayed and at the right part in the show. Right now we are all getting tired of ALMOST PARADISE and LUCKY which is overplayed just as much. Sometimes you do not need music in the show to get the depth and story across, maybe at the end & the beginning. But I think the composer is either not listening to the fans, does not understand the reason for the complaints or is just plain tone deaf.

  30. 30 catherine

    i like the soundtrack, i dont LOVE it but it think it fits the korean version. and paradise, i like it, i think it makes it more…. laughable i guess you could say.

  31. 31 Mo108

    I can’t help but think that perhaps the musical director’s hand has been forced, to an extent, at least in the songs or groups of songs to choose from. I mean, what reason to choose SS501 and T-Max other than the fact that two of the main actors are in those groups: e.g. You can imagine KHJ’s Manager saying, “You can have KHJ in your show, on the condition that you play SS501 songs… etc.” That aside. I still don’t think there is any excuse or even any good reason for the songs to be overused as they are, or placed in inappropriate points.

    I totally agree with you, Empress, that there should be more musical scores… where the musical director can really spread out and get right into the heart and intensity of the scene–adding another dimension to whatever is happening ont he screen, rather than almost contradicting or negating it. There has been some ‘variation-on-a-theme’ type of thing in the show (e.g. the theme for Ji-hoo’s sad, brooding moments being the opening of that SS501 song, or a slow, introspective version of “Paradise”). But yeah, more original scores would be great too, especially if they are used to enhance the emotion, rather than provide a counterpoint to it.

    Still, there’s no reason why pop songs shouldn’t work as part of a soundtrack–I mean, from waaay back when, say, the soundtrack for the movie “Easy Rider” was one of the first (if notthe first) mainstream movie not to have a film score but just a collection of songs from the director’s record collection, and it seemed to work perfectly. Sometimes, hearing “aaalmost paaaradiiise” in this drama feels like the equivalent of having clown music during a violent mafia scene…

    Variety IS the spice of life… and knowing HOW and WHERE to use the materials you have (no matter how good or bad those materials may be in the eyes and ears of the audience) is the mark of a successful interpretation of an artistic vision into reality.

  32. 32 Mo108

    @ Stella: “Almost Paradise should be sentenced to 20 yrs to life.”

    HAHAHA! Genius! I would add “in solitary confinement” too. Maybe being isolated in total darkness it will have some kind of visionary moment or spiritual awakening, and emerge a totally different song. Kind of like a butterfly in a cocoon….

    …and then the musical director can find a new inappropriate point to use it ๐Ÿ˜›

  33. 33 anner

    i’m in love with the ending song though aka the theme song for Ji-Hoo.

  34. 34 iluvdramas

    i’m actually wondering how many songs they have in the soundtrack itself. because in my head i can only remember this song and allllllmooooostttttt paraaaaaaaadiiiiise!

    i agree almost paradise doesnt improve the fighting scenes with the thugs in the macau for the audience at all. its like ………..what?!!!

    why bother making the cd when there is only 2 songs?

  35. 35 Mo108

    On the bright side… maybe with the DVD release, the songs will be different (which often happens, due to copyrights, etc). Maybe they’ll get a new musical director to do it, or have something like an ‘alternate soundtrack’ option as a feature…. and then we all wake up, still singing “Paradise,” “Lucky,” and “Because I’m Dumb” ๐Ÿ˜›

  36. 36 Yin



    The use of adagio in with amusement WAS FAIL TOO.

    The Man needs to be shot.

  37. 37 Anonymous

    it is for that exact same excuse that everybody’s been complaining about the music. we all know the significance/importance of the song to the drama. korea has tons of songs.he doesn’t even need to turn to american music to find songs that would better suit the drama.

    he is just oh so fortunate that the drama’s a hit.

  38. 38 ...

    i can take the other songs, its just almost paaaaaaaaaradise is sooooooo annoying!!!! it will be good to hear/see new songs… thank god!

  39. 39 lyn

    this is the first time ever, I have not downloaded the Ost of a Kdrama that I’m watching. BOF ost is just downright awful. It’s even painful to listen to. I’m sorry, he should be fired by now.

