Although it started in South Korea, K-pop music is taking over the world. The genre has managed to endear countless K-pop artists to millions of fans around the world, garnering billions of streams for K-pop music and sold-out international tours. But how did it all happen?
K-pop caught fire quickly for several reasons. One is the universality of the music itself. Despite its name, K-pop is not limited to pop influences, but rather embraces hip-hop, rock, blues and everything in between. K-pop is also famous for mixing Korean and English lyrics. But another reason for its success is the artists themselves. K-pop singers are increasingly recognizable for their over-the-top performance style and large group size.
BTS is arguably one of the main K-pop groups that popularized the genre in the United States and parts of Europe. The group has seven members – Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook – and debuted in 2013 with the release of their single album. 2 cool 4 school. Since then, the BTS boys have dropped international megahits like “Butter” and “Dynamite,” become the youngest recipients of the Order of Cultural Merit (awarded by the President of South Korea), and even joined a White House press briefing to speak. against Asian hate crimes. Safe to say, this band has already changed the musical landscape, and they’re not done yet.
K-pop group Monsta X, consisting of members Shownu, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney, and IM (former seventh member Wonho left the group in 2019), debuted just two years after BTS. The members were reunited after their collective experience on the music competition show, No. Mercy, created by Starship Entertainment. Monsta X went on to be known for their EDM and rapping leanings. (That’s the genre fluctuation we were talking about earlier.) Additionally, Monsta X’s first English album All about Luv (2020) reached number five on the Billboard 200 card. All in all, a casual reading of the band’s catalog is worth the time.
SEVENTEEN (also stylized as SVT) is a 13-member K-pop boy band. Thirteen! S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, DK, Mingyu, The8, Seungkwan, Vernon, and Dino are the cornerstone of this upcoming K-pop boy group. The group itself has divided its members into three sub-units: the Hip-hop team, the Vocal team and the Performance team. Due to SEVENTEEN’s wealth of talent, every fan is able to identify with or admire at least one member of the group. This musical collective is truly an impressive feat of collaboration.
K-pop boy group EXO is known for their numerous performances in Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese. This group has nine members: Xiumin, Suho, Lay, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, DO, Kai and Sehun who first hit hard with their single “Growl” (2013). In total, EXO has released seven studio albums, with the biggest US hit being the 2018 album. Don’t mess up my tempo. Overall, EXO has an unmistakable swagger.
Last, but not least, is the Stray Kids octet. Bang Chan, Lee Know, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Felix, Seungmin, and IN have also reunited after appearing on a music competition TV series. It was in this show that they found their name: Stray Kids. This boy group has also been credited for creating their own K-pop flair by pioneering a new genre: the mala taste genre. The “mala taste genre” is a term used by Korean media to describe the band’s flowing sound, and is inspired by the popular dish of malatang soup. To put it simply, EXO’s music is food for your ears.
Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS