Soundtrack #1 is about unrequited love between two best friends

Han So-hee as Lee Eun-soo and Park Hyung-sik as Han Sun-woo in Soundtrack #1. (Screenshot: Disney+)
Han So-hee as Lee Eun-soo and Park Hyung-sik as Han Sun-woo in Soundtrack #1. (Screenshot: Disney+)

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Soundtrack #1 is the latest Korean drama offered on Disney+, which has been expanding its audience base with K-dramas like Snowdrop and Grid.

The first episode just greeted us yesterday (23 March). Here’s what to know about the romance drama that touches on the concept of music:

1. Park Hyung-sik plays a rookie photographer Han Sun-woo.

Park Hyung-sik, who starred in the zombie apocalypse drama Happiness (2021), portrays a photographer Han Sun-woo in Soundtrack #1. Similar to his character Jung Yi-hyun in Happiness, Sun-woo is soft-spoken but warm-hearted.

Possibly due to his unrequited love for his longtime friend Lee Eun-soo, the photos he takes exude a sense of melancholia and loneliness. Through his subtle expressions, Sun-woo reveals the unspoken feelings that are oh-so-obvious for the audience, but not perceived at all by Eun-soo.

One of his memorable lines epitomises his unrequited feelings, “The sad part is not being able to do anything about it. It’s my own heart. Yet I have no control over how I feel. Nothing goes according to my volition. Love, you can spit out, at least. But when it’s one-sided, you have to swallow it and keep it in.”

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2. Han So-hee is a lyricist Lee Eun-soo.

Han So-hee, known for starring in the action crime thriller My Name (2021) and romance drama Nevertheless (2021), plays the role of lyricist Lee Eun-soo in Soundtrack #1. As she needs help to write lyrics, she invites Sun-woo to stay with her and be her assistant for two weeks. Although Sun-woo is initially reluctant, he eventually agrees.

Having been friends with Sun-woo for almost two decades — 19 years to be exact — their ambiguous relationship hovers between that of best friends and lovers. Sun-woo is also evidently important to Eun-soo, who explained why she would not date him, “Because we can never break up. If we don’t want to ever break up, we have to remain friends forever. If we date and ever break up, then how am I supposed to live? I can’t.”

3. There are only four episodes.

Strangely different from the other K-dramas, Soundtrack #1 only has a quarter of the usual 16 episodes. On the surface, it may feel like having relatively fewer episodes will make the drama more superficial. But with the pace the first episode has set, it seems they are on track to illustrate a thorough love story in four episodes.

In a way, you can see it as a really long movie. If you wait for all episodes to be released and binge-watch in one sitting, it will only take about three hours to finish — assuming each episode runs about 45 minutes.

4. It starts with a bittersweet vibe.

The drama is set in the chilly winter, with cosy orange-yellow lights indoors contrasting with the beautiful snowy scenes. It accentuates the bittersweet vibes of unrequited love, highlighting the feelings of a wistful longing for companionship. Akin to the bleakness of winter, the platonic relationship between Sun-woo and Eun-soo seems to have been stagnant for years. But their cohabitation, which will last for two weeks, may end this harsh winter and invite the breeze of spring: the start of something new, the budding of a romantic relationship.

New episodes of Soundtrack #1 are available on Disney+ every Wednesday.

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