Let us start this article with the hashtag #GIRLPOWER.
Boy bands are a craze but so are girl groups. And if boys have Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, The Jonas Brothers, and One Direction, girls also have an impressive list of empowered women who graced our lifetime with iconic stages and records. First on the list are the Spice Girls who sold over 80 million records during their career and is the most influential girl group of modern times. Who can ever forget their iconic “If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends”? We also have Destiny’s Child with THE Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams and their 2002 Survivor. There’s also the Pussycat Dolls’ 2005 Don’t Cha and Little Mix’ Black Magic and Shoutout To My Ex.
But another genre is taking the world by storm: KPop. You might know BTS, EXO, GOT7 but the girls are also here to match up to them!
What is a Girl Group?
A girl group or girl band is a popular kind of performer that is composed of girls that usually harmonizes with each other. For a girl group to work, they usually have such complementing talents that mix each other well to form such great music. Girl groups are such widely accepted concepts with a lot of European and American girl groups filling up our worlds (and history) such as Destiny’s Child, Spice Girls, Little Mix, Fifth Harmony, and The Pussycat Dolls.
Today, Korean girl bands are taking the center stage with their addictive songs, jaw-dropping visuals, and undeniable talent. They first shook the world with Wonder Girls viral hit “Tell Me” released in 2007 raking in over 15 million views after being posted. Since then, Korean girl groups haven’t stopped from taking the limelight as they break through from Asia into the international arena.
These girls are trained in a cutthroat competition in singing, rapping, and dancing. They have been one of the main reasons that KPop is now known globally for breaking charts and even staying on top. Who would ever forget Wonder Girls Nobody, 2NE1’s Fire or Girls Generation’s I Got A Boy? Top Korean girl groups include Girls Generation, 2NE1, f(x), Twice, Red Velvet, Blackpink, and many more. SO many to keep up with! Where can a new fan start?
Luckily for you, we made a list of the Top 10 Korean Girl Groups of 2020. Take a look down below and see if your faves are one of them.
We are Blackpink.
BLACKPINK (BLΛƆKPIИK as styled) is a Korean girl group formed by YG Entertainment in 2016. They made their official debut on August 8, 2016 with their first single album Square One with the lead singles “Boombayah” and “Whistle.”
Many have anticipated their debut since 2NE1 debuted in 2009 (and formally disbanded in 2016). There have been many comparisons between the two groups with their uncanny resemblance embodying a strong girl image with hip hop music and urban styling. Blackpink may be the new 2NE1 but they certainly have their own charisma with members Jisoo, Rose, Jennie, and Lisa. Unlike the traditional KPop groups, Blackpink has no leader though some might say Jisoo takes the helm most of the time as the oldest in the group. Interestingly, these girls are also very well-rounded with rappers Jennie and Lisa who can also slay vocally.
Their debut singles are beyond the typical bubblegum aesthetics popular for Korean girl groups. Boombayah serves like 2NE1’s Fire as a typical introduction hype song with fiery rap verses while Whistle is more sentimental like 2NE1’s Lonely but with a more upbeat and addictive tone.
With only a number of songs (Sadly! We hope they release more), it won’t be a problem to memorize it all and to even study the choreography for each of them. They are popular for their edgy type of music with great choreography. They have a lot of hits such as DDU-DU DDU-DU, Kill This Love, As If It’s Your Last, How You Like That, and Forever Young.
Forbes Korea Power Celebrity has named them as the most influential Korean celebrities in 2019. Their hit single “How You Like That’ broke a lot of records including the most-viewed YouTube video in 24 hours as stated by the Guinness World Records. And their latest releases Lovesick Girls (which departs from their usual catchy choruses and turns up the melody more) and Ice Cream in collaboration with Selena Gomez have also racked up millions of views.
They call their fans BLINKS as a mixture of the words Black and Pink.
Blackpink: Lovesick Girls
One In A Million! 안녕하세요, Twice-입니다.
TWICE is a Korean girl group formed by JYP Entertainment in 2015. They were formed by JYP himself on a survival television program called Sixteen. JYP initially intended to debut only 8 girls but at the finale, he announced that Momo will join the line-up as the group’s main dancer. They made their official debut with the song “Like OOH AHH” on October 20, 2015.
