There’s more to K-pop than just “Gangnam Style“. The South Korean pop music genre has become increasingly popular around the world, making it one of the country’s major exports. There are many reasons for this global rise in popularity. For one, K-pop groups and singers don’t just stand there and sing, they provide their audience with an eye-popping spectacle. From catchy tunes and huge dancing numbers and production value in music videos to spectacular stadium-filling shows, K-pop groups know how to entertain. So, if you want to join the K-pop revolution, these are the groups every beginner must start with.
Exo was originally a 12-member boy band, formed by SM Entertainment. They had two subgroups Exo-K and Exo-M, standing for Korean and Mandarin respectively. Out of the six Chinese members, only three are left, so now there are nine members in total. Having different subgroups of K-pop bands is quite common within the genre as the Chinese market is huge for the industry. This way, the group becomes inclusive of Mandarin-speakers and ensuring more fans can enjoy their music.
Exo coule perhaps be called as the most popular K-pop band in the industry. Their third full-length album, EX’ACT which came out in June this year, broke the pre-order records set by their previous album EXODUS. Fans of the group call themselves ‘EXOtics’.
Girls’ Generation aka SNSD
Girls’ Generation, or SNSD, is a girl group also formed by SM Entertainment comprising of eight members: Tiffany, Yoona, Taeyeon, Sunny, Sooyoung, Hyoyeon, Yuri, and Seohyun. They have eight studio albums and is one of the most popular girl groups in the industry. Along with super good looks, most of them are also amazing actresses. If you haven’t yet, check out Yoona’s new thriller drama, The K2. Fans of Girls’ Generation are called as ‘Sones’.
BTS, or Bangtan Boys, is a seven-member boy band formed by the music label and agency, Big Hit Entertainment. Back in the day, the label was considerably smaller than the giants of SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment. But the freedom that BTS got due to being formed by this smaller company can perhaps be cited as the main reason for the band’s success. The boys were allowed to experiment with their own styles, which is a freedom that the bigger agencies do not allow. It is no surprise to see that BTS truly enjoy making music and have become a worthy rival, even to the big label groups. The fans are called A.R.M.Y. which stands for Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth.
2NE1 is a girl group formed by YG Entertainment consisting of CL, Bom, and Dara. Former member Minzy left the group this April, making 2NE1 a trio. Their positive girl-power attitude and innovative musical concepts have paved the way for a new generation of K-pop idols. The group’s most popular song is “I Am The Best” was featured in Microsoft Surface Pro commercials. CL is also the featured vocalist on the Psy song “Daddy”. The 2NE1 fandom calls itself Blackjack.
Big Bang is a boy band formed by YG entertainment consisting of five members: G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung, Seungri. One of the biggest K-pop boy bands in the country, they have seven studio albums. Their most popular songs include “Fantastic Baby” and “Bang Bang Bang”. Big Bang’s fans call themselves V.I.P.
So there they are. Your first steps to becoming a K-pop fan. And don’t forget to check out Youtube celebrity Ryan Higa‘s K-pop debut below!