Lim Mi Hyun, Yoon Chae Young, Milo-Park Sang Woo, Park Jung Eun, Shin Hyun Phil, Choi Jung In and Kim Yeon Jung

" Despite, the coherence, there is also a sense of that each of them wrote the music rather randomly "

Written by Joep de Bruijn - Review of the download only release

Meonigeim (Money Game) is a South Korean 2020 financial drama TV series broadcasted by tvN. The series tells the story of three government employees who set out to prevent another financial crisis.

The series of Meonigeim attracted a team of people, Lim Mi Hyun, Yoon Chae Young, Milo-Park Sang Woo, Park Jung Eun, Shin Hyun Phil, Choi Jung In and Kim Yeon Jung, to write several cues each, all coming from a background as a musician, singer or actor. In a similar line up, they also created the scores to the TV series Melloga chejil (Be Melodramatic), Watcheo (Watcher) The Guest, Miss Lee and Gungmin Yeoreobun (My Fellow Citizens), sharing a certain kind of music formula which they apply on each of these projects. It is hard to distinguish their individual musical voice, often interchanging musical ideas and sharing an overarching musical palette, ensuring quite a coherent score. Despite, the coherence, there is also a sense of that each of them wrote the music rather randomly, often relying on constantly moving pieces of mood, most of the times devoid of actual dramatic progression, revealing their lack of being a 'trained' composer. It has become a common practice, which is not to say it isn't functional, or enjoyable on a basic level, because it is.

The musical palette consists mostly of an array of electronic effects, which can be beats, atmospheric waves, processed sounds, while not neglecting the use of a real piano, cello and (bass) strings. What is remarkable is how diverse and how deviating the digital elements are, from cheapish (´old-fashioned´ low budget TV music) to sufficient, including retro synths, a variety of bleeps, ticks and percussion, electric guitars, muddled atmosphere sounds and so on. Rules of the Game includes processed piano, different kind of electronic percussion and atmosphere, and is unremarkable and not very artistically, but effective in setting a mood for the series, which summarize the majority of the music. Similarly, regardless of my critical assessment, other music shows how some digital sounds, sometimes basically a few mediocre clicks, beats and atmosphere, can become rather valuable musical ways to create a certain desired effect. Unfortunately, at times they are more distracting than functional, as heard in the unearthed bleeps in Away and the terrible retro synthesizers in Start the War. From an independent listening experience, they are unbearable, just as they are puzzling in the context of their respective episodes of the series. Also, Under Water and several other cues feature obvious, untroubled temp track influences.

In contrast to the artificial sense of the financial world, the dramatic heart is felt through the use of touching bass strings, cello and piano, sometimes processed and sometime in a hybrid with the digital sounds. Lim Hing Young' cue Conviction is a great dramatic piece of driving (bass) strings, piano and cello only, which is continued in the equally moving Tragic by Park Jung Eun, including a lyrically tragic cello solo. They are noteworthy pieces followed by two more first class pieces, both composed by Yoon Chae Young; Exposed admirably fuses strings with ambient digital sounds and Truth is an emotive cue for solo piano. The live instruments are heard elsewhere in the score, but they are no more than effective novelties compared to these pieces of fine music.

South Korean televisions series have a wealth of great scores to offer, at least a few dozen I could think of straight away, including works like Lee Kyung Sub - Romangseu to Se-Hyeon Im - Dae Jang Geum, though I generally receive them with mixed feelings. Meonigeim features moments of first class material, but mostly effective, small-time enjoyable music and sometimes even unbearable music.

1. Fallin' Elaine 3:08
2. Higher Hajin 4:03
3. Don't Echae Kang 3:59
4. Don't (Acoustic Version) Echae Kang 3:46
5. Fallin' (Original) Elaine 1:06
6. Conviction Lim Mi Hyun 3:30
7. Rules of the Game Kim Yeon Jung 3:00
8. Underwater Milo-Park Sang Woo 2:39
9. Bleeding Yoon Chae Young 2:21
10. Tragic Park Jung Eun 3:04
11. Go Milo-Park Sang Woo 1:57
12. Clock Choi Jung In 1:49
13. Exposed Yoon Chae Young 2:38
14. Appear Park Jung Eun 3:08
15. Coax Lim Mi Hyun 3:12
16. Choral Yoon Chae Young 3:03
17. Face Off Milo-Park Sang Woo 2:16
18. Strange Kim Yeon Jung 3:02
19. Faith Yoon Chae Young 2:28
20. See Park Jung Eun 3:19
21. Start the War Shin Hyun Phil 3:06
22. Tears Park Jung Eun 2:13
23. Insomnia Kim Yeon Jung & Choi Jung In 2:22
24. Truth Kim Yeon Jung 4:09
25. Currency Exchange Shin Hyun Phil 1:11

Total duration: 70:28

(written 30-03-2020)
(click to rate this score)  
(total of 3 votes - average 1.17/5)

Released by

Genie Music (download only release 2020)