When it comes to solo female artists in k-pop, few have become as iconic as HyunA. Rather than go down a cute, innocent route, she’s harnessed her own sexuality and charisma to cause a stir every time she releases new music. No one would classify her as a power vocalist, but her blend of hip-hop swagger and playful tone make her an impossibly magnetic character. Here are her best moments.
10. Morning Glory (ft. Qim Isle) (2016)
After a string of rap-heavy singles, Morning Glory strips things back for a loungy, electro soundscape that allows HyunA to shine a spotlight on her underutilized vocals.
9. How’s This? (2016)
Few artists could compete with a beat as overpowering as the one that drives How’s This. Its intense grumble of bass grabs attention as HyunA makes a case for getting lost in the music. (full review)
8. Change (2010)
For her first major solo outing, HyunA expanded on the already-successful girl crush sound of her group 4minute while spotlighting her own unique charisma.
7. Roll Deep (ft. Ilhoon) (2015)
HyunA unleashes a flurry of I’m-the-best braggadocio over a rumbling, bass-heavy instrumental that backs her up in convincing fashion.
6. Ice Cream (ft. Maboos) (2012)
Ice Cream’s bombastic stomp and addictive synth riff are the perfect match for HyunA’s flirtatious delivery, resulting in a track that doubles down on everything that makes her solo work so addictive.
5. 365 Fresh (with Hui & E’Dawn) (2017)
HyunA plays wonderfully off of male duet partners, and 365 Fresh’s addition of Hui and E’Dawn (both from Pentagon), marks a funky, charismatic offshoot of her Trouble Maker projects. (full review)
4. Bubble Pop (2011)
In many ways, Bubble Pop is the song that cemented HyunA’s solo career. It’s her most pop-oriented release, melding a shout-along power pop hook with an upbeat, hiccupy instrumental.
3. Now (There Is No Tomorrow) (with Jang Hyunseung) (2013)
The second entry for sub-unit Trouble Maker, Now’s moody melody and cinematic atmosphere casts HyunA and Hyunseung as dysfunctional lovers over a sweeping backdrop of strings and dance beats.
2. Red (2014)
The pinnacle of HyunA’s later, more attitude-driven work. Red takes a Korean nursery-rhyme and fuses it onto a near-perfect mix of trap-influenced hip-hop and gorgeously melodic pre-chorus. Red feels like HyunA through and through. Playful, sexy and totally ear-catching.
1. Trouble Maker (with Jang Hyunseung) (2011)
In one of k-pop’s most brilliant ideas, Trouble Maker brings together HyunA and Hyunseung (then, a part of boy group Beast) for a truly iconic moment. From the opening whistle refrain to the nimble chorus and dynamic, ever-changing verses, the song is part of k-pop history for a reason.