With the final episode of Heartstrings airing today at 2:30pm, I guess it’s safe for me to make my final verdict on this Korean Drama without getting my blog spammed with hate comments. I’ve seen this drama not so long ago when it first aired in Korea. So I find it interesting to note that the drama never really captivated me in a way that other dramas have. Nevertheless, when I was still watching it – I enjoyed it. The same way that I enjoy popcorn or cotton candy.
Heartstrings focuses on the story of two characters from diferent musical backgrounds. Kevin (played by Jung Yong-Hwa) is the lead vocalist of the band “The Stupid”. He is quite proud of their modern pop rock sound and is quite pissed off by the fact that most people see them only as an idol band with good-looking members.What he wants most in life is to live and breathe music and for people to take his music seriously.
On the other hand, Nicole (Park Shin-Hye) is the granddaughter of one of the top traditional Korean musicians. She plays the gayageum 가야금, a 12-stringed traditional Korean musical instrument. Because of her grandfather’s status, she has grown up under his strict tutelage to become a true traditional Korean musical prodigy. In a way, she is quite deprived socially so she seems awkward with forming relationships with others.
Their worlds collide when Kevin and Nicole end up insulting each other’s music. A showdown hereby ensues between the obvious crowd favorite The Stupid fronted by Kevin and the traditional Korean music club headed by Nicole. During the match-up, the traditional Korean music club almost outplayed The Stupid if it were not for the unfortunate broken-string accident with Nicole’s gayageum.
When Kevin sees that Nicole actuallly is quite serious in music, this perks up his interest in her. It doesn’t take long for the two to eventually start seeing each other in a different way – and there you go, a typical Korean drama love story.
What I love about Heartstrings is its dedication to its theme. The whole story is anchored on the musical theme. That’s why you have two musicians in the middle of the story. I think the title is quite appropriate, too because of how love is supposed to tug at the “heartstrings”. Cheesy I know but most romances are meant to be that way. I can imagine a whole slew of metaphors and idioms with musical references (i.e. making great music together, serenades, etc.) The title was actually suggested by a fan in a special contest hosted by the network producers of the Korean drama.
However, the original soundtrack of this drama is quite disappointing. Come on! You have a real musician/singer in teh cast and you can’t even come up with a decent theme song? I can’t even remember any songs from this. At least “You’re Beautiful” had a couple that I really loved.
In terms of acting, Park Shin-Hye is her usual bubbly self but for some reason her acting her feels no different from “You’re Beautiful”. I feel like I’m watching her “You’re Beautiful” finally hooking up with Yong-Hwa’s character from the same drama. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re a fan of the previous drama but if you’re looking for anything new or surprising – look elsewhere. At times, the way she portrays Nicole can even be downright worse than Go Mi-Nam. At least, Go Mi-Nam had spunk. This one is just blah.
Same goes with Yong-Hwa. He isn’t exactly one of my favorite idol-turned-actor although I had high wishes for his performance here since it’s not too far from his real world (hello, CN Blue!) and he’s had practice with “You’re Beautiful which is of a similar if not the same character. Let me just say that I’m a big fan of Yong-Hwa and all (I have all CN Blue albums!) but not of his acting. He is as lifeless as the plot of this story.
Which brings me to the main problem with this drama. The problem is there is no problem. There is no great conflict waiting to be resolved. There is no towering hurdle keeping our main protagonists apart. It’s easy and fun to watch Yong-Hwa and Shin-Hye fight and make up over the little things but once you’ve done watching it, it doesn’t really leave you with anything significant to remember or even feel about.
Sorry. No encore for me with this drama.
Thanks to AkoBudoyTube for the video.