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Generation of Girls: Five Rising Girl Groups Changing the Kpop Scene

Timothee Luong breaks down the rising stardom and talent of Kpop bands, sharing song recommendations and descriptions and spreading a wider appreciation for kpop artists and fans worldwide.


Until recently, Kpop (short for Korean pop music) was once thought of as three things: eccentric and bubblegum, a knock-off of Japanese pop music, and a hobby exclusive to teenage Asians. But since the rise of household names like BTS and Blackpink, the Hallyu wave has garnered millions of listeners worldwide from outside its traditional demographic, including in Australia.


However, while most people are aware of the top two powerhouses, there are other fresh names in the past two to three years who are making waves in the scene, with unique sounds that differentiate them from both Kpop colleagues and Western counterparts. From bubblegum to RnB, from HipHop to EDM, these girl groups serve a diversity of flavours and emotions to audiences, changing the face of Kpop one song at a time.


Note that this is not a ranking of any kind, and that the groups and their songs included on this list were chosen by the author as a personal recommendation.


NewJeans

The five-member girl group that came fresh out of the oven this August 2022 are slowly becoming the next icon for their generation. Their surprise debut EP New Jeans produced two hit songsAttention” andHype Boy,” which are still keeping Korean music charts under a chokehold. If you’re a fan of RnB and HipHop with a minimal and nostalgic taste and cinematic music videos, NewJeans is the group for you!


  • Company: ADOR Labels (under HYBE Corporations)

  • Members: Hanni, Minji, Danielle, Haerin, Hyein

  • A must-listen song from them: “Ditto” (2023)



LE SSERAFIM

These five ladies are on their way to become the femme fatale icons of their generation. While being under the same HYBE family as NewJeans, their discography is completely different and has a more mature and sensual tone. If I had to compare them to a Western artist, the closest person would probably

be Olivia Rodrigo in her SOUR era, but with extra sexy and badass energy.


  • Company: Source Music (under HYBE Corporations)

  • Members: Sakura, Chaewon, Yunjin, Kazuha, Eunchae

  • A must-listen song from them:Blue Flames” (2022)



STAYC

Having debuted at the same time as several girl groups from bigger companies, StayC has been able to maintain their popularity thanks to their bright and bubblegum sound that embraces an authentic girly and youthful image. Their music is just the perfect soup whenever you’re feeling down and need an extra cheerful song to lift up your mood. They also have some of the catchiest choreographies that you can easily move along!


  • Company: High Up Entertainment

  • Members: Sumin, Sieun, Isa, Seeun, Yoon, J

  • A must-listen song from them: “ASAP” (2021)


NMIXX

A controversial choice to put on this list, as NMIXX’s music is definitely not public-friendly. It’s loud and chaotic, but also bright and fun. Their songs are also well-known for super high notes and back-breaking dances. I’d recommend checking out their B-sides Tank or COOL (Your rainbow) if you’re not a fan of

noise music - these are more toned down than their main tracks, but still kill it with some crazy vocals!


  • Company: JYP Entertainment

  • Members: Lily, Haewon, Bae, Sullyoon, Jiwoo, Kyujin

  • A must listen song from them: “Tank” (2021)


aespa

aespa’s debut was the experience that made the year 2020 a whole lot more tolerable. They have a unique futuristic artificial intelligence concept, with a highly-developed and invested storyworld. Their music is heavily influenced by EDM, trap and HipHop with plenty of singing raps. Also, they’ve inherited from predecessors of the same company an interesting style of mixing different genres into one piece of music, essentially creating “songs within a song.”


  • Company: SM Entertainment

  • Members: Karina, Winter, Giselle, Ningning

  • A must-listen song from them: “Illusion” (2022)




Honourable mention: Kwon Eunbi (soloist)

Okay, technically I’m breaking the rules here because one, this is an article about groups, and two, I promised to write about five only.


However, I can not stress enough how terribly lacking this article would be if it didn’t mention THE upcoming queen bee. Eunbi’s discography is an underrated gem filled with godly and seductive music

that’ll make you want to break into dance (probably because it’s so influenced by House and UK Garage). She serves the anti drop the justice it deserves.


  • Company: Woollim Entertainment (under SM Entertainment)

  • A must-listen song from her: “Glitch” (2022)






All images sourced are courtesy of each group’s respective companies.

Ent. is short for Entertainment.


Logo credits:

NewJeans: ADOR - HYBE Ent.

  • LE SSERAFIM: Source Music Ent. - HYBE Ent.

  • StayC: High Up Ent.

  • NMIXX: JYP Ent.

  • aespa: SM Ent.

Image credits:

  • NewJeans: ADOR - HYBE Ent.

  • LE SSERAFIM: Source Music Ent. - HYBE Ent.

  • StayC: High Up Ent.

  • NMIXX: JYP Ent.

  • aespa: SM Ent.

  • Kwon Eunbi: Woollim Ent. - SM Ent.

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