In recent years, Korean music, also known as K-pop, or Hallyu Wave, has become well known around every corner of the world. Almost every foreign music lover has come to know about K-pop because of some of the famous k-pop bands such as BTS, BLACKPINK, EXO, Super Junior, 2PM, TWICE, etc. Nowadays, it is even harder to keep track of newly debuted k-pop bands. Every year numerous k-pop bands debut. Some become big hits domestically, or some become internationally hit, and some may even disband as soon as they come. Sad, but that is the harsh reality of the K-pop industry.
Nevertheless, there still are many bands who always put their best to reach the top. The Hallyu Wave began back in the 90s. There are numerous 1st generation k-pop groups still popular among domestic as well as international fans such as S.E.S., Fin.K.L, H.O.T, SHINHWA, god, Seo Taiji and Boys, etc. With every year new band debuting, it is difficult to withstand in the competitive k-pop industry. Still, numerous bands are breaking through their barriers and embarking on a new journey to reach out to the public. Before proceeding, note that the following list does not include every k-pop band famous in South Korea. Do not be down because your bias is not included on the list. After all, every group gives their best, and their fandom knows it better than anyone! Keep supporting your k-pop band and your favorite bias!
The South Korean boy band WINNER consists of four members, leader Seungyoon, Mino, Seunghoon, and Jinwoo. WINNER was formed through Mnet’s WIN: Who Is Next program and debuted in August 2014 with studio album 2014 S/S under YG Entertainment. WINNER often recognizes as a self-producing group since all members actively participate in producing, choreographing, designing, and even marketing. The group has earned the title Kings of Summer by various media outlets. SOSO, Remember, Everyday, Millions, Hold, Love Me Love Me are few popular songs from WINNER’s list. Inner Circle is WINNER’s fandom name indicating their fans are a close group of friends to them. The group is currently on temporary hiatus but knowing they have renewed contract with YG in August 2021, fans may get to see a new release soon.
Label- Play M Entertainment
One of the famous girl groups loved by Korean netizens, Apink, is also on the top 20 k-pop list. Apink is a girl group composed of leader Park Chorong, Yoon Bomin, Son Naeun, Jeong Eunji, Oh Hayoung, and Kim Namjoo. The group debuted with the EP Seven Spring of Apink in April 2011. Since then, Apink has come so far that they have released nine Korean mini-albums, three studio albums, and three Japanese studio albums. Hush, Mr. Chu, My My, NoNoNo, Brand New Days, Luv, Only One are few popular Apink songs every pink panda has in their listening list. Apink’s fandom name is Pink Panda. With sophisticated visual and soft yet powerful performance Apink released the 9th mini album “LOOK” with the single “Dumhdrum” in April 2021.
18. The Boyz
Label- Cre.kr Entertainment (Kakao M)
The South Korean boy band group The Boyz, which consists of eleven members, has made it on the top 20 list. The Boyz comprised of leader Sangyeon, Younghoon, Jacob, Hyunjae, Kevin, Juyeon, New, Q, Sunwoo, Haknyeon, and Eric. The Boyz was debuted in December 2017 with the EP The First under Cre.kr Entertainment. Since its debut, the group has dropped various albums and singles such as Right Here, The Stealer, D.D.D., Bloom Bloom, Reveal, etc. Deobis (The B) is The Boyz’s fandom name that signifies fans are vitamin for The Boyz. In August 2021, The Boyz released the 6th mini-album, “THRILL-ING”, including the single “THRILL RIDE” to take fans on a thrill ride!
Label- Fantagio Label
On the top 20 list, we have one of the fast-rising boy bands, ASTRO. ASTRO is a south Korean band of six members, including leader Jinjin, MJ, Cha Eunwoo, Rocky, Moon Bin, and Yoon Sanha. As soon as their debut in 2016 under Fantagio Label with the single “Hide & Seek” the group was named one of the best new k-pop groups of the year by Billboard. Breathless, Baby, Crazy Sexy Cool, All Night, Cat’s Eye are some of the popular singles by ASTRO. AROHA is ASTRO’s fandom name that depicts three different parts, ASTRO, Heart, and All fans. With cheerful concept and energic vocals, ASTRO released a new single, “After Midnight” in August 2021.
