The 8 Greatest K-Pop Groups of All Time
How to discover K-Pop artists at the World Choir Games 2023 host city
The 2023 World Choir Games are coming to Gangneung in the Republic of Korea. And we couldn’t be more excited, since it’s only less than one year to go in these days!
Korea is home to a wonderful history of music. A diverse array of influences and a rich indigenous tradition has given rise to a moving sound, one that still can be heard today.
But when it comes to Korea and music in the 21st century, the first thing that comes to mind is K-Pop.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last five years, you might be asking yourself, “What is K-Pop?”
The simplest answer is that it’s pop music made in South Korea. But this genre is more than that. It is a cultural force that has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity worldwide. The sound — often an eclectic mix of genres centered on poppy electronic dance music — can now be heard everywhere.
K-Pop artists often begin training as young teenagers, and when they finally debut, they can become massive celebrity stars who connect to a rabid fanbase made up of people from all over the world.
So, let’s celebrate this one-of-a-kind contribution to music with a countdown of the greatest K-Pop groups ever.
8. Girl’s Generation
Girl’s Generation debuted as a nine-piece girl group in 2007. For 10 years, they were one of the most popular acts in South Korea and Japan. In 2017, however, fans were disappointed to learn that the band would go on hiatus so that members could focus on their solo careers.
Their triumphant return was announced in May, 2022, and it will include their long awaited follow up to Holiday Night. This is no doubt great news for their millions of fans around the world.
iKON was launched by the label YG Entertainment in 2015. It began as a seven piece until B.I left in 2019. They are notable for being one of the few K-Pop groups that write their own songs.
The group was introduced to fans as part of the reality shows WIN: Who is Next and Mix & Match. Their hip-hop influenced sound has consistently won over fans and critics. Despite their continued success, there are rumors that the group might be coming to an end.
AOA (short for Ace of Angels) has put together a string of major singles since their debut in 2012. Originally consisting of eight members, they are now down to three. They are such a commercial smash that they’ve launched two subgroups: AOA Black and AOA Cream.
While they have been inactive since 2020, they still remain a very popular group. Hits like “Miniskirt,” “Heart Attack,” and “Short Hair” continue to sell digital copies and rack up YouTube views.
Twice is a nine-piece group known for the diversity of its members. Launched in 2015 with the single “Cheer Up,” they’ve gone on to endear themselves to audiences with their unique and striking personalities.
They formed on Sixteen, a reality show where contestants competed to join the group. Since then, they’ve amassed a large global audience, particularly in Japan.
Though their history has been plagued by legal battles between members and their label, Exo still managed to put together a string of big hits since their 2012 debut. They were originally two groups of six members each — Exo-K and Exo-M. They merged after their 2014 EP Overdose.
These lauded kings of K-Pop have garnered several major awards, and they’ve used their celebrity to promote philanthropic causes for UNICEF.
3. Red Velvet
This five-member girl group debuted in 2014 with “Happiness.” From the beginning, their stand out sound grabbed audiences using a combination of pop and hip-hop elements with 90’s R&B and more.
They are frequently regarded by major publications as a top act in K-Pop, a fact made clear by their huge album sales, music video views, and digital streams.
Blackpink launched as a four-member girl group in 2016. In the years since, they have become one of the most dominant forces in K-Pop.
They’re the highest-charting female Korean group on the Billboard Hot 100. And their 2020 release The Album was the first record by a Korean girl group to sell over a million copies. They even have multiple Guinness World Records for the amount of online music video views.
BTS (also known as the Bantan Boys) began as a seven-member hip-hop group in 2010. Over the next decade, they became the most internationally recognizable K-Pop group of all time. Their popularity made them the first Korean group to reach the top spot on the US Billboard 200, which they then did a total of four times within two years.
The importance of BTS to K-Pop’s growing appeal beyond Asia cannot be understated. Their songs, many of which they write and produce themselves, have moved listeners with their universal themes about coming of age, finding oneself, and dealing with mental health issues.
And did you know that the legendary BTS bus stop - featured on the cover of their album "You Never Walk Alone" - has been set up as a selfie spot in Gangneung, the host city of the 12th World Choir Games?
Isn’t that reason enough to come and join the World Choir Games 2023? Any choir that registers in these days, during the one-year-out countdown period July 3-13, 2022, will even receive a special discount!