K-pop’s original dance floor diva, Uhm Jung Hwa was crafting classic club music at a time when the trend favored hip-hop and ballads. She’s beloved within the industry, and the inspiration for countless female artists and girl group members that grew up watching her stylish music videos. Add to that one of the genre’s most instantly recognizable voices and you have the makings of a true k-pop legend.
10. Watch Me Move (2016)
A rallying cry to fans both past and current, Watch Me Move‘s electronic throb offers an icy contrast to Jung Hwa’s impassioned vocals. (full review)
9. Poison (1998)
Poison layers an added dose of pathos on top of Jung-Hwa’s already potent 90’s techno dance, resulting in a dynamic, ever-shifting arrangement.
8. Escape (2000)
Deepening her sound with a modernized take on dance music, Escape offers a robust synth riff and thumping chorus augmented by an unexpected dose of Spanish guitar.
7. Rose Of Betrayal (1997)
Opening with a literal shriek, Rose‘s insistent, brass-fueled beat supports the swirling elasticity of the song’s frenzied chorus.
6. Festival (1999)
Quickly becoming a summertime k-pop staple, Festival borrows heavily from retro trot influences to create an effortlessly fun sing-along.
5. I Don’t Know (1999)
Moving from 90’s club to straight-up techno, I Don’t Know captivates with its commanding, high-energy chorus and roiling synths.
4. D.I.S.C.O (ft. TOP) (2008)
Likely the song most modern k-pop fans would associate with Jung Hwa, the retro synth beat of D.I.S.C.O is the perfect blend of her dancefloor prowess and YG Entertainment’s hip-hop style.
3. Dreamer (2016)
A late career resurgence, the hypnotic Dreamer proves that Jung Hwa’s music remains potent at any age. It’s a gorgeous blend of synth-dripped electronica and strings-driven elegance. (full review)
2. Invitation (1998)
As her first title track to flirt with a slinkier, mid-tempo sound, Invitation quickly became one of Jung Hwa’s signature hits. Her performance has rarely sounded more charismatic or assertive, despite maintaining its barely-above-a-whisper cool.
1. Sad Expectations (1996)
Pulsing forward on a guitar-and-piano assisted 90’s dance beat, Sad Expectations flawlessly set the stage for the years of club tracks that would follow. It’s not only her first major mainstream hit, but also the rare song that endures as both a defining product of its era and a timeless pop moment.