KPOPPYMUSIC

YOUR RESOURCE FOR EVERYTHING KPOP

MUSIC : Introduction

Where to begin?

If you're new to Kpop the biggest hurdle to overcome can be simply not knowing where to look. For those of us that live outside of Asia, there is no Kpop on TV or played on the radio or talked about on the news. Where do you start if you don't know any band names? How do you find what you haven't already heard?

Well, that's what this MUSIC page is for. It's a banquet table filled with all the major food groups, a variety of beverages, and a smattering of delicacies to choose from. Enough that you can try a little of everything and find out what you like best.

To keep up with the latest releases in Kpop, visit KPOPPY's sister blog, which is regularly updated by yours truly.

KPOPPY, of course!

And if you're already a Kpop fan like I am, you'll bookmark the page for the sake of convenience. Honestly, I made it for myself. I wanted a way to quickly access my favorite songs and artists. After using it for months, almost daily, I figured it could be of similar use to my fellow fans. Hence, KPOPPY was born!

If all this material is still intimidating, I've curated some Youtube playlists to serve as an introductory course:


TOP KPOP

Trending

The up-and-coming generation is fully hitting their stride. These are the most dominant Kpop groups of the moment. It's likely that you've seen at least a few of these names trending on Twitter and seen their fandom activity in Youtube comment sections. Listed below the group name is the year of their debut, the number of members in the group, the company they belong to, and their official fandom name.

The list of links will open music videos at Youtube. The selections are based on my personal opinions of the groups' best work or on major hits. Note that some groups are quite new and have less material to choose from.

GIRL GROUPS

TWICE
2015
9 members
JYP Entertainment
ONCE
RED VELVET
2014
5 members
SM Entertainment
ReVeLuv
GFRIEND
2015
6 members
Source Music
Buddy
BLACKPINK
2016
4 members
YG Entertainment
BLINK
MAMAMOO
2014
4 members
RBW
MOOMOO
OH MY GIRL
2015
8 members
WM Entertainment
Miracle
EXID
2012
5 members
Banana Culture
L.E.G.O
On Deck: GIRLS
9MUSES WILD
BESTie Excuse Me
COSMIC GIRLS Secret
LABOUM Hwi hwi
Lovelyz Ah-Choo
MOMOLAND JJan! Koong!
PRISTIN WEE WOO

BOY BANDS

BTS
2013
7 members
Big Hit Ent.
A.R.M.Y
EXO
2012
9 members
SM Entertainment
EXO-L
SEVENTEEN
2015
13 members
Pledis Ent.
Carat
VIXX
2012
6 members
Jellyfish Ent.
ST☆RLIGHT
WINNER
2014
4 members
YG Entertainment
INNER CIRCLE
GOT7
2014
7 members
JYP Entertainment
I GOT7
NCT
2016
15 (mixed sub-units)
SM Entertainment
NCTzen
On Deck: BOYS
ASTRO HIDE&SEEK
B1A4 A lie
Block B HER
BTOB WOW
iKON Rhythm Ta
MONSTA X Beautiful
NU'EST Love Paint
Wanna One Energetic

Need to know

These groups are no longer in their most prime years of the 2nd and 3rd generations. Some are disbanded. Some still have major comebacks that light up the charts when they return. But the fast-paced competition of the younger groups is no longer necessary to make themselves known. Many of them have already achieved legendary status.

  •   Green check mark: ACTIVE GROUP. They are promoting, touring, resting/training.
  •   Yellow minus sign: IN HIATUS. Their future is uncertain, military service, etc.
  •   A red 'X': DISBANDED. The group officially ended their career together.

GIRL GROUPS

Girls' Generation
2007
8 members (orig. 9)
SM Entertainment
S♥NE
2NE1
2009—2016
4 members
YG Entertainment
Blackjack
Wonder Girls
2007—2017
4 members
JYP Entertainment
Wonderful
SISTAR
2010—2017
4 members
Starship Ent.
Star1
Apink
2011
6 members
Plan A Ent.
Pink Panda
f(x)
2009
4 members
SM Entertainment
MeU
AOA
2012
7 members
FNC Entertainment
Elvis
Girl's Day
2010
4 members
Dream Tea
DAI5Y
Brown Eyed Girls
2006
4 members
Mystic89
Everlasting
Orange Caramel
2010
3 members
Pledis Ent.
n/a (sub-unit)
KARA
2007—2016
5 members (varied)
DSP Media
Kamilia
SECRET
2009
4 members
TS Entertainment
Secret Time
miss A
2010
4 members
JYP Entertainment
Say A
4Minute
2009—2016
5 members
Cube Entertainment
4NIA
T-ARA
2009—2017
6 members
MBK Entertainment
QUEENS

