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Hannah’s K-Pop Corner: Girl Groups

Hi everyone!! Today I wanted to talk about something a little bit different. It’s still K-Pop, don’t worry, but I was realizing recently that I mostly talk about boy groups and not a lot about girl groups. While I don’t listen to as much music by girl groups, I am here today to tell you all about some of my favorite ladies in K-Pop.

Fun fact: the first K-Pop song (other than an original soundtrack) that I heard and fell in love with was “Run Devil Run” by Girls Generation, aka SNSD. SNSD was the first super big K-Pop girl group. Their song “Gee,” which came out in 2009, was their big breakout and set the tone for K-Pop girl group songs to this day. One of the members of the group, Taeyeon, has also become a very successful soloist. My favorite song by her is “Fine.” Recently, they came out with a new sub-unit (a group with just some of the members) called Oh!GG. They released “Lil’ Touch” as their debut sub-unit song and it’s one of my all time favorite girl group songs.

Run Devil Run:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_gfD3nvh-8[/embedyt]

Lil Touch:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdzLl-XpJt0[/embedyt]

Two of the biggest K-Pop girl groups currently are Blackpink and Red Velvet. I’m not a huge fan of either of these groups, but they both do have many songs that I enjoy. The music video for “Peek-A-Boo” by Red Velvet shows Red Velvet as a cult that kills off pizza delivery boys. I highly recommend watching it.

Peek a Boo:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uJf2IT2Zh8[/embedyt]

However, Twice, one of the other popular girl groups, doesn’t have any songs that I like. I feel that some of their music has questionable lyrics such as “I reject your rejection” (I guess they haven’t heard of consent). I also don’t like their cutesy-ness, and while they are certainly not the only ones with the cutesy concept, they are currently the most popular group with it. And finally, I think that their dancing is uninteresting. Their dances mainly consist of them standing in place and doing small arm movements. The irritating part is that I know that they are capable of more because I have seen some of the members, like Momo, dancing really well. There are a lot of people that do like Twice, though the only reason I have been given for that is that the members are pretty.

Yes or Yes:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAKsZ26SabQ[/embedyt]

My favorite girl group is Mamamoo. They are a four-member group composed of three vocalists (Hwasa, Solar and Wheein) and one rapper (Moonbyul). I think that their vocals are the strongest out of all the popular girl groups, despite being one of the least popular. I also feel that their stage presence is better and that their songs are more interesting, musically. They first caught my eye because their concept isn’t super cutesy or sexy like many girl groups. Instead, their music has found a balance between the two. Right now, they have a four-seasons concept where each member represents a season and each mini album represents one as well. In my opinion, that is much cooler than having a random alien in your music video like Twice.

Starry Night:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FB2EoKTK_Q[/embedyt]

Piano Man:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IIBVnn4eTM[/embedyt]

I know she isn’t currently in a group, but Sunmi from the Wonder Girls, who disbanded in 2017, is my favorite female soloist. Her twitter is hilarious (check it out @miyaohyeah), her music videos are weird and intriguing, her dancing is both hilarious, beautiful and also full of iconic moves. I mean, really, she is a queen. Her debut as solo artist was in 2018 with “Gashina” and then she continued to put out bops like “Heroine” and “Siren.”

Siren:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNWMZIf7eSg[/embedyt]

Two girl groups who I feel are underrated are CLC and Dreamcatcher. CLC consists of seven members and debuted in 2015. I first listened to their song “Hobgoblin” and was like “Who are these girls? They are awesome!” and then I forgot about them for a while. This past year they released “Black Dress,” and it was one of my favorite songs of this year.

Black Dress:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9OxRFab6o4[/embedyt]

Also, EXID are queens and their song “Up and Down” was revolutionary for K-Pop girl groups. In the dance for the song, they hip thrust slightly, and it was a huge controversy. On the other hand, there are boy groups out there being praised for grinding on the floor. Later they made a song called “Ah Yeah.” In the music video for “Ah Yeah,” they mock the unnecessary censorship that is always put upon girl groups, like when music shows censored their hip thrust in “Up and Down.”

Up and Down:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfXZ6ydgZyo[/embedyt]

Ah Yeah:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egqDPipqIAg[/embedyt]

Finally, we come to new girl groups who just debuted. (G)-Idle debuted in the fall with their song “Latata.” This was my favorite debut song from a girl group ever. They were powerful, had a cool dance and were not focused on being overly cutesy or sexy. The rapper of the group also has a deeper voice which is unusual in K-Pop for women and reminiscent of Moonbyul from Mamamoo.

Latata:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mQk7Evt6Vs[/embedyt]

Dreamcatcher debuted a couple years ago in 2017 (so, not super recent, but I’m trying, ok?) with seven members. Their songs “You and I” and “Chase Me” are my favorites. “Chase Me” was their debut single and “You and I” came out nine months ago. The music video for “Chase Me” features the group in a cult, as ghosts. There is a strange man exploring the mansion they are in. They’re terrorizing him, and (while it is not actually shown) I think that they killed him. Also as a side note, I realized while writing this that many of my favorite music videos by girl groups involve them being in a cult and killing men (okay, there is actually only two, but Dreamcatcher’s whole concept is being a witch coven sooo…) Dreamcatcher are super unique and have different concepts from many of the other girl groups, which makes them stand out.

Chase Me:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zihoyz0u_cs[/embedyt]

The reason that I don’t like many girl groups is because I feel that many of them only have cutesy or overly sexy concepts. It baffles me as to why 24 year old women are wearing school girl outfits and I know that part of that is just a cultural difference, but it’s still one of the main reasons I dislike many girl groups. The groups that I do like tend to have different concepts and that are more dark and powerful. Also, many girl groups always wear super short skirts and high heels while performing so they are not able to do the same type of dance as many of the other groups do despite being just as capable. When I first got into kpop, I often described the girl groups as dolls. Many of them have the same haircut, sing similarly and the groups often have similar concepts, so I found it hard to differentiate them. Early into K-Pop the big three companies found a system that worked, and they have continued working with it all these years later with little to no deviation. I am by no means blaming the girl groups for this, but rather criticizing the system that K-Pop has built where the girl groups are expected to act in a certain way.

 
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