K-Pop has become a dominating music category all over the world, garnering fans of all ages and of all ethnicities.
With such a wide range of music and artists, it can almost seem daunting to someone who is unsure of where to begin but don’t sweat it.
We got you. Here are a few songs and a light K-Pop newbie guide to help you on your journey!
The epitome of K-Pop
For those that are looking for the epitome of K-Pop, aka hard bass, bright music, flashy music video and the obligatory English words mixed in, check out:
Big Bang: Bang Bang Bang
Big Bang is dubbed as one of the most influential K-Pop groups to date because of its widespread influence on the western world.
This K-Pop group consists of four members: Taeyong, G-Dragon, T.O.P, Daesung. Each one of these members has their own hit singles as well. Be sure to check out the “Kings of K-Pop”!
BTS is now known as one of the most popular K-Pop groups in the world for their amazing music and their acts of charity. BTS includes seven different members: RM, V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, Jimin, J-Hope.
Starting from a company that did not have much presence in the music industry to becoming one of the best-known names in the world, listening to their songs is a must!
EXO: Call Me Baby
One of Korea’s best-known groups all over the world, EXO makes a name for itself with music that captivates the audience.
Made up of nine members: Chanyeol, Baekhyun, Suho, Sehun, Xiumin, Chen, lay, D.O, and Kai, find them on YouTube with more than 500 million views on practically every video they have.
MOMOLAND: BBoom BBoom
MOMOLAND has six members: Hyebin, Jane, Mayun JooE, Ahin and Nancy.
This group was formed through a reality show named ‘Finding Momoland’. While originally consisting of nine members, three of them left the group in 2019 and 2020.
BLACKPINK: As If It’s Your Last
BLACKPINK has four members: Jennie, Rosie, Jisoo, and Lisa. They’re easily one of Korea’s most beloved girl groups.
Red Velvet: Red Flavor
Red Velvet can practically be considered one of the most prominent girl groups in Korea due to their unusual dual concepts while also experimenting with different sounds every time.
In Red Velvet, you’ll find five members: Joy, Irene, Wendy, Seulgi, and Yeri. Check them out to get into the summer spirit!
For the vibes
For those who want to hear something a little more mellow within the K-Pop genre, we got you covered.
Red Velvet: Bad Boy
Bad Boy is a perfect example of a song a little more mellow. One of Red Velvet’s popular songs for incorporating R&B into the pop genre, it is a song you have to check out.
Red Velvet: