Edited by Yoon
Translated by Eungee Joh
Nowadays, the K-pop market is completely oversaturated. Every day new idol groups are joining the competition to become the next big K-pop star. On top of that, the first and second generation of idol singers are jumping back into the business after seeing the success of their juniors.
Many artists are continuing the history of Korean pop music, starting with H.O.T., S.E.S., Shinhwa and Fin. K.L. in the first generation, TVXQ, Bigbang, SNSD and Wonder Girls in the second, and then E.X.O., B.T.S. and Blackpink leading the third generation. Now, we are looking at the current fourth generation and even the quickly approaching fifth generation that will lead the Korean pop music industry in the upcoming years. So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the groups that will become huge in the future.
Aespa is one of the most successful idol groups to debut recently. Even before their debut, all eyes were on the group since it was a new girl act created by the giant talent agency, SM Entertainment. Their fictional SM Culture Universe drew the listeners’ attention through its cryptic lyrics and refreshing concepts even before their debut. As a result, their debut song, “Black Mamba,” topped almost all the music charts right after its release. Moreover, they have achieved remarkable results in sales, quality and popularity with their new songs, “Next Level” and “Savage.” Notwithstanding that the group has the support of one of the biggest entertainment companies in the country, their solid singing has certainly contributed to their success.
ENHYPEN is a Korean boy band formed through the 2020 survival competition show I-Land, a joint project between CJ ENM and Hybe Corporation. Though the show itself was not hugely popular, the group eventually pulled through and became famous by releasing multiple quality albums. All three albums are meticulously produced, with great storytelling that connects each album. Perhaps this is the part where they inherited the strength of BTS and TXT, their fellow labelmates who paved the way for them. Although they barely make any appearances on reality TV shows, fans are expecting to see their future endeavors as they are focusing on musical activities by releasing a full-length album less than a year after their debut.
STAYC is a girl group produced by Black Eyed Pilseung, a duo mostly known for its collaboration with Chung Ha. The act drew attention even before its launch because one of the members was, in fact, the daughter of the famous Korean musician, Park Nam Jung. Although their first title song, “SO BAD,” didn’t live up to its hype, their following release, “ASAP,” became a smash-hit. Soon, their cute signature dance move went viral on Tiktok, Youtube, and other social media platforms. As a result, their song climbed back up the charts and became a go-to track we listen to every day. Recently, they released a new mini-album, and its title track, “STEREOTYPE,” has hit No.1 on music programs for the first time after their debut.
Treasure is a Korean boy band formed by YG Entertainment through its reality-survival program, YG Treasure Box. Unlike other groups, the band focuses on finding its own style rather than following the current K-pop trend of making hip-hop songs or creating a massive cinematic universe. The upbeat pop tracks in their first album, THE FIRST STEP: TREASURE EFFECT, are nothing like the songs that YG had produced before. The album shows they had explored and brainstormed ways to break free of the typical YG music style while considering what the agency does best. Although they still have a long way to go, fans cannot stop wondering about their next move and what kind of music they will bring into the industry.
Ever since their debut, Weeekly has appealed to a certain age group of listeners. The girl act found its fame by slowly building up their career under a small label amid an increasingly competitive market where no one gets the spotlight, except for those backed by big agencies or that have won TV talent shows. They decorated their stage with props such as blackboards and desks to bring out the theme of “late teens,” and their debut song “Tag Me” and popular-hit, “After School,” were much loved by the teenagers throughout the year. So far, they have created a good set of albums from We Are to Wa Can, We Play.
Editor Yoon: I love music, especially K-POP, and I dream of becoming an A&R person, lyricist, artist, etc. I will cover various articles, including song reviews, artist reviews, and K-pop market analysis.