  40. 40 Bisquit

    Apparently the tracklist is:


    01 ํŒŒ๋ผ๋‹ค์ด์Šค(๊ฝƒ๋ณด๋‹ค ๋‚จ์žOST ๋ฉ”์ธ ํ…Œ๋งˆ) – ํ‹ฐ๋งฅ์Šค(T-Max)
    02 ๋‚ด ๋จธ๋ฆฌ๊ฐ€ ๋‚˜๋น ์„œ – SS501
    03 ์•Œ๊ณ ์žˆ๋‚˜์š” – Someday
    04 Stand By Me – ์ƒค์ด๋‹ˆ(SHINee)
    05 Lucky – Ashily
    06 ๋ณ„๋น›๋ˆˆ๋ฌผ – ๊น€์œ ๊ฒฝ(Kim Yoo Kyung)
    07 ์กฐ๊ธˆ์€(๊ฝƒ๋ณด๋‹ค ๋‚จ์žOST ์‚ฝ์ž…๊ณก) – ์„œ์ง„์˜(Seo Jin Young)
    08 One More Time – ๋‚˜๋ฌด์ž์ „๊ฑฐ(Tree Bicycle)
    09 I Know (Saxophone Inst.) – ์ด์ •์‹(Lee Jung Sik)
    10 Dance with me (Inst.)
    11 Blue Flower (Inst.)
    12 So sad (Inst.)
    13 Opening Title(ํŒŒ๋ผ๋‹ค์ด์Šค intro) – ํ‹ฐ๋งฅ์Šค(T-Max)

    I only recognize one and that Almost Paradise (….) and to be honest, I HATE LUCKY >:O
    I mean, Almost Paradise is just annoying overplayed, but just listening to it alone other than watching BOF is okay……
    But lucky is purely horrid X___X

  41. 41 hjkomo

    Sarah, let’s send Mr. Oh the Return of Iljimae OST and some pointers on the appropriate use of musical score. Buahaha… ๐Ÿ˜›

  42. 42 lmh

    there is one song played….i don’t know the title…but it just reminds me of MY GIRL every time i hear it! it goes like, “I’LL BE WAITING FOR YOU…..” and it was played a lot in episode 14.
    the melody is almost exactly like the song in my girl…….i mean, really! has anyone else noticed this? however, i LUVED the music in my girl…everything fit really well and the story was so cute.

  43. 43 lmh

    ahh never mind…it is the one played above…..just listen to it.
    โ€œ๋ณ„๋น›๋ˆˆ๋ฌผโ€ (Starlight tears)

    it sounds like this song from my girl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErAzCznGEKk

    the music from my girl was soo good tho, i thought.

  44. 44 mehreen

    i wish they would stick to instrumentals….because if you’re going to have horrible lyrics, then at least soften the blow by just putting on the music..quietly…

  45. 45 reverie

    almost suck is more appropriate…..LOL…
    no matter what he said, well…..we knew it’s reaaaaalllyyy unenjoyable
    (have anyone see the preview of eps.15 yet? where Junpyo mistook his ‘fiance’ for jandi? the BGM…….hilarious…… he did it again, totally unfit for the scene)

    I learn to ignore the music, mostly just enjoying Minhoo and Kibum act. ^_^

  46. 46 Kimche

    The fact that Oh needs to explain his music choices should clue him in that he made the wrong choices.

  47. 47 ann

    I actually think the song starlight tears is a pretty nice song, but it does not go at all with the main couple. The song is perfect for a more dramatic/tragedy drama. I understand his got to defend his side, but the choice of music and when to use it its terrible. It almost seems like the songs are played randomly at whatever time in whatever scene. Usually songs enhance scenes/ relationships and on BFF it seems to hurt the story. Im not even going to mention Paradise, we all know what catastrophe that has been for the drama. The only downside to My girl, was the music and here we have it again.
    If only we had the music director from que sera sera/ soulmate.

  48. 48 Lorie

    I actually like the song Starlight Tears..

    it is so sad that’s why I like it…

    but for the rest of the songs, blegh~ I can’t stand to listen to it..

    I downloaded the OST and it is nice to listen~just once…I’ll listen to it once and I’ll never listen to it again (particularly paradise)

    I even hate it more when it is used in the drama..blegh!

    @43. lmh
    hmmm….at some points probably they are somewhat similar..and that is also my favorite song in my girl..^_^

  49. 49 Mrs Su Iskandar

    The OST just debuted in Singapore yesterday and I had to go to a local korean radio to get my hand on it! Viola…. Despite the language barrier, understanding the tunes and what they are trying to express, I kindda like the sountrack b’coz of Starlight Tears…. As for the rest of the tracks, there are a couple exceptional ones….. Agreed! Almost Paradise is really sickening when we hear it for more than twice. Love the freebies tooo!
    It would be great if they have some scene of the cast voices sync to some of the tracks just to make it more interesting for example the Coffee Prince OST… That is another of my important possession!
    I appreciate anything that comes out of BOF! Thank you so much


  50. 50 Kim

    oh geez…I thought that Starlight Tears is actually one of the better songs on the soundtrack…I LOVE IT!

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