Whether you’re an avid fan or you’ve only just heard of K-pop, the fact is that you’ve heard of it. If you’re entirely inexperienced, K-pop refers to Korean Pop. Before you look baffled, you should know that it’s a world-renowned group of artists. Typically, K-pop superstars cater to the rock, EDM, and R&B scenes. However, K-pop is a movement that runs more profound than the music they sing. People love the dance routines and awesome music videos. If you are looking for a new branch of music to get you through 2022, here are our top nine recommended K-pop stars.
We can’t talk about K-pop top artists without including BTS in the list. Arguably, they are the most successful K-pop artists worldwide. They have incredible milestones to their name, including a massively successful US stadium tour, the first artists on iTunes to launch eight songs into number 1 in 100 countries, as well as breaking YouTube by smashing viewer records for a premier. What makes this group more impressive is the sheer number of people involved, with four singers and three rappers.
Through their sound, they blend hip-hop, rap, pop, and EDM to address topics of mental health awareness and love. Put on one of their music videos and channel their energy in a local rehearsal room if you want to try your hand at capturing their sound.
Got7 have their roots as far back as 2012 when two of the founding members formed a group called the JJ Project. Initially, they were signed to the JYP Entertainment label until disputes took place and the band left in January 2021. This led to speculation that the group had disbanded, but this is far from true. In fact, the group has been signed to Warner Music Korea and is actively releasing songs. If you want an album to dip your toes into, we suggest listening to Dye, released in 2020.
Monsta X emerged out of a survival reality TV show called No Mercy, which saw 13 artists blended together to form a supergroup. After the show ended, the remaining contestants moved forward together under the Monsta X banner. The artists have evolved over the years, and they even have an album in full English. Their music is full of synth and upbeat harmonies and should make it onto any K-pop fan’s Spotify.
Although we have covered a lot of groups in this article, there are some incredible solo artists out there. Chung Ha is one such K-pop artist you should know about. She started her career after being on the reality TV series Produce 101, where she joined the girl group I.O.I. Unfortunately, that group broke down, and Chung Ha decided to go it alone. If you listen to her music, you will find upbeat dance music and lively vocals. Alongside her artistic talent, she puts together a mean choreography that’s bound to be TikTok-worthy.
Blackpink has a talent for creating instant hits that get stuck in your head for days. The reason their songs are so popular is because they’re comparable to the popular songs coming out of America; they even have collaborations with Selena Gomez. If you listen to their song ‘How You Like That’, you will have likely heard it at the weekend while you’re out clubbing. Interestingly, they are the first female K-pop group to have five of their videos breach the billion viewers mark.
Before Blackpink and Twice stormed the K-pop girl’s scene, there was Girls’ Generation (referred to as SNSD over in Korea). Although they aren’t performing as a group anymore, they were likely the gateway artist for many K-pop fans. Their last single was released in 2018, and since then, fans have been waiting for the hopeful day that they reunite. This is something that may come to pass, seeing as they reunited for a TV episode of You Quiz on the Block that was well-received.
Exo’s style covers it all – they’ve gone bad boy, cute boys, quirky, and sexy. Known for reinventing themselves regularly and pulling it off extremely well, this boy band has some incredible music videos. At the moment, the group comprises nine members, while only five of them are active in the group. Interestingly, many of the members have joined up and completed their military services between 2019 and 2021. If you want a song to get you started with Exo, you should listen to ‘Growl’.
TWICE are known for making sweet, addictive melodies in a range of alternating styles. Ever since their debut in 2015, these nine bubbly queens have been lined up for fame. Their music videos are colourful, their fashion is flawless, and they will have you on your feet in no time. Back in October 2021, they released their first English single, ‘The Feels’, through JYP Entertainment. Despite not having as much fame in the western world as some other K-pop artists, it won’t be long until they rise up.
NCT is the largest K-pop group in the world. At the time of writing, they have a staggering 23 members. Interestingly, these artists don’t all perform together on stage. Instead, they are split into sub-groups, including WayV, NCT Dream, NCTU, and NCT127. Each of these groups caters to different audiences and will often rotate members based on the required aesthetic. Although their formation can be confusing, there’s no denying that their music is world-class.
If you’ve never heard of K-pop, you need to ask yourself what rock you’ve been hiding under. Arguably, even if you claim not to have listened to any of it, the chances are that you have. Either way, if you enjoy vibrant music, poppy sounds, and energetic dance routines, then you should check out the K-pop artists on this list.