Like OOH AHH is a very catchy song with youthful feel and a very stand-out music video with zombies and iconic dance break with Momo. But the group rose to fame with their 2016 hit “Cheer Up.” This song may look like it has been patterned from the girl group hits like SNSD‘s “Oh” and AOA‘s “Heart Attack’ but it brings a little more than what is expected. Instead of just going with a positive and encouraging vibe popular for cheerleader themes, in true Twice fashion, they narrated the story using a boy with a camera head confused with what he sees with the naked eye and what he sees in the magnifying lens. The lens provides a different perspective which shows Twice as more than just a cute girl group.
This group has nine members that are a mix of Japanese, Taiwanese, and Koreans. TWICE’s members are Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. Momo, Sana, and Mina are Japanese while Tzuyu is Taiwanese. The rest of the members are Korean. The group’s leader is Jihyo who is also their Main Vocal.
Twice already has a Korean album, two compilation albums, four reissues, nine extended plays, two Japanese albums, and 27 hit singles to date. This gives you a lot of music to choose from if you want to listen to them. They’re described as a girl group that usually has cute concepts (the reason why they have a lot of fanboys) but they’re trying to mix it up with their recent comebacks like Feel Special, More & More, and their latest release I Can’t Stop Me (which also has an addictive English version!).
They’re called by Korean media as “The Next Nation’s Girl Group.” In 2019, they were the Best Selling Korean girl group of all time just 3 years after their debut. They’re also the first female K-Pop act to have a Japanese Dome Tour. They have a lot of hit songs such as What is Love?, Dance the Night Away, Fancy, Yes or Yes, and TT. Their fans are called ONCE.
TWICE: I Can’t Stop Me
Happiness! 안녕하세요, Red Velvet-입니다.
Red Velvet is a Korean Girl Group from SM Entertainment. They made their official debut on August 1, 2014 initially as a 4-member group with Irene as the leader and eldest in the group, Seulgi, Wendy, and maknae (youngest) Joy with their hit single ‘Happiness’ wherein they donned their signature colors in an ombre hairstyle.
On March 11, 2015, SM Entertainment announced an addition to the group in their comeback track “Ice Cream Cake” where they officially introduced the (new) maknae of the group, Yeri. Ice Cream Cake is a defining song for Red Velvet introducing them as five and marking their place in the industry as one of the few girl groups who are capable of diverse style with quick transitions from cheerleader chants to delicate vocals to intense raps.
This girl group already has two studio albums, 11 extended plays, two reissue albums, and 22 hit singles. A number of choices to be given if you want to listen to a diverse selection of music.
They define their music with their name. Red stands for the pop genre of their songs while velvet stands for R&B and ballad kind of music. They also associate their name with their image. The red stands for their colorful and cheerful sides while velvet stands for their mature image. In 2020, Red Velvet were along the cast of animated film “Trolls World Tour” as the K-Pop trolls and their hit single Russian Roulette was also included in the film.
IZE Magazine named Red Velvet as a group of successful female figures that helped transform the “passive image” of South Korean women. Red Velvet has a lot of hit singles such as Russian Roulette, Red Flavor, Power Up, Zimzalabim, and Rookie. Their latest comeback ‘Psycho’ has received a lot of love from fans and even non-fans with its powerful vocals (especially Wendy’s pre-chorus), breathtaking choreography, and visually stunning music video. (We recommend that you also watch their live vocal performance here.)
They call their fans “ReVeLuv” which has two different meanings. The first one being literal that fans love Red Velvet and Red Velvet loves their fans. The other one is that the word “Reve” means dream in French so ReVeLuv means they helped Red Velvet achieve their dreams.
Red Velvet: Psycho
I said, MAMA-MAMAMOO~. 안녕하세요, Mamamoo-입니다
MAMAMOO is a Korean girl group put together by RBW (formerly known as WA Entertainment) in 2014. They made their official debut on June 18, 2014 with their debut single “Mr. Ambiguous” which is considered as one of the greatest debuts in K-Pop.
Mr. Ambiguous has a retro edge style with “sleek, classy styling, the jazz-rock fusion melody, the throwback choreography” showcasing a vocal performance that sounds more like veterans than rookies in the industry. It’s music video is also packed with cameos like Wheesung (“Director”), Baek Ji-young, and K.Will.
