By Faeeja Humaira Meem
Rediscovering the world of girl groups in K-pop
While boy groups like BTS and EXO have garnered widespread attention and admiration, it’s easy to overlook the vibrant and equally enthralling world of girl groups in K-pop. I, too, was guilty of this oversight, but recently, I decided to explore the captivating world of girl groups, and was I in for a treat!
Girl groups in K-pop are breaking barriers and challenging traditional beauty standards, paving the way for more diverse representation in the industry. This article is not an exhaustive one and is simply a reflection of my personal taste and experience as a K-pop fan. What I love about the K-pop industry is the diversity of styles and concepts it brings to the table; every group has its unique appeal. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a newcomer to the world of K-pop, there is always something new to discover and enjoy.
THE POWERHOUSES OF GIRL GROUPS IN K-POP
When talking about girl groups, two names always pop up: Blackpink and Twice. In fact, they’re the first ones I came across back when I was a baby K-popper. Blackpink, formed by YG Entertainment in 2016, consists of four members known for their fierce concepts and captivating performances. Their hit songs such as “DDU-DU DDU-DU,” “Kill This Love,” and “How You Like That” have set numerous records and broken barriers, including becoming the first K-pop girl group to perform at Coachella in 2019.
Twice, on the other hand, was formed by JYP Entertainment in 2015 and comprises nine members known for their cheerful and catchy songs, making them one of the best-selling girl groups in K-pop history. Hits like “Cheer Up,” “TT,” and “Fancy” have catapulted them to the top of music charts worldwide.
Another influential girl group in K-pop is Girls’ Generation, or SNSD. The group debuted in 2007 under SM Entertainment and quickly became a sensation in Korea, and they’re deservedly known for paving the way for future girl groups. They showed that girl groups could be successful outside of Korea, with hit songs like “Gee” and “The Boys” gaining widespread popularity, making history as the first K-pop group to appear on both late-night and morning US TV. They celebrated their 15th anniversary with their new album “Forever 1.”
THE RISING STARS AND THE UNDERDOGS
There are also many rising stars and underdogs that are making waves in the industry. One rising star is ITZY, formed by JYP Entertainment in 2019. This group, consisting of five members, burst onto the scene with their debut single “Dalla Dalla.” ITZY’s unique blend of girl crush and bubblegum pop has won over fans, and they have continued to deliver chart-topping hits like “ICY” and “WANNABE.”
As for the underdogs, there are many talented girl groups that may have yet to achieve mainstream success but are definitely worth a listen. One such group is Dreamcatcher, formed by Happy Face Entertainment in 2017. Dreamcatcher’s sound is a fusion of rock and K-pop, and their music videos, such as “Fly High” and “You and I,” are known for their horror-inspired themes.
CUTE CONCEPTS VS BADASS QUEENS
One thing that stands out in the world of girl groups in K-pop is the diversity of concepts they bring to the table. For example, the girl group Red Velvet, managed by SM Entertainment, is known for their unique and versatile image that combines both cute and edgy concepts. In their song “Red Flavor,” they sport colorful and playful outfits, while in “Peek-A-Boo,” they take on a darker and more mature concept.
I personally gravitate towards the bold and confident image, and one girl group that embodies this perfectly is Mamamoo, managed by RBW. One of the things that attracted me to Mamamoo was their willingness to break the mould and challenge traditional beauty standards. They also frequently incorporate elements of hip-hop and R&B in their music, adding to their bold and unapologetic image. In “Hip,” the members sing about their self-confidence and independence and in “Egotistic,” the group incorporates Latin-inspired rhythms.
Deciding my favorite member aka bias
One of the hallmarks of K-pop is the concept of the “bias,” or the member of a group that a fan is most drawn to. For me, it is Mamamoo’s Hwasa, whose powerful vocals, confidence, and unique stage presence immediately drew me in, and I found myself watching countless videos of her performances and interviews. Hwasa’s solo EP “Maria” still remains iconic.
Deciding on a bias can be a fun and exciting part of being a fan, but it’s important to remember to respect all group members and to recognize and address toxic fan behavior, such as bullying or harassment of other fans and even the idols themselves. At the end of the day, being a fan should be about celebrating the talent and hard work of the artists, not tearing others down.
THE NEWCOMERS: NEWJEANS AND THEIR VIRAL HIT “OMG”
One of the newest girl groups on the scene is NewJeans, composed of five members, and they are making waves with their catchy singles “Ditto” and “OMG.” The group, which debuted in 2022 under one of the Hybe labels, has quickly gained a following for their fresh and fun image, as well as their impressive vocals and dance skills. I randomly stumbled upon their music video “Ditto” when it came out on YouTube, and the catchy melody and playful lyrics stayed with me, and soon enough, I started hearing “OMG” all over social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram reels.
The emergence of NewJeans and their viral hit “OMG” is a testament to the power and potential of girl groups in K-pop. They are just one of many talented groups that fans can discover and support, and by doing so, we can help break barriers in the industry and create a more inclusive and accepting environment for all idols and fans.