Soundtrack #1 is a beautiful story of friendship and romance. It’s a simple concept in truth, but one that’s executed with panache and style. This is a short but effective Korean drama and one that makes the absolutely most of its limited screen-time to leave you wanting more every step of the way.
Streaming on Disney+ in select regions (thanks for that limited availability Disney), Soundtrack #1 brings together two best friends who have shared their lives with one another since high school.
Eun-Soo is a bubbly, lively personality and she makes her living working as a lyricist. Opposite her happens to be Sun-Woo, a rookie photographer. Both of these kind souls find themselves struggling to make it big, while supporting one another the whole time.
When Sun-Woo moves in with Eun-Soo for 2 weeks, the pair find their relationship naturally evolve from friendship to romance… but will they manage to embrace their feelings? Or keep that hidden in favour of their careers and current friendship?
The set-up is incredibly simple and with such rock-solid foundation, it allows Soundtrack #1 to actually explore a couple of supporting characters at the same time. Don’t be fooled though; with only 4 episodes this is very much the Sun-Woo and Eun-Soo show.
Those aforementioned players happen to be Ma-Ri and Gyeol-Han, who work to juxtapose the two best friends. They have a turbulent marriage and a very up-and-down relationship. Despite that though, they embody exactly what both our leads want and by the end, we do get a definitive answer over whether they end up together or not.
No spoilers here but Soundtrack #1 rounds out its story beautifully. In fact, this drama is best compared to a riveting short story. You’re captured by the words and the emotions, stringing you along to the end but then you’re surprised to find it over just as quickly as you began. But would the story have been more effective told over a longer period of time?
The four episode run is ultimately both the best and worst part of this drama. On the one hand, the story doesn’t waste a second of its run-time, getting in and out while telling its story effectively and with a lot of neat visual cues and a solid OST to boot. At the same time though, there aren’t enough episodes to flesh out all the supporting characters, with a couple feeling very one-note.
That’s also an issue that extends across to the actual pacing too, which is largely spot on but at a few instances could have done with a bit more time to flesh out the characters and the setting.
As an example of this, late on one of the characters heads abroad but they’re literally gone for half an episode before returning. With a few more episodes, we perhaps could have been graced with understanding the yearning and wanting from that other character (I’m being careful not to spoil anything here!) but the show doesn’t quite manage to do that.
Still, it’s hard not to like what Soundtrack #1 offers. It’s a simple, effective drama and a good gateway into Korean content if you’ve never watched one of these dramas before. (I still stand by that Crash Landing on You is the best one to start with!) With good writing, strong characters and a couple of excellent songs on the OST, Soundtrack #1 stays in-key and delivers its four track ensemble with beautiful grace. This is definitely one of the better dramas of 2022.
Verdict - 8/10