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Hello! Welcome to another of my K-Pop suggestion lists!
As I mentioned in my previous suggestion list, K-Pop has taken Western pop culture by storm, and it's only the beginning. With BTS and a number of other boybands breaking through to the American music industry to make a name for K-Pop in the west, I thought I would also highlight some of the girl groups that deserve recognition as well.
I hope you enjoy!
1. "BOOMBAYAH" by BLACKPINK
Black Pink has recently found new popularity in not only Korea but America also with their newest release, "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du." Upon its YouTube release, the MV quickly became the most viewed online video in the first 24 hours by a Korean act, surpassing their labelmate, Psy. But, Black Pink's success has been blooming since their debut in 2016. The group is comprised of 4 members, 2 of which also serve as the group's rappers. It's also worth it to mention that 2 of the members, Lisa and Rose, are from Thailand and New Zealand respectively. Aside from music, members have also participated in a variety of Korean reality and talk show programs, as well as MCing for popular weekly music programs.
However, for their success, you'll find that they haven't released as much music as you would imagine, having debuted in 2016. In total, Black Pink had only released 5 songs before their most recent comeback release this year. But, despite this, their commercial success hasn't faltered in the least bit. This may have been contributed to the members' active engagement with the fanbase. The group has a running reality series on Youtube called "Black Pink House," which keeps fans up to date on the group's activities.
"BOOMBAYAH" is Black Pink's debut single, and it effectively set the stage for the group's presence in the Korean music scene and sent their commercial success soaring. With it's upbeat, booming, exotic beats, and excellent space to highlight both vocal and rapping verses, "BOOMBAYAH" emits the same energy that Black Pink has carried through to their current releases, and has become known for.
I hope "BOOMBAYAH" inspires you to check out Black Pink's following releases, and be sure to check out the most recent comeback release, "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du!"
2. "Likey" by TWICE
Since their debut, Twice has shaken up the Korean music scene since their debut in 2015. The group was actually formed by JYP Entertainment through a 2015 reality show called Sixteen. There are 9 members in the group, 3 of which are Japanese. Twice has broken through a lot of boundaries since debut, earning themselves the title of [new or next] "Nation's Girl Group." Aside from music talent and creativity, the members' individual and combined charm has probably contributed to their success. Many fans would comment on the members' overall loving attitude towards their fans, with their being many recorded instances of the members sneakily staying behind or even breaking through walls of guards in order to wave to fans or say good-bye one last time.
And because of the inclusion of their Japanese members, the group's Japanese debut soared as well, with many Japanese fans claiming that they feel connected to the group through the Japanese members' involvement and the groups' overall engagement. This success with the fans has contributed to the group's listings on various charts ranking celebrity creativity and impact.
While Twice recently had a comeback with their new single "Yes or Yes," I felt like "Likey" is the song that I personally feel captures the spirit of Twice the most. It is very much within the pop genre that Twice thrives in, with a catchy chorus and all; but, it also allows for all of the group's talents to be exploited—from vocals, to rap skills, to choreography. And speaking of their choreography, the choreo for the chorus is so simple and fun, I've even learned how to do it!
I hope Twice can steal your hearts as they have for me, and be sure to check out their recent comeback release "Yes or Yes!"
3. "Red Flavor" by Red Velvet
Red Velvet debuted in 2014 with 4 members—the 5th member, Yeri, being added in 2015—and they have been topping both international and Korean music charts since debut. The group topped the Billboard World Albums Chart with their albums The Red, Rookie, and The Red Summer, and with their Perfect Velvet album, they became the K-Pop girl group with the most number-one albums on the chart and tied for the most number-one albums among all K-Pop acts. Many of the members have also participated in various collaborations with other artists.
"Red Flavor" definitely upholds their electropop genre, which is why I chose it for this list. They do have some slightly sultry sounds like "Peek-a-boo" from their Perfect Velvet album, and especially "Bad Boy" from their single from their The Perfect Velvet album. However, the majority of their music, including their most recent summer releases fill that electropop mold. "Red Flavor" exhibits the members' vocal abilities, as well as the rapper's skills. However, the one qualm I have with this particular song is that the heavy beat and background sounds sometimes drown out and distract from the group's vocal ability. Despite this, I hope you enjoy Red Velvet and all they have to offer!