16. Super Junior
Label- SM Entertainment
On the list of top 20 K-pop groups, we have one of the most popular groups of all time, Super Junior. Super Junior is a South Korean boy band, also known as SJ or SuJu, debuted in November 2005. At present, Super Junior consists of nine active members, leader Leeteuk, Yesung, Heechul, Shindong, Eunhyuk, Siwon, Donghae, Ryeowook, and Kyuhyun; with Sungmin on hiatus since 2005. Due to their notable contribution to Korean Wave, they are also called as King of Hallyu Wave. Their fandom name is E.L.F stands for Ever Lasting Friends. Since 2005, Super Junior has released various studio albums, singles, etc. Sorry, Sorry, Bonamana, Mr. Simple, Devil are some of the famous singles released by Super Junior. In 2021, they released “The Renaissance”, which reached the top of the Gaon Music Chart.
One of the beloved k-pop groups, SHINee, has made it on the top 20 list. SHINee is a four-member South Korean boy band group consists of leader Onew, Minho, Key, and Taemin. In May 2008, SHINee debuted with their EP Replay. Since then, the group has contributed massively not only in music but also in dancing performances. SHINee is best known for complex choreographing and trend-setting clothing. Since its debut, the group has released numerous studio albums, singles including Lucifer, Sherlock, Ring Ding Dong, Beautiful, Hello, etc. SHINee’s fandom name is SHINee World, but most fans call Shawols, a combination of SHINee and World. SHINee released a Japanese mini album “Superstar” in June 2021. Recently, SHINee’s Key dropped his 1st mini-album, “Bad Love” release date and teaser.
14. Oh My Girl
Label- WM Entertainment
Another fast-rising girl group, Oh My Girl, is on the list. Oh My Girl is a seven-member South Korean girl group consists of Mimi, Hyojung, Seunghee, YooA, Binnie, Jiho, and Arin. In April 2015, Oh My Girl debuted with the EP Oh My Girl, including their single “Cupid”. Since its debut, the group has released numerous singles which were loved by fans, such as Windy Day, Closer, Secret Garden, Coloring Book, Banana Allergy Monkey, etc. Oh My Girl is one of the fast-raising and popular groups that have gone through a fair share of obstacles to achieve today’s success. Miracle is Oh My Girl’s fandom name. Oh My Girl released the 8th mini album “Dear OHMYGIRL” in May 2021.
13. Monsta X
Label- Starship Entertainment
Monsta X is a six-member boy group, consists of leader Shownu, Kihyun, Minhyuk, Hyungwon, I.M., and Joohoney. Monsta X debuted in May 2015 with the EP Trespass. The group has even released an English album named All about Luv, which was ranked five on the US Billboard 200. Monsta X is one of the boy groups known for its steady and aggressive style with a perfect balance of hip-hop, EDM, and pop concepts. Monsta X is also one of the influential fourth-generation k-pop groups. Hero, Fighter, All In, Beautiful, Shine Forever are few popular Monsta X’s singles. Unlike their visuals, their fandom name is pretty romantic; that is Monbebe means My Baby. Monsta X comes back with a full blast in June 2021 with their single “Gambler”.
Label- KQ Entertainment
One of the popular boy bands from fourth-generation ATEEZ positions on the top 20 k-pop list. ATEEZ is a South Korean eight-member boy band composed of Seonghwa, Hongjoong, Yeosang, Yuno, Mingi, San, Wooyoung, and Jungho. They debuted with the EP Treasure EP. 1: All to Zero in October 2018 under KQ Entertainment. ATEEZ is titled “4th Generation Leader” by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. Some of ATEEZ famous songs are Utopia, Mist, Light, Desire, Horizon, etc. ATEEZ’s fandom name is ATINY, a combination of ATEEN and destiny, referring to ATEEZ’s future is together with their fans. Recently ATEEZ dropped “Fever part 3”.
Label- Cube Entertainment
One of the rising girl groups (G)I-DLE has secured a position on the list. (G)I-DLE is a South Korean multi-national girl group of five members leader Soyeon, Miyeon, Minnie, Shuhua, and Yuqi. (G)I-DLE debuted with their single “Latata” in May 2018. The group members are actively involved in writing and producing their music. (G)I-DLE’s Hann, Dollar, Senorita, Hwaa are some of the popular songs. (G)I-DLE gained popularity after their debut and make a firm stand in the home country even without coming from famous titles. Neverland is (G)I-DLE fandom name indicating the girl group will live together with their fans without changing. The most recent (G)I-DLE release was “Last Dance” in April 2021.
