[Weekly Up & Down] What Happened in 2021?: 4th Generation K-pop Groups like aespa and ENHYPEN Emerged

2021 best K-pop

In the first half of this year, the 4th generation K-pop groups particularly stood out in the music industry. They showed a great presence in Korean charts and global charts, announcing the debut of the next-generation group that will lead the music industry.

TREASURE, which debuted in August last year, released their first full album, THE FIRST STEP: TREASURE EFFECT, in January. In the past, they have shown strong sound and performance-centered songs. However, with this album, they gave off a cheery vibe with the title song “MY TREASURE” and received favorable reviews. “MY TREASURE” was ranked at the top of the real-time charts on Japanese music sites soon after its release. Also, the music video has surpassed 31.52 million views (as of 5 PM KST on June 24th). In addition, THE FIRST STEP: TREASURE EFFECT has topped the iTunes charts in 18 countries.

STAYC also made back-to-back hits with their songs and emerged as the new popular group. They released the single STAYDOM in April. With the title song “ASAP,” the group showed a teen-fresh genre that emphasizes kitsch and youth. On top of that, the easy-to-follow “kneading dance” gained popularity, giving the song a big push. Highlighting the refreshing sound, “ASAP” showed a different side of the group that sang “SO BAD” last year. After all, STAYC has widened its spectrum of music.

ENHYPEN took root in the K-pop scene with only two albums. They sold 460,000 copies of their first mini-album, BORDER: DAY ONE, released in November last year, while the second mini-album, BORDER: CARNIVAL, sold 620,000 copies. In total, ENHYPEN sold a total of 1.09 million copies. They are also enjoying immense popularity in Japan. BORDER: CARNIVAL topped the Japanese Oricon weekly chart (2021.04.26 – 2021.05.02).

Only two months after their debut with “Black Mamba,” aespa won the music show trophies. Like that, they emerged as the “super rookies.” Their new song “Next Level,” released on June 17th, had gone viral thanks to its colorful song progression and the point dance move. After its release, the song received great responses from domestic music charts, three Billboard charts (Global 200, Global 200 without the US, World Digital Song Sales), and China’s QQ Music, Kuwo Music, and Kugou Music.


Besides them, rookie idols such as CRAVITY, TO1, Weeekly, PURPLE KISS, P1Harmony, BCD, and MCND are actively promoting their songs.


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Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.

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