**Or for anyone else interested in getting into the genre.
The Korean wave (known as Hallyu) has slowly been making its way into North American culture, most notably with the emergence of its pop music, known as K-Pop. Continuously grabbing the attention of curious onlookers, its infectious beats and synchronized choreography has undoubtedly fascinated intrigued listeners and viewers alike.
But if you’re still new to this wave and have no idea what it’s all about, I am here to guide you. To help you dip your toes into the world of K-Pop, here are six bands you should listen to if you want to see what all the hype is about!
Members: EXO-K Suho, Baekhyun, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, Sehun and EXO-M: Xiumin, Lu Han, Kris Lay, Chen, Tao
About Them: EXO is a twelve-member boy band that debuted in 2011 under SM Entertainment. The group consists of two smaller groups, with six of its members promoting in South Korea (EXO-K), and six members promoting in China (EXO-M). Although the number is officially twelve, one of the members under EXO-M, Kris, had been deemed inactive due to a lawsuit with the company. So far, there is no official name for the fandom. However, many of them are calling themselves Exotics.
Why You Should Listen To Them: EXO is one of the hottest boy bands in Asia right now, and quickly gained the hearts of fans in Korea and around the world. In comparison to Western bands, they are as popular as One Direction – quickly rising and growing every day. Coming out of one of the most popular label brands in South Korea, there was no doubt that these boys would become big. Their urban charm mixed with their memorable choreography will get you swooning over them in no time. (Yes, you’ll learn to fall in love with twelve different guys)
You Should Listen To: Growl
Members: G-Dragon, T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung and Seungri
About Them: Big Bang is a five-member boy band that has debuted in 2006 under YG Entertainment. They are one of the biggest groups in K-Pop, gaining fans all over the world for their unique style and originality. Their fans are called VIPs.
Why You Should Listen To Them: Big Bang has been around for as long as I could remember, producing hit songs after hit songs. They’re are able to be versatile with their music, showing off that they can get sentimental with songs like Haru Haru, to producing club bangers such as Fantastic Baby. All of the group’s members spent the last year releasing solo albums, with many of their songs becoming number one singles on music shows, such as G-Dragon’s Crooked and Taeyang’s Ringa Linga. This dynamic group help set the K-Pop wave to its popularity, so it only makes sense that you should give them a try.
You Should Listen To: Fantastic Baby
Members: Taeyeon, Jessica, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona and Seohyun
About Them: Girls’ Generation is a nine-member girl group formed in 2007 under SM Entertainment. They are known for their synchronized and memorable choreography that capture the attention of fans worldwide. Do they sound familiar? They should! They won Best Music Video at the first YouTube Music Awards, beating out big names such as Justin Bieber and Lady GaGa. Their fans are called Sones.
Why You Should Listen To Them: Everything they do screams K-Pop: the matching outfits, the synchronized choreography, the colourful music videos, and their upbeat sound. Their sound ranges from cheery songs such as Gee, to bold tempos such as I Got A Boy. Girls’ Generation is all about the infectious tunes, so if you’re ready to have one of their songs stuck in your head, you should go ahead and listen to them!
You Should Listen To: I Got A Boy
Members: CL, Bom, Dara and Minzy
About Them: 2NE1 is an all girl group formed in 2009 under YG Entertainment, consisting of four members. Their sound is more urban, giving them the fierce image that they are well known for. The group has gained attention from international stars, and even ended up being featured in Will.I.Am’s LP, #willpower. Their fans are called Blackjacks.
Why You Should Listen: 2NE1 is all about being fierce and being on top. Their image is a lot more westernized, steering away from the typical bubblegum pop. The urban/EDM/reggae sound would make it hard for anyone to sit still while listening to their songs.
You Should Listen To: I Am The Best
Members: Victoria Song, Amber Liu, Luna, Sulli and Krystal
About Them: Another all girl group formed in 2009 under SM Entertainment, F(x) consists of five members, ranging from different ethnic backgrounds (Chinese, Korean and American). The group is known for it’s electro-pop sound, leaning more towards the EDM side. Their fans are called Aff(x)tion. And fun fact: Krystal, one of the members of the group, is the younger sister of Jessica from Girls’ Generation.
Why You Should Listen To Them: If you’re more into the electro-pop sound, F(x) might be your gateway into K-Pop. Most of their songs contain EDM-inspired beats, breaking away from the stereotypical bubblegum pop. Like many popular K-Pop groups, they played a role for the Hallyu wave in North America, even teaming up with Funny or Die to produce a skit with Anna Kendrick to turn her into a K-Pop star.
You Should Listen To: Electric Shock
Akdong Musician (AKMU)
Members: Lee Chan-hyuk and Lee Soo-hyun
About Them: AKMU is a brother and sister duo that debuted in 2014 under YG Entertainment, after winning a singing competition called K-Pop Star 2 in 2012. Chan-Hyuk, the older brother, wrote, composed and produced all of the songs for their debut album PLAY.
Why You Should Listen To Them: When you think of K-Pop, you would think of the typical upbeat pop music from groups such as Girls’ Generation and Big Bang, which may not be the type of scene some people are looking for. However, the duo is slowly changing the K-Pop scene by incorporating folk and pop music together, and the results are pretty amazing. If you’re more into the more calming side of pop, take a listen to them.
You Should Listen To: 200%
Like all music genres, these are only a gateway into K-Pop. You’ll end up finding other bands and groups that will capture your attention, and hopefully allow yourself to enjoy everything that the Hallyu wave brings. Happy listening!