Japanese ren’ai dorama, a television genre of contemporary love stories that gained popularity domestically and regionally in the 1990s, has exhibited close affinity with the music genre J-Pop, which emerged in the same decade. The commercially viable J-Pop genre supplied theme songs and soundtracks to ren’ai dorama, infusing the television genre with a chic, upbeat, and romantic quality. Despite J-Pop’s dominant role, other music genres have informed the aesthetics and sensibilities of ren’ai dorama. This article presents a case study of alternative music and soundtrack choices in the same production context. Specifically, the study examined dramas produced by scriptwriter Nojima Shinji and Tokyo Broadcasting System in-house producer Ito Kazuhiro. Their collaborated works mobilized classic Japanese and Western hit songs from the 1960s and 1970s to underscore the emotional subjectivity of adolescent youths. Rather than pursuing romantic expectations as encouraged by J-Pop, their love stories sought to affirm an empathetic aesthetic that also contributed to this cultural form.