K-pop or Korean pop music is a gorgeous blend of visuals and vocals that is exclusively unique and yet diverse at the same time. The popularity of K-pop has been on an exponential rise since the past few years and the industry is swarming with hundreds of talented artists, most of whom are now also popular all over the world. Nearly everyone has heard of BTS and PSY owing to their chart-topping addictive songs but if you think that’s all K-pop is, you are totally missing out!
For starters, it’s not just pop music. K-pop artists experiment with so many different genre: Pop, rock, jazz, hip hop, R&B, Electropop; the list is never ending! It’s wonderful because you can listen to just about any K-pop song that suits your mood. If your music taste transcends the barriers of language, you will feel right at home with K-pop. Not just that, the superior music is usually accompanied with powerful performances and complex choreographies. Of course, every group/artist has their own signature style but K-pop music videos & choreographies are simply awe-inspiring. What if it’s still not your cup of tea? Let’s find out! Some of these talented artists might just help you change your mind:
VIXX (Voice, Visual, Value in Excelsis)
I start with VIXX because they are superbly talented but grossly underrated. This 5-member group are popularly known as Concept Gods because they have tried and succeeded at just about every idea! They’ve been vampires, Jekyll & Hyde, Voodoo dolls, Emo Robots, Greek Gods, Perfumers and more! Many artists resort to wear designer clothes during their album promotions but VIXX dress in custom-made apparel for every new concept. This group is CLASSY AF and their fandom consists of the sweetest people ever!
Also check out their subgroup, VIXX LR:
B.A.P (Best Absolute Perfect)
This group is easily the busiest of all K-pop groups. They have released more mini-albums/full length albums/singles than any of the groups that debuted around the same time as they did (2012). They have been super popular in Asia/Europe/USA for all these years and their vocal expertise & stage presence is no joke. They have been extremely versatile with their compositions (most of them self-composed by their leader Bang Yongguk) for pop, rock, R&B & jazz genre. If that’s not all, this group is the definition of WOKE. They have addressed many current issues such as blatant crime, mental health awareness, oppression in the society, etc. I could honestly write a book about this group and their humanitarian work to make this world a better place, but instead I’m going to leave you with the best B.A.P music video in existence.
This group will make you believe that musical Gods really do exist! From ballads, rhythmic raps to catchy pop music, they never fail to deliver. This 9-member group has a special ability to make you feel things through a language you may not even understand. It’s impossible not to fall in love with their music. Not just that, they are an extremely humble and lovable bunch that have been going strong even after losing group members. The video below is not their most recent song but it’s an absolute party anthem!
Let’s tone down the testosterone a little bit and talk about Red Velvet! They are a group of five cute, silly and relatable girls with unbeatable bops. Since their debut in 2014, they have gotten more and more refined with each album release (also known as comeback!). Red Velvet is not your run-of-the-mill K-pop girl group. They have two different concepts “red” & “velvet”, the two contrasting styles that they like to portray themselves as, in their albums. This group is working hard to crush all the stereotypes about girl K-pop groups and they are doing an excellent job!
When I first heard their songs, I was like whoa! They have a gorgeous retro jazz and R&B sound which is really pleasing to listen to. They are one of the most perfect girl groups I have come across with an amazing vocal prowess.
Okay listen to me, these girls deserve recognition! Dreamcatcher has addictive music that could easily pass off as an anime soundtrack. They have such a fresh & unique image and their music style is simply wonderful. They have a Japanese babymetal vibe and Dreamcatcher own this image seamlessly.
DAY6 is one of the rare groups that manages to deliver good music every time. Trust me when I say this, they don’t have a single bad song! They are a five-person band that specialize in pop & alternative rock. In 2017, they had this amazing project called Every Day6 where they released two songs every month. It was such a glorious year full of mind-blowing music and they just keep giving more!
(Psst… They have multiple concerts in North America this November! Ticket sales open on Sep 15th.)
A couple of honorable solo artist/rock band mentions without which this list would be incomplete:
- Drug Restaurant:
- Bang Yongguk:
- VIXX Leo:
- The Rose:
K-pop can get pretty competitive, not just between the artists but the fandom too. That’s why fanwars are quite prominent between widespread K-pop fandoms. It is an absolute waste of time and you’re ultimately disrespecting your favorite artist by trying to contempt other fandoms on the internet. I have made some amazing friends online through K-pop and I believe the purpose of true music is to bring people together; not to pit them against each other. K-pop has definitely been a life changing experience for me and I hope it is the same for you!
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Want to hear more from Apurva?
Check out her Tumblr! Apurva is an IT student from Boston and loves to experiment with different genres of writing. Her personal style mostly consists of prose and some poetry. She has a lot of interests for someone who has no time to spare but she's happy to enjoy them and write about them too. She's only written fanfiction so far but would love to be a full time writer some day and publish her own book!