Dramas weren’t a big part of my K-pop/J-pop consumption until last year, so I was mostly immune to OST hits. That’s still the case for Korean soundtracks, which don’t often double as promoted title tracks. But in Japan, nearly every single is a tie-in with a drama, anime or commercial. It’s a wonderfully symbiotic relationship, and if you’re a fan of an artist and the drama they’re connected to (or acting in), the complete package becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
Such is the case with Snow Man’s Secret Touch. I’m not usually interested in mid-tempo ballads like this, but the song has been rattling around my head for over a month now. It helps that I’ve become a huge fan of Snow Man themselves. I find them infinitely charming, with music that’s fun and lively and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Secret Touch is one of two soundtrack songs for drama Kieta Hatsukoi, co-starring the group’s Meguro Ren. It’s the moodier and more emotional of the dual OSTs, and the first time Snow Man have promoted a song this subdued.
Secret Touch is all about its melody. The production is standard pop slow burn, nudged along by soft strings and twinkling keys. But, the track has great build – especially during the pre-chorus. Then, we hit Secret Touch’s big refrain – the one that refuses to leave my memory. I’m not sure what it is about this chorus. Maybe it’s just because I’ve heard it replayed so often throughout the drama. But, the melody has such satisfying lift. It’s not overblown, nor unexpected, but the tune envelops the listener with gentle phrasing that perfectly matches the evocative sound. A second-verse switch-up keeps the rhythm fresh, but Secret Touch isn’t too interested in experimentation. It simply delivers upon the expectations of a knockout boy group ballad. Sometimes that simplicity ends up being quite refreshing.