This group has 4 very talented members named Moonbyul, Solar, Wheein, and Hwasa – a quite rare package for a Korean girl group. That is, in most groups each member plays a distinct role and it’s unusual to have four powerful vocals in one group.
MAMAMOO already has two Korean albums, a Japanese album, nine extended plays, and 18 singles. All of their songs are very well-received by Koreans, and by international fans as well. They have really catchy songs and strong, powerful vocals. Their music is defined as a mix of retro, jazz, and R&B concepts and they’re widely recognized for their strong vocal performances, amazing harmonies, and fun ad libs.
They have a lot of hits such as Egotistic, Paint Me, Decalcomanie, Starry Night, Wind Flower, and HIP. Their latest release, Wanna Be Myself is also a track that you should definitely listen to.
Their fans are called “MooMoos.”
안녕하세요, 여자친구(yeoja chingu)-입니다.
GFRIEND is a Korean girl group formed in 2015 by Source Music (which has recently merged with Big Hit Entertainment, BTS’ agency). They made their official debut on January 15, 2015 with their extended play Season of Glass and debut track Glass Bead.
But what propelled this group into popularity is Me Gustas Tu, their comeback track from their second extended play, Flower Bud. Me Gustas Tu is Spanish for “I like you” which features a youthful and naive concept veering away from the usual shy and lackadaisical themes. That is, it tells the story of a brave attempt to confess feelings to the object of their affection. The performance, on the other hand, showcases a quick-paced choreography – a signature of GFriend as one of the few girl groups with difficult choreography done in a highly synchronized manner – yet manages to still give off a feminine vibe.
The group members are Sowon (leader), Eunha, Yerin, SinB, Umji, and Yuju. They have kept a very good, rising momentum since their debut even though they came from a small company. GFriend already released 3 full length albums, a compilation album, a repackaged album, nine extended plays and 17 singles. That’s a fair amount of music to pick one from to get you started with GFriend.
Their music has a sweet vibe with them and they also have a bit of a cute concept to add to that. They have numerous hits such as Glass Bead, Rough, Navillera, Me Gustas Tu, and Summer Rain. Their recent releases Apple and Mago feature GFriend’s development into more mature concepts showing just how capable and well-rounded they are.
Their fans are called BUDDY.
(G)I-dle is a South Korean multinational girl group formed by Cube Entertainment in 2018. The group has 6 members: Miyeon, Minnie, Soojin, Soyeon, Yuqi, and Shuhua. The group started off strong with their debut song, Latata, and are famously known as the “monster rookie of 2018.”
The group is also highly-applauded by netizens because of their direct involvement in their music. Leader Soyeon and members, Minnie and Yuqi have all their hands on writing and co-producing their songs. Aside from that, the show Queendom where the group appeared showed all 6 members are active participators when it comes to their own music videos, jacket photoshoots, choreography, and outfit production.
(G)I-dle is praised for their musicality and ambiguity and is described as “bold and sensual”, filled with confidence and skills, and is unafraid to try different genres of music. Their songs are a variety of moombahton trap, Latin pop, urban hip-hop, and tropical moombahton.
Since their debut on May 2, 2018, the group has released 6 extended plays and 8 singles including, “Latata”, “Hann (Alone)”, “Senorita”, “Uh-Oh”, “Lion”, “Oh My God”, “Dumdi Dumdi” and “Hwaa.” The song “Dumdi Dumdi broke the single album sales record, making it the second best selling girl group single of all time.
Their fans are called “Neverland.”
Aespa (commonly stylized in all lowercases, aespa) is a 4-member Korean girl group formed by SM Entertainment with members, Karina, Giselle, Winter and Ningning. The group debuted on November 17, 2020 with their debut single, Black Mamba.
On October 26, 2020, SM Entertainment announced their plans to debut a new girl group. The group is the first girl group since Red Velvet in 2014 and the first overall idol group since NCT in 2016. Aespa members were revealed individually through a series of teasers from October 27 to October 30, with Winter as first, followed by Karina, Ningning, and Giselle.
