The music on 005.1999.06 largely follows the dance pop stylings that Uhm Jung Hwa practiced on 後愛, running a gamut of pop genres. At its peak, 005.1999.06 matches that previous album, but 005.1999.06 struggles with having its album tracks be particularly memorable even if certainly listenable in sequence.
The album certainly opens with a bang, the house-style vocals, four-to-the-floor bass thumping alongside those '90's dance synths of "몰라" laying the groundwork for Uhm to transition from verse to yet another catchy chorus led by the title words. A product of Clon songwriter-producer Gim Changhwan, it bears all of that groups trademark style except adjusted for the main vocalist to be Uhm Jung Hwa. I heard this song playing all the time when I was in Korea in 1999.
The other single that was all over the place that summer was "Festival", a bright summer party song by Ju Yeonghun, who was also known for producing some of Turbo's hits. The song is punched by horns and perky vocals from Uhm as well as the constant presence of handclaps. It's an infectious, but lightweight tune, that wins by the merit of its chorus and extremely positive outlook.
But the whole first half of the album all works quite well. The second track, "유리의 성", from mega-hit songwriter Yun Ilsang even changes up the expected sound by opening with and accentuating the track with a classical guitar, a cool bass line driven that keeps Uhm singing on an even keel, moments of brightness coming from oscillating pitch on the chorus. It's a surprisingly sedate track and one that even breaks the mold, though it doesn't quite have the hooks to make residence in one's ear. In that sense, it's a solid album track that links together the hits and adds texture to the overall listen.
Also adding texture (and classical guitar) is "Scarlet", another Ju Yeonghun joint that registers a speedier BPM and takes Uhm's voice into her comfortable dance rhythms. It not a hit, but 005.1999.06 does actually boast a third track that could be considered a single, "Remote Control & Manicure", which half sounds like it's going to be an Ace of Base track because of the hollow synth and reggae rhythm arrangement. It drifts off into its own identity thanks to its more original songwriting and shows Uhm Jung Hwa working well in a slower paced pop environment, but I think part of what made it work so well is that arrangement.
In fact, Uhm also performs pretty well in the ballads she has on 005.1999.06, holding her own across from her duet partner Jeong Jaehyeong on "긴 오후" and even finding a good, not overly sappy solo ballad with "나눌 수 없는 사랑". Both of these works are fairly predictable, but Uhm Jung Hwa's music doesn't win because it surprises us, rather it gives us highly polished pop formulas.
And that's pretty much what 005.1999.06 is. A stable of top Korean songwriters makes sure that even the album tracks are all quite enjoyable and Uhm improves on her ballad singing so that even those have become stronger on this album. The hits are solid, though they don't quite have the drama factor of her past hits which makes them slightly less memorable. But only slightly. Even separated from the summer of 1999 by over a decade, I could still recall the choruses of both of 005.1999.06's singles. And with the album getting from start to end rather enjoyably, I'd have to say that Uhm Jung Hwa's fifth is a solid Korean pop album. 8/10
- 유리의 성
- 긴 오후
- 마지막 기회
- Remote Control & Manicure
- 내 안의 그대
- 나눌 수 없는 사랑