K-Pop Music Recommendations

As a follow-up to my article on BTS, I have decided to compile a list of some of my favorite K-Pop boy and girl groups. I have an endless amount of favorites due to YouTube's insistent recommendations, but I managed to narrow it down to just five. Below, you'll also find a couple of songs by each group which I believe showcase their talents as both a group and as individuals. Each group is distinctive in their own way, and their contributions to the genre of K-Pop have all helped to introduce the genre to a western audience, making it as immensely popular as it is today.

 

Big Bang

Without sounding too bold, Big Bang is to K-Pop what the Beatles are to Rock N' Roll or Michael Jackson to Pop. They were formed in 2006 and consist of five members: G-Dragon, Taeyang, T.O.P, Daesung and Seungri. After so long in the industry, Big Bang has a wide variety of songs to sample, including the music from the gif I have attached to their name.

Song Recommendations:

"Bang Bang Bang"

A bold song with an amazing music video to accompany it. If you're looking for an upbeat, high-energy hit, then look no further. Each member gets a chance to shine in their own way, but G-Dragon's vocals really caught my attention in this song. Trust me when I say, this is a song you'll have on repeat for days. 

"Loser"

As a completely opposite song to "Bang Bang Bang", both in terms of tone and pace, this inclusion is one of Big Bang's most popular. It has a wonderfully relaxed melody and features some amazing vocal work by Taeyang. The lyrics, despite being in Korean, can certainly speak to a lot of people, and I encourage you to translate them into English while listening to the song.

 

Monsta X

Monsta X is one of the most recent K-Pop groups that I have come across. For those of you who don't know, the group consists of 7 members: Shownu, Wonho, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Jooheon and I.M. Despite being new to me as a listener, they are widely popular around the world, and their music can attest to their international appeal.

Song Recommendations:

"Jealousy"

Since it was the song that first caught my attention, I had to include it on this list. With a super-catchy melody and simple chorus (in English!) it's no wonder the music video has accumulated 16 million views, having just come out this year. Also, it features some of the best rapping that I've heard in K-Pop, so definitely give it a listen.

"Hero"

This is one of the group's most popular songs. It is similar to "Jealousy" in terms of its faster pacing, but its wicked beat is what truly makes it a great addition to the group's repertoire. Of course, the choral line "I can be your hero; I can be your man" is simplistic, but powerful in combination with the music. There are also those crazy video game sounds throughout the song that allow it to stand out in a unique way.

 

EXO

EXO consists of nine members: Xiumin, Suho, Lay, Baekhyun, Chen, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai and Sehun. These are the group's current members, as there have been a few past members who have left the group. I was drawn to the group because of their amazing dancing; it certainly reminds me of just how much work these K-Pop groups put into their songs and music videos. 

Song Recommendations:

"Monster"

The song opens with a techno beat and slowly builds up to the chorus, where the members join together in perfect harmonization. Like the other additions on the list, the song includes both vocal and rap lines, courtesy of Chanyeol and Sehun. Also, the line "Don't be afraid; love is the way", is one of my favorites, no matter what group we happen to be talking about. Speaking of catchy choruses, you'll be hard-pressed to find one better than this song's.

"Growl"

This song has some of the group's former members included in it, such as Tao, Kris and Luhan. It's a slower paced song than "Monster," but that certainly doesn't mean it's any less enjoyable. In fact, the song's slower pace is a perfect fit for its lyrics and allows the group members to really nail their vocal lines. As I see it, songs that have a slower pace and quieter instrumentation usually put more emphasis on the lyrics and vocals, allowing the members to show off their amazing ranges.

 

BLACKPINK

BLACKPINK is an extremely popular girl group that consists of four members: Lisa, Rosè, Jisoo and Jennie. They have almost 13 million YouTube subscribers, which is a great testament to their talent. In fact, member Jennie has recently released some wonderful solo work, but we're here to focus on the group itself. I have included some of the more popular songs that have given them the most attention. They're also some of my personal favorites, so I hope you enjoy them as well.

Song Recommendations:

"DDU-DU"

With nearly 500 million views on Youtube, I couldn't resist adding this catchy song to the list. Lisa has some wonderful moments in this song, showcasing her unique rapping abilities. However, this is nothing against the other members who have hypnotizing vocals. The song's music video is also perfect for the song, allowing the girls to show off their amazing dancing abilities. Of course, the video itself is super complex, featuring some amazing visual work that adds another layer to the song.

"Kiss and Make Up"

A collaboration with Dua Lipa? Yes, please! If we're talking about the group's international appeal, then this song would provide compelling evidence to that claim. Each member gets a chance to shine in the song, which begins with Lipa's captivating vocal additions. The song is almost entirely in English, which shows how hard the members have worked to cut across language boundaries with their music. Give it a listen if you're a fan of the group or Dua Lipa! 

 

Red Velvet

The girl group consists of five members: Seulgi, Joy, Irene, Yeri and Wendy. Like BLACKPINK, they have also enjoyed international success with their high-energy songs and fluid choreography. 

Song Recommendations:

"Ice Cream Cake"

This is about as upbeat and energetic as you can get. If you watch the music video, then you can see the group's top-notch dancing and some pretty outstanding visuals. Also, " it's so tasty, come and chase me" is a fantastic lyric line. And, if you feel like chanting along, then "I scream, you scream, gimme that ice cream" is just about as good as it gets.

"Bad Boy"

Unlike "Ice Cream Cake," this song is a bit less frenetic. However, that doesn't make it any less appropriate for this list. In fact, the music is slower paced, which allows it to have a calming effect on its listener. The music video matches this pacing and has some stunning images and choreography.

 

What K-Pop bands do you enjoy listening to?