Soundtrack #2 – the second in Disney+’s Soundtrack anthology series – chronicles the entangled lives of Hyun-seo (Keum Sae-rok) and Soo-ho (Noh Sang-hyun), who found each other through their shared love for music as students. They were both part of a small, college band: her as their main vocalist, and him as their keyboardist.
Of course, college flings hardly ever last, and theirs was no exception. Hyun-seo gives up on her aspirations to become a musician in favour of the stable income of being a piano tutor. Meanwhile, Soo-ho went down the corporate route and climbed up the ladder to become a CEO, though beset by the burdens of his own success. In a twist of fate, their paths cross once more, and the intense chemistry and romantic tension they once shared is rekindled.
Soundtrack #2 then unfolds as a poignant tale that unearths the power of time as a healing force, the pressures and hardships that come with growing up and the effect of personal growth on interpersonal relationships. It is also incredibly satisfying for the ex-lovers to be drawn back to each other through their shared passion for music, especially after the first season largely used music as a plot device to get the protagonists of Soundtrack #1 to spend time together.
The continuation of the Soundtrack series as an anthology is quite interesting, especially in the world of K-dramas. We’ve seen a lot of second seasons produced to keep fans satiated, but this is one of the few sequels that feel like they make an impact on the world the series has built, rather than being mere fan service.
As with the first season, Soundtrack #2 forgoes the dramatics for a simpler story and a more artistic treatment of its dialogue and cinematography, which were what made the first season so appealing in the first place. However, this follow-up falls short of the standards its predecessor has set – one might argue it may even have emerged as a mere shadow of it.
The magic that made Soundtrack #1 so beloved sometimes peeks through in Soundtrack #2, but there’s a hollowness to it – one that can be attributed to the lack of chemistry between its two leads. While both Keum Sae-rok and Noh Sang-hyun are adept actors in their own respects, their on-screen dynamic and the veracity of their connection as soulmates fail to convince. Noh in particular feels a lot more rigid than his female counterpart, although tsundere lovers may argue otherwise.
That said, the six-episode season – on its own – is one of the more heartfelt romances we’ve had this year. It might not reach the bar Soundtrack #1 set, but that begs the question: Does it have to? Despite its issues, Soundtrack #2 still has a lot going for it, and that may already be well worth the watch.
Soundtrack #2 is available to stream on Disney+