K-pop idol groups are a worldwide phenomenon, with millions of fans all over the world. The K-pop business has grown in popularity over the...
K-pop idol groups are a worldwide phenomenon, with millions of fans all over the world. The K-pop business has grown in popularity over the previous two decades, with groups like BTS and Blackpink breaking through barriers to attain worldwide fame.
Thanks to its peculiar blend of addictive songs, sleek choreography and production values, and an endless parade of handsome South Korean artists who spend years in harsh studio systems learning to sing and dance in synchronized perfection, K-pop has become a really worldwide phenomenon.
The Korean culture wave, also known as Hallyu, is a true force to be reckoned with. K-pop has evolved into nothing less than an art form since the early 1990s, and it has grown into an influential powerhouse throughout time. From groups such as Girls’ Generation and NCT 127 to BIGBANG and 2NE1, there’s a band out there to suit every taste.
That was done on purpose. K-pop artists are incredibly gifted as well as adaptable. Rap, bubblegum pop, ballads, and rock are just a few of the styles they can master. And, in the shape of their meticulously-crafted packaging, many of South Korea's most famous K-pop exports are wrapped in a brilliant, shimmering sugar coating; everything from costumes to hairstyles to overall images is carefully measured to construct a certain brand that will pull in droves of fans.
The Evolution of Girl Groups
Girl groups, in addition to BoA, were also gaining popularity. Girls' Generation, a glittering, glamorous vision of femininity with a number of subgroups and ridiculously catchy breakout songs like "Gee," became a viral sensation in 2009, spawning additional girl group concepts that would eventually give way to musicians like 2NE1 and Wonder Girls, and then modern-day K-pop groups like Red Velvet and Blackpink.
Wonder Girls joined the Jonas Brothers for the U.S. leg of the Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009 as an opener (with Jordin Sparks and Honor Society). This indicated that there were strategies in place to try to bring Korean musicians to a larger, global stage. The Wonder Girls didn't exactly catch on with Western audiences in the same way that singers like BTS would later on, but it was nevertheless a watershed moment in K-pop history at the time, and a big victory for American fans in terms of increasing visibility.
As K-pop musicians continued to refine and improve their craft, select artists' influence began to reverberate around the world, attracting a growing number of Western followers. With confident tunes like "I Am The Best" from hip hop/pop outfit 2NE1 and the equally sassy f(x) piquing curiosity from fans eager to hear something different than what was currently dominating the radio, the world of idols began to expand into the public consciousness.
One of K-most pop's memorable moments for Western viewers came from an unlikely source: Psy, a South Korean rapper. "Gangnam Style," the title single off his sixth studio album, went viral almost instantly, becoming the first YouTube video to exceed one billion views, beating even Justin Bieber's "Baby" as the most viewed video on the platform in 2012.
“Gangnam Style” spent five years racking up more than 3 billion views on YouTube, reigning as the most viewed video in the platform history before being dethroned in 2017.
Present day: BTS and more
Many will agree that the growth of K-pop has culminated in the triumph of one of South Korea's biggest superstars of all time: BTS. In both their home country and abroad, the chart-topping septet has broken records and stereotypes, paving the way for the K-pop industry as a whole. For example, BTS's album Love Yourself: Tear debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart in May 2018, demonstrating their clout, and the group was named one of Time's "25 Most Influential People on the Internet" in June 2018. Later that year, in September, the band's album Love Yourself: Answer debuted at number one on the same chart for the second time, proving that lightning can strike twice.
Heading toward 2022, the evolution of K-pop would mean increased inclusiveness, more unique storytelling and greater integration into lifestyles and brands
10 Popular K-Pop Artists over the Decade
Many K-pop groups have achieved worldwide popularity, both within and outside of the Korean music business. The following is a list of some of the most popular K-pop groups over the years:
Blackpink - a four-member K-pop group formed by YG Entertainment that merges hip-hop, trap, and electronic dance music (EDM) sounds with a fashionable, hip-hop inspired style. The group's signature light and dark themes, as well as the colors in their name, are reflected in their sounds, styling, and lyrics. The group debuted in 2016 and has since risen to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart as the highest-ranking K-pop female group.
BTS - This seven-member K-pop band debuted in 2013 and has since gone on to reach global recognition. The lads' shift to emotive and intimate lyrics improved their connection with younger audiences, despite the fact that it took them a long time to establish their feet. Their international fame soared after a 2017 performance at the American Music Awards, propelling them to fame across the United States.
EXO - The captivating songs of this nine-member South Korean-Chinese boy band incorporate pop, hip-hop, and house music. They became Japan's highest-selling artist of the year at the end of 2014, and by 2017, they had attained global success.
Girls Generation - Also known as SNSD, this Korean pop group was formed by SM Entertainment in 2002 and features eight members. Though their sound has varied over the years, it is often described as electro pop meets bubblegum pop.
PSY - Psy is a prominent Korean musician and rapper who broke records in 2013 with the success of his single "Gangnam Style" music video. His lyrics and performances are frequently satirical and humorous.
RED VELVET - This five-member lady group's sound is a combination of jazz and R&B, as well as hip-hop and techno noises. The animated depiction of the popular girl trio was featured in Trolls World Tour in 2020, along with their song "Russian Roulette."
Seo Taiji and Boys - This three-member band was active from the early 1990s until 1996, and their music was based on experimental Western melodies. They're frequently credited with being among the first to combine the hybrid sound of modern K-pop.
SHINee - This all-boy band hails from Seoul, South Korea, and is best recognized for their contemporary R&B sound and dance routines, while many of their albums also include experimental musical styles.
Super Junior - Super Junior was formed in Seoul in 2005 and debuted in 2005. Their sound varies greatly across albums, with some albums boasting a more pop-oriented sound and others experimenting with percussion and electronic elements.
Wonder Girls - This all-female group was formed by JYP Entertainment and was active from 2007 to 2017, replacing numerous members along the way. Their music had a vintage feel to it, with melodies and sounds from the 1960s and 1980s.