NCT stands for Neo Culture Technology, is a South Korean boy band that consists of 21 members. It is subdivided into different units named NCT U, NCT 127, NCT Dreama, and WayV. NCT as an umbrella group consists of Taeyong, Taeil, Johnny, Yuta, Doyoung, Kun, Jaehyun, Ten, Jungwoo, Winwin, Mark, Lucas, Jeno, Renjun, Jaemin, Haechan, Jisung, Chenle, Yangyang, Xiao Jun, and Hendery. It is a unique k-pop group where members shift into different sub-units in different cities formed under SM Entertainment. NCT has released studio albums NCT 2018 Empathy and NCT 2020 Resonance Pt. 1 and Pt. 2. NCTzen is NCT fandom name, pronounced as N-citizens. NCT Dream released “Hello Future” their 1st repackage album in June 2021. Also, in the same month, NCT 127 X Amoeba Culture dropped a new single, “Save”.
Label- RBW Entertainment
Here comes a girl group with a strong aura and impactful performance, Mamamoo. Mamamoo is a South Korean girl group of four members, including leader Solar, Hwasa, Moonbyul, and Wheein. In June 2014, Mamamoo debuted with their single “Mr. Ambiguous”. Mamomoo is recognized for covering retro, jazz, and R&B elements with their remarkable strong vocal performance. Taller Than You, Um Oh Ah Yeh, You’re The Best, Decalcomanie, New York, Emotion are a few Mamamoo’s famous songs many k-pop listeners add to their list. MooMoo is Mamamoo’s fandom name. In June 2021, Mamomoo released a new single, “Where Are We Now”, with beautiful, powerful lyrics that would leave goosebumps!
Label- JYP Entertainment
One of the popular girl groups ITZY has made on to the top 20 list. The South Korean five-member girl group ITZY consists leader Yeji, Ryujin, Lia, Chaeryeong, and Yuna. With their single album “It’z Different” ITZY debuted in February 2019. ITZY’s Dalla Dalla ranked one on the Gaon Music Chart. Besides this, ITZY has released various singles, such as WANNABE, SURF, CHERRY, Be in Love, etc. Even though it has been only two years, ITZY already making its name and way through all other k-pop groups on the home music ground and entering a foreign land. ITZY’s fandom name is MIDZY that represents trust between ITZY and their fans. Recently they have dropped the opening trailer of ITZY’s new album “Crazy In Love”.
7. Red Velvet
Label- SM Entertainment
Another girl group on the top 20 k-pop list is Red Velvet. Red Velvet is a five-member girl group under SM Entertainment, consists of leader Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, Joy, and Yeri. Red Velvet debuted with the single “Happiness” in 2014. The group covers versatile genres like electronic, funk, and hip-hop with a slight touch of ballad and jazz. Besides their melody-like voice, the girls are also famous for their dazzling and beautiful visuals. Psycho, Bad Boy, Red Flavor, Peak-A-Boo, Russian Roulette, Dumb Dumb are few popular Red Velvet singles any ReVeluv has on their list. Rea Velvet’s fandom name is ReVeluv, describes as a dream as well as the love Red Velvet has for their fans. In August 2021, Red velvet divas came up with a brand new mini-album named “Queendom” to conquer your heart once again!
Label- YG Entertainment
Here comes the famous girl group on one of the top positions, BLACKPINK. BLACKPINK is one of the most popular girl groups, consists of four members Jisoo, Rosé, Jennie, and Lisa. The group debuted in August 2016. The group has already left impressive remarks in the pop music industry with their numerous singles, such as Whistle, Ddu-Du Ddu-Du, Kill This Love, How You Like That. No wonder the group is famous in the home country as well as internationally. Blink is BLACKPINK’s fandom that stands for starting and ending with BLACKPINK. Like other groups, BLACKPINK also went through a rough patch that direct them where they are now. With their domestic and global success, the members have released their singles occasionally. Recently Lisa has dropped her new single teaser video!