Aespa has quite a unique concept to them. SM Entertainment founder, Lee Soo Man, explained in the 2020 World Cultural Industry Forum on
On October 26, SM Entertainment announced that it would be debuting a new girl group, the first since Red Velvet in 2014 and the first overall idol group since NCT in 2016. The members were revealed individually from October 27 to 30 (in order: Winter, Karina, Ningning, and Giselle) as well as the name aespa. SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man further explained about aespa’s concept in the 2020 World Cultural Industry Forum that was held online on October 28. A video trailer with all four members was revealed on November 2. On the same day, the agency announced that aespa will release their debut single “Black Mamba” on November 17. The group made their broadcast debut on KBS2‘s Music Bank on November 20 where they performed their debut single. The group also reached number one on the K-pop music video charts of China’s biggest music-streaming service, QQ Music for three consecutive weeks. On January 17, 2021, Aespa received their first ever music show win for their debut single on Inkigayo.
On January 29, 2021, SM Entertainment announced Aespa will be making a comeback with “Forever”, which is a remake of a single by Yoo Young-jin, released for SM Entertainment’s holiday album Winter Vacation in SMTOWN.com in 2000.
aespa: Black Mamba
Itzy is a Korean girl group formed in 2019 by JYP Entertainment. They made their first official debut on February 11, 2019 with their hit song Dalla Dalla. ITZY has 5 members namely Ryujin, Lia, Chaeryoung, Yuna, and Yeji which is their leader.
They are JYP’s next girl group since Twice back in 2015. Although they’ve only been a group for a year, they already have 2 extended plays and 3 hit singles. I’m pretty sure that at some point, you’ve already heard of Dalla Dalla, Icy, or Wannabe. They’re the three hit singles of ITZY that earned them their Best New Female Artist awards at the 2019 Melon Music Awards and 2019 MNet Asian Music Awards.
They went for a more edgy kind of music than their labelmates Twice which gave them a fresh sound. Not to mention that they’re still very young with their oldest member (Yeji) is just 20 years old and the youngest (Yuna) is 16. Their fans are called Midzy.
ITZY: Not Shy
Eyes On Me! 안녕하세요, IZ*ONE-입니다.
Iz*one is a Korean-Japanese girl group that was formed in the MNet reality competition program called Produce 48. This group is handled by Off the Record and Swing Entertainment. They made their first official debut with their extended play entitled Color*Iz on October 29, 2018. The group immediately received commercial success with their debut single La Vie En Rose.
La Vie En Rose or translated as Life in Pink departs from the upbeat debut songs of its sister group, IOI (Produce 101) and brother group Wanna One. It features a more polished yet refreshing tone with minimal aesthetics and pastel palette.
This group currently has 12 members composed of nine Koreans and three Japanese members: Kang Hye-won, Lee Chaeyeon, Kim Min-ju, Hitomi Honda, Kwon Eun-bi, Jang Won-young, Sakura Miyawaki, Nako Yabuki, Jo Yu-ri, Kim Chae-won, Choi Ye-na, and An Yu-jin.
Since their debut over a year ago, Iz*one has already released a studio album, 3 Korean extended plays, 3 Japanese extended plays, and 7 hit singles (3 of them are Korean songs). Their latest release Panorama is a must listen showcasing their development musically and as a group in a short span of time.
If you want diverse music and you’re also into J-Pop, Iz*one is something you need to listen to. Their talents are very much showcased in their music. If you ever want to be called WIZ*ONE, then start streaming their music now.
The group is set to disband by 2021 and pursue their careers with their respective agencies.
Iz*one: Secret Story of the Swan
Oh My Girl
Oh My Girl is a South Korean girl group from WM Entertainment. The group debuted on April 20, 2015 and was originally a 8-member act with Hyojung, Mimi, YooA, Seunghee, Jiho, Binnie and Arin, and JinE. However, due to health reasons, JinE withdrew from the group in October 2017.
The group peaked in 2018 with their fifth EP Secret Garden. Oh My Girl held a mini concert titled “Oh My Girl’s Secret Garden” where tickets sold out within two minutes, selling 3,000 seats. The mini concert was a 6-day full-seat concert Shinsegae Mesa Hall in Seoul, South Korea. The group won their first music show trophy on January 23, 2018.
The group participated in the show Queendom where their participation further catapulted their popularity and finished 1st-runner up in the whole program. 2020, the girls focused on their Japanese album titled “Eternally” and announced a comeback in Korea with new single, “Nonstop.”
Oh My Girl: Nonstop