BOY BANDS

BIG BANG
2006
5 members
YG Entertainment
VIP
Super Junior
2005
12,13,15 (?) members
SM Entertainment
ELF
SHINee
2008
5 members
SM Entertainment
Shawol
Infinite
2010
6 members (orig. 7)
Woollim Ent.
Inspirit
HIGHLIGHT/BEAST
2009
5 members (orig. 6)
Cube Entertainment
Beauty
2PM
2008
6 members
JYP Entertainment
Hottest
Block B
2011
7 members
Seven Seasons
BBC
B.A.P
2012
6 members
TS Entertainment
Baby
B1A4
2011
5 members
WM Entertainment
BaNa
MBLAQ
2009
3 members (orig. 5)
J.Tune Camp
A+
Teen Top
2010
6 members
TOP Media
Angel
U-KISS
2008
6 members
NH Media
Kiss Me

SOLO ARTISTS

Single Serve

Groups are the most common manifestation of Kpop, but solo artists crop up occasionally. Some soloists are purely soloists. Others belong to an Idol group, but have their own solo work on the side. Examples: HyunA is from 4Minute. Gain is from Brown Eyed Girls. Xia Junsu is from JYJ. G-Dragon and Taeyang are from BIG BANG.

It's increasingly common that a group member will release a solo effort on occasion, but I tried to focus on artists who have a significant and distinctive solo career away from their group and have released multiple albums on their own.

LADIES

BoA
2000
SM Entertainment
Queen of Kpop
superb dance skill
Lee Hyori
1998
Kiwi Media Group
sexy, flirtatious,
before hyuna = hyori
IU
2008
LOEN Music
soft, sweet vocals,
guitarist
Younha
2004
wealive
vocalist, pianist,
active in Japan
Gain
2006
APOP Entertainment
raw sensuality,
in PSY's 'Gentleman'
HyunA
2007
Cube Entertainment
attitude, innuendo,
Gangnam Style girl
Ailee
2012
YMC Entertainment
incredible vocal talent,
range and power
LEE HI
2012
YG Entertainment
strong soulful vocals,
R&B, jazz
Lim Kim
2011
MYSTIC89
silky vocals,
smoky tone
NS Yoon-G
2009
JTM Entertainment
Pop R&B,
singer/dancer
G.NA
2010
Pending
bright voice,
dance tracks
ANDA
2012
Emperor Ent.
sultry pop,
(Andamiro)

GENTLEMEN

Xia Junsu
2003
CJeS
versatile singer
dancer, musical actor
G-Dragon
2006
YG Entertainment
crack-tastic visuals,
rapper, industry troll
Rain
2002
R.A.I.N Company
Stephen Colbert's
nemesis
Park Hyo Shin
1999
Glove Ent.
powerful balladeer,
unique tone
Taeyang
2006
YG Entertainment
dance-focused,
hip-hop performer
Wheesung
1999
YMC Entertainment
R&B vocalist,
writer and composer
Jay Park
2008
AOMG
Rap, R&B,
ex-2pm member
K.will
2006
Starship Ent.
singer-songwriter,
narrative videos
PSY
1999
YG Entertainment
social commentary
made fun/wacky
J.Y. Park
1992
JYP Entertainment
literally JYP (CEO),
plastic pants
Se7en
2003
formerly Eleven9, YG
R&B pop/EDM,
singer, dancer
Top Producers
Black Eyed Pilseung wiki
Brave Brothers wiki site
Dsign Music wiki site
Duble Sidekick article
E-Tribe wiki site
Joombas wiki site
LDN Noise wiki soundcloud
Shinsadong Tiger wiki site
Sweetune article
Teddy Park wiki
Teddy Riley wiki
Thomas Troelsen wiki
Yoo Young-jin wiki
MV Directors
August Frogs vimeo site instagram
Digipedi Studio wiki site
Cha Eunt-taek
Dee Shin site article
Gudals Kim twitter vimeo
Han Sa Min imvdb
Hong Won-gi
Hwang Soo Ah
Jang Jae-hyuk
LUMPENS site twitter
Seo Hyun Seung imvdb
Tiger Cave Studio site
ZANYBROS site

LEGENDS

Stars of the 90s and early 00s

Meet some iconic artists of the 1st and 2nd Generations who paved the way for the 3rd. These groups are representative of the early stages of Kpop's evolution. Check out those baggy clothes and that 90s hair!