Another famous boy band group on the top 20 k-pop list is TXT. TXT stands for Tomorrow X Together, is a South Korean boy band group of five members, leader Soobin, Beomgyu, Yeonjun, Taehyun, and HeuningKai. They debuted in 2019 under Big Hit Music. TXT’s first EP The Dream Chapter: Star reached at the top on the Geon Album Chart. Many of their songs are loved by k-pop listeners, such as Crown, Run Away, 0x1=LOVESONG, Blue Hour, Drama, and so on. TXT has conquered domestic music ground in a short time, which is a remarkable point in this era of the k-pop wave. TXT never fails to show their love for fans who always support and encourage them, and therefore TXT named fandom MOA, which stands for Moments Of Alwaysness. TXT’s one of recently released “0x1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You)” featuring Seori would make you fall in love with TXT once again!
Label- Pledis Entertainment
Seventeen is a South Korean boy band group of 13 members leader S.Coups, Joshua, Jeonghan, Jun, Wonwoo, Hoshi, Woozi, DK, The8, Mingyu, Seungkwan, Vernon, and Dine. They debuted in 2015 under Pledis Entertainment. Seventeen also tailored as SEVENTEEN and SVT with the members actively involved in songwriting, choreographing, and other aspects of their music and performance. Seventeen has released studio albums named Love & Letter, Teen, Age, and An Ode. Adore U, Home, Thanks, Don’t Wanna Cry, Pretty U are some of their songs that contributed to Seventeen’s growth and success. With the fans’ support, Seventeen shines brightly on the stage, and hence they named the fandom CARAT. Seventeen are finally ready to shower their love releasing their new “Read To Love”.
Label- JYP Entertainment
A girl group that comes top on the top 20 list is TWICE. TWICE is a nine-member South Korean girl group consists leader Jihyo, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Sana, Momo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. The group debuted in October 2015 with the EP The Story Begins. The girl group gained popularity with their single “Cheer Up” in the home country, which was a huge success for TWICE. Afterward, What Is Love, TT, Signal, Oxygen, Love Foolish, Likey came on the top list. TWICE is known for its cheerful, bright tone songs. TWICE fandom name is Once that depicts once you love them, twice they will love you. In June 2019, TWICE released the 10th mini-album “Taste of Love” with the single “Alcohol-Free” to make you drunk in love.
Label- SM Entertainment
On the second position of the top 20 k-pop groups in South Korea, we have EXO. If you are a veteran k-pop lover, you must know the famous boy band EXO. South Korean-Chinese boy band group, EXO, is nine members group consists of leader Suho, Xiumin, Lay, Chen, Baekhyun, D.O., Chanyeol, Kai, and Sehun. EXO debuted in 2012 under SM Entertainment. They are recognized as Kings of K-pop and the biggest boyband in the world by numerous media outlets. Their popularity is no less in South Korea. Growl, Ko Ko Bop, Monster, Love Shot, and Call Me Baby are few popular EXO songs that every new Exo-l has. EXO-L is the fandom name of EXO, while the members call their fan Stars/Aeris. In June 2021, EXO released a special album called “Don’t Fight The Feeling” with a new energetic feeling!
Label- HYBE Labels
Here comes the most popular K-pop group in South Korea that is none other than BTS. BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, consists of seven members leader RM, Jin, Suga, Jimin, V, J-Hope, and Jungkook. BTS was formed under HYBE Labels in 2010 (previously Bit Hit Entertainment) and debuted in 2013 with their single album 2 Cool 4 Skool. It has been a decade, and the group has reached the top of the music world. Any k-pop lover must know at least one song by BTS. So far, the group has released various albums such as Wings, Love Yourself: Tear, Be, etc. Make It Right, DNA, Life Goes On, Dynamite, Butter, etc. are few BTS songs that are world-famous. The journey from 2010 till now has never been easy for them. After going through numbers obstacles, stereotypes, criticism, and heightening ARMYs expectations, BTS has made at the top in the present time. ARMY is BTS fandom’s name, and as the name suggests, fans always will be together with their idol through all ups and downs, supporting them endlessly. In July 2021, BTS dropped a new song titled “Permission To Dance” featuring Ed Sheeran, Johnny McDaid as songwriters, and production by Steve Mac, Jenna Andrews, and Stephen Kirk.