4. "LATATA" by (G)I-DLE
(G)I-DLE is a very recent band, having just debuted this year, and have dramatically boosted CUBE Entertainment since their May debut. The group has 6 members, and the main rapper and leader, Soyeon, lends a hand in writing and arranging many of their current releases. They produce in the genres of EDM, hip-hop, and R&B, but no one can deny that they favor exotic beats and melodies, as exhibited in their two singles "LATATA" and "Hann (Alone)." Despite being very newly debuted and from a fairly smaller label, (G)I-DLE's popularity has begun to take off, and the group has already won a "Female Rookie Idol of the Year" award at the Korean Brands Awards.
For both of their released singles, the group has taken on a kind of theme that can only be described as stylistically Bohemian, which is definitely a fresh concept for K-Pop at the moment. The group's choreography also has a uniquely Bohemian touch to it, which only lends to their current concept. Another aspect of this group that successfully lends itself to furthering their concept is the arrangement of each of their unique voices. For myself, this especially means Soyeon, the leader and rapper I mentioned earlier, and Yuqi and Minnie, who are both vocalists. Soyeon has a very high-toned Western-style of rapping, which is something that isn't common for K-pop rappers. Yuqi and Minnie reach opposite ends of a spectrum for me, the first having a uniquely low tone while the second has a very distinct high-tones voice. They are definitely two of my favorite voices in all of K-Pop. The group does a very good job of mixing the member's voices and it suits their musical style. Another accomplishment by Soyeon is how masterfully she writes her rap lines around the exotic beats of the arrangement, being able to bring a very stylistically hip-hop rap style to their exotic musical concept.
(G)I-DLE is definitely a rookie group to be watching!
5. "woo hoo" by MAMAMOO
I'll admit that I haven't listened to Mamamoo regularly, but that doesn't mean that they aren't worth diving into. In fact, it took me quite a while to decide which song to choose for this list, and it all boils down to the fact that Mamamoo has recently changed their style of music, transitioning out of the style of music they so successfully debuted with. Mamamoo debuted in 2014 with 4 members, 2 vocalists and 2 rappers, one of which also serves as a sub-vocalist. This group has always been known for their uniquely soulful voices. Upon debut, the group very successfully produces music with retro and jazz influences, with a bit of R&B woven in at the seams. This style, if I could make a claim for myself, is what made Mamamoo so popular. Some critics even claim that Mamamoo had one of the best K-Pop debuts of 2014.
However, as I mentioned, they've recently transitioned away from the retro and jazz-inspired music styles and have produced music that is fundamentally pop music. I first fell in love with Mamamoo for their unique voices and complete mastery of the jazzy, retro-styled music that also provided the opportunity to showcase their voices and mastery of their music in a less electronic genre. I've mentioned something similar before when talked about Red Velvet's "Red Flavor," that most pop music is so electronically driven that it can sometimes drown out the true uniqueness of an artist's voice. Hence my troubles choosing a song to suggest for Mamamoo.
"woo hoo" is probably one of my favorite songs from Mamamoo for a number of reasons. The MV may be produced rather simplistically compared to their other MVs, but the song highlights the member's distinct voices as well as their talent and skill for blending their voices into what I can only describe as beautifully executed harmonies reminiscent of that in 90s/2000s R&B. "woo hoo" is upbeat, and sports a fun retro synth beat that makes you just want to jam along. It also tackles the challenge of blending a beat change smack in the middle of a verse, which, if I can say so, is executed very well.
While their recent releases like "Starry Night" and "Egotistic" have been very popular and successful, I decided to make a rather selfish choice—just this once—and suggest Mamamoo's "woo hoo" for this list. The selfishness simply derives from the fact that I prefer Mamamoo's old style of music, where you can hear the uniqueness of their voices and their mastery of the harmonies that they can produce when there isn't so much electronic music in the way. However, I justify myself by claiming that I simply want you guys to be able to see the difference in the music I'm describing for yourself. I appreciate you humoring me, and I hope you take this opportunity to visit Mamamoo's older music before moving on to their current releases.
Well, there you go! There are my 5 suggestions for K-Pop girl groups that you should be listening to. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Thanks for reading and see you soon!