Seo Taiji & Boys
1992—1996
3 members
Yedang, Bando
Godfather of Kpop
rock/hip-hop fusion
H.O.T.
1996—2001
5 members
SM Entertainment
forerunners of the
idol group trend
Shinhwa
1998
6 members
Shinhwa
followup to H.O.T.,
longest running
g.o.d.
1999
5 members
JYP Entertainment
top selling idol group,
vocally-focused
Sechs Kies
1997—2000, 2016
6 members
Daesung Ent.
rival to H.O.T.,
varied genres
S.E.S.
1997—2002, 2016
3 members
SM Entertainment
first successful
idol girl group
Fin.K.L
1998—2002
4 members
DSP Media
girly, saccharine,
hyori's group
Baby V.O.X.
1997—2006
5 members
DR Music
less cutesy,
edgier/sexier
TVXQ!
2003—2009
5 members
SM Entertainment
The Kings of Kpop,
(DBSK) vocal harmony
TVXQ! (as a duo)
2010
2 members
SM Entertainment
duality
choreography
JYJ
2010
3 members
CJeS
genre fusion
vocal harmony

On TVXQ and JYJ

TVXQ are largely responsible for launching the 2nd Generation. They raised standards of performance that few groups have equalled. Last I checked, they're still on record as having the largest official fanclub in the world (Cassiopeia). Having been intensely active for so many years, their discography is massive and diverse. Fan or not, if you don't know TVXQ, you don't know Kpop. It could be argued that TVXQ made Hallyu a thing before anyone else.

TVXQ reigned from their debut in 2003 until 2009. They were the first Korean group to be active in Japan with huge success. Live performances and tours were their specialty.

Three members of the group sued SM Entertainment for contractual problems in 2009. SME's response was to end the group's activities and promote only the two remaining members.

The three rebels formed JYJ and have persevered despite exile from mainstream music media and perpetual court cases. Their struggle brought the darker side of Kpop to public attention and inspired reform in the industry. ( Articles: 1 | 2 )

LISTING

Want more?

A big ol' list of everyone else. Everyone else worth listing at least! They are grouped by debut year. The links are best hits, debut singles, or a personal favorite (often not their debut). I do my best to keep it updated.
Hearts ( ) indicate hits that I recommend.
A faded group name and ( X ) indicates the group/artist has disbanded or is on indefinite hiatus.
I've also included a small section for comedy videos. They're practically their own genre. Sometimes comedians collaborate for a fun music video, but there are also groups like Norazo who always bring the humor.

KPOPPY is not meant to be a perfect archive. It's a place to get started!
If you're looking for a more expansive archival site, check out KpopInfo114.

Ladies 2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2001 – 2010
Gentlemen 2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
1999 – 2010
SubGroups/co-ed 2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
1999 – 2012
comedy/parody

OTHER GENRES

Expanding the musical horizon

Mainstream TV and radio are flooded with the Idol dance pop with which you are now familiar, but it's like the Top40 in the US. Many of us don't want to listen to Justin Bieber and Rihanna. There is plenty of great music being made beyond Idol pop. While there is a lot of diversity, I've narrowed the genres to five general categories: Rock, Hip-Hop, Ballad, Electronic, and Coffee Shop. Some of it will lean towards pop. Some of it will lean towards the obscure.

ROCK HIP-HOP BALLAD ELECTRONIC COFFEE SHOP
ENGLISH / JAPANESE LANGUAGE

ROCK

light to heavy rock (top to bottom) and punk

HOLOGRAM FILM RETURN Red Rum WOLF
Drug Restaurant Mistake OMG

HIP-HOP

includes rapping and/or spoken word, R&B

Chancellor Better Son E Ga Rodeo

BALLAD

emphasis on vocal range and slower songs

COFFEE SHOP

acoustic guitar/piano, folk or jazz, gentle vocals

O!gon Gene Maybe

Non-Korean Languages

One more section is included for the Kpop in other languages. Some of it is pure novelty. Some is aimed purposefully at an International audience. Big companies have attempted to 'break into' the American music industry for years. None have been successful (so far). This may or may not change due to PSY's massively viral Gangnam Style. Non-Korean Kpop fans tend to think it's not a good idea to market to the US in the first place, but companies seem hellbent on it regardless. At any rate, I've included a group of songs all in English.

Japan hosts the 2nd largest music industry in the world. Due to proximity, some cultural compatibility, and the potential for far more revenue, Korean companies have put massive efforts into promoting their artists there. The initial push into the market with BoA and TVXQ started from the ground up with the idols studying Japanese to become fluent. Once the path had been paved to the top of the charts, other companies flooded in. This eventually created some serious backlash from Japan as more recent groups put little effort into learning the language or making new quality content. China now appears to be the more desirable conquest.