The Sentinel

16 Best Korean Pop Bands You Should Know

Nov 5, 2021
This seven-member boy band has taken the world by storm and are definitely the biggest name in K-pop. BTS have performed sell-out arena shows across the US and UK, have achieved two No. 1 albums in the US, boast 16 million monthly listeners on Spotify, have sold 16 million albums (Map of Soul is the best-selling album in Korean history), and were the best-selling artist to debut in the 2010s.
SuperM is the latest K-pop super group, formed only last year, and features some of the genre's most iconic performers. The seven members are from four hugely successful – and still active – K-pop bands: EXO, WayV, NCT 127 and SHINee.
Big Bang was formed in 2016 and fast became one of the biggest-selling and most popular boy bands in the world. In March 2019, member Seungri announced his retirement from the industry due to sex scandals surrounding the Burning Sun nightclub, which saw the singer charged with arranging prostitution, illicit gambling and embezzlement.
Girls' Generation
Known as 'The Nation's Girl Group' in South Korea, Girls' Generation's albums are full of fun electro pop tracks, and in 2017, Billboard crowned them the 'Top K-pop Girl Group of the Past Decade'. The group has eight members: Taeyeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun.
Consisting of members Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa, Blackpink is another hugely successful Seoul-born girl group. In November 2019, they became the first ever K-pop band to join YouTube's 'billion views club', when their single Ddu-Du Ddu-Du was played more than a billion times on the site. The only other Korean act to join the club is Psy with Gangnam Style (remember that?).
Another wildly popular K-pop ground with the accolades to boot – EXO have scored four No. 1s on Billboard's World Albums chart. Formed in 2012, the group performed at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and their music is a bright, upbeat mix of rap, hip-hop, R&B and rock.
Drunken Tiger
Known as one of the pioneers of Korean hip-hop, Drunken Tiger formed in 1999 and won several music awards for their numerous albums. Their first album, Year of the Tiger, was controversial at the time given its explicit lyrics and diversion from pop-culture norms.
Fly To The Sky
Also debuting in 1999, Fly to the Sky are an R&B duo consisting of Brian Joo and Hwanhee.
Miss A
Active between 2010 and 2017, Miss A consisted of members Fei, Jia, Min, and Suzy. Their debut track Bad Girl Good Girl topped the Gaon Digital Chart, making them the first-ever band to have a number one debut song on the chart. The track later became the best-performing track of 2010 on the chart.
Super Junior
Super Junior or SJ shot to fame with the release of their best-selling single Sorry, Sorry in 2009, from their most successful album of the same name. Their popularity has seen them dubbed the 'King of Hallyu Wave'.
NCT 127
This 10-member group is based in Seoul (hence the 127, the longitudinal coordinate of the city) and released their latest album, 'Neo Zone', last month. They're one of the most popular current K-pop groups, with 7.1 million Instagram followers and over 2.4 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Despite what the group's name suggests, Seventeen consists of 13 members who are each assigned to a specific sub-unit: 'Hip-Hop Unit', 'Vocal Unit', and 'Performance Unit'. Seventeen released their sixth EP You Made My Dawn in January 2019, from which the song Home is considered one of their best tracks. Their latest track, Fallin' Flower, was released on April 1st 2020 and is the group's second Japanese single.
Pronounced 'tiara', this girl group was active between 2009 and 2017. Their second mini album John Travolta Wannabe (2011) had the lead single Roly-Poly which became the top grossing and most downloaded song of 2011 in South Korea.
Monsta X
This group debuted in 2015 with their first EP, Trespass, and have been making waves with English-language tracks such as Someone’s Someone and Who Do U Love? Last year, singer-songwriter Wonho announced he was leaving the band with Monsta X continuing as a seven-member group. An online petition to keep Wonho in the band has gathered over 480,000 signatures.
Wonder Girls
Wonder Girls ran for 10 years, between 2007 and 2017, and are known as 'South Korea's Retro Queens' because of their songs inspired by the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Their most famous song is probably hit single Nobody, released in 2008, which gained them international recognition.
ONF is one of K-pop’s hottest rising acts, whose new repackaged album 'City of ONF' will be released on 28th April 2021. The album contains the 11 tracks from ONF: MY NAME as well as three new tracks. You've likely heard their track 'Beautiful Beautiful', the music for which has garnered over 16 million views in just over one month. ONF are one to have on your radar, as we predict they'll rise from success to success.