Sunao ni Narenakute OST Review
I am one of those people who enjoy watching soppy jdramas and I recently picked this one up partly because I like that actress in the middle but mostly because I was bored. From the very first episode, the soundtrack blew me away as being both appropriate for the scenes they were played in and also the instrumentals were of a standard far above the normal jdrama fare. Of course, being the type to search out and obtain whole osts to collect on my harddrive, I then scoured the interwebs high and low for the Sunao ni Narenakute OST. My quest was arduous and wrought with frustration but eventually I realized that this jdrama did not have an ost in the traditional sense. Instead, there would be songs taken from Love Actually (Craig Armstrong) and The Holiday (Hans Zimmer). It seems like not all the instrumentals have been identified and there is one piano track that I have been unable to find anywhere so if a kind soul could shine some light on this mystery that is the sunanare ost, please do! Apart from instrumentals, the jdrama’s OP is Great DJ by the Ting Tings, ED is Hard to Say I Love You by WEAVER, and insert songs are Sunao ni Narenakute by Sugawara Sayuri and Hard to Say I’m Sorry by Chicago.
Just briefly on the show itself, the synopsis is as follows – running guy likes taking photos, said guy uses twitter and chats to a bunch of others who all live in same area. Shocked-looking girl was eating in same cafe as running guy and while twittering accidentally spills coffee on running guy’s pants. She proceeds to clean his crotch area and then guy calls her pervert, there is amusing banter and eventually they leave the cafe hating each other. Shocked-looking girl just so happens to be running guy’s twitter friend but they don’t know. In the meantime, over twitter they decide to meet up at a bar later that evening so shocked girl brings her best friend and arrive early after putting on makeup and complaining about various issues such as how her eyes are not big and cute. Sissy looking korean shows up along with that other guy, followed by running guy. There is shock and horror as running girl realizes who shocked girl is but everything smoothens out and the band of 5 become friends. What goes on later is the usual random romance pairings between the 5, exposure of dirty little secrets, along with the expected hospital scenes and so on. IN SUMMARY, this jdrama wasn’t all that special.
These 2 American movies are where most of the instrumental pieces played in Sunanare come from. “Glasgow Love Theme” and “Portugese Love Theme” from Love Actually composed by Craig Armstrong both have very distinctive tunes and are slightly melancholic, soft and romantic with slow buildups that eventually lead to a climax and gentle conclusion. Having only noticed these songs in Sunanare first, they don’t seem out of place at all, but I imagine that many die hard Love Actually fans would strongly disagree with me.
Tracks from The Holiday composed by Hans Zimmer tend to be played in the more ‘pedestrian’ scenes such as when running guy is running, shocked girl is shocked, sissy korean is sissy, and other guy is meh. Although this may have sounded like a derogatory comment, it is not – Hans Zimmer’s The Holiday songs set the main ‘theme’ and mood, so to speak, for the entire series. All of the tracks that were played in Sunanare were gentle and soothing, some lighthearted, some sad and some celebratory, each just as epic as the other. There is one standout though – “Maestro”. This song has a soft buildup, strong climax, gentle finish and the pleasant inherent anthem which weaves itself throughout that makes it an automatic WIN for me (examples of other such tracks are “On Your Mark” from Gundam Unicorn and “Fureai” from RxJ). Hans Zimmer’s compositions seem to translate to oriental theatre very well and yet again, in my opinion, The Holiday interfaces with Sunanare almost seamlessly.
For completeness, I shall mention that “Riots” from Slumdog Millionaire and “Fight Song” by The Republic Tigers also found their way into the Sunanare OST. I did not find either of these songs particularly interesting enough to write much about as although they did their job, they were jarring and unusual.
In an attempt to integrate the lyrics of a Western song into the plot of Sunanare, the scriptwriters decided to use Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” whose title and chorus roughly translated does match part of the title of the show which is what the ragtag 5 decide to call their little group. This song is a classic in the English-speaking world but I felt that it wasn’t able to integrate itself into the show nearly as well as it was meant to. The style of music as well as the placement of the song was just too purposeful and poorly executed. Another Western song that featured in Sunanare was “Maybe Tomorrow” by Stereophonics from Smallville. I found this to be one of those songs that are inserted into a japanese production for the sake of trying to be cool. Very commonly done in the jdrama world and somewhat unsurprising but I am unable to appreciate it. The song itself is decent but lies outside of my tastes.
The insert song I did notice and found worthy of obtaining was “Sunao ni Narenakute” by Sugawara Sayuri. Her mellow vocals together with the warm instrumental backing complemented the show’s mood (set by Hans Zimmer’s tracks from The Holiday) very well. As my understanding of the Japanese language is miniscule, I cannot decipher the lyrics but the general feel I get from this song certainly ties in successfully with the scenes in which it was played and from now on, memories of Sunanare will pop up in my head whenever I hear this. Jdrama aside, this song is definitely one that I will keep and load onto my ipod – something I reserve only for standout vocal songs and excellent instrumentals.
WEAVER’s “Hard to Say I Love You” is the ED of Sunanare and is the only track which has an anxious tension to it. Undoubtedly, this almost always plays when running guy is desperately running – something that happens quite often. Due to how often it is played, I came to accept that this song is part of what makes Sunanare what it is but on its own, it isn’t bad. I like the idea of replacing the traditional lead guitar with a lead piano and WEAVER manages to pull it off with flair. That lead singer really can play the piano (which is always good).
Overall, this was a totally awesome and unforgettable collection of songs. The journey of discovering them was long and difficult but whenever I watched an episode of Sunanare, the motivation to continue the search came back. Notably, this is a very good example of how Western music can succeed in oriental productions. Mechapot gives this OST a 3.5 out of 5 – standout compilation but not without its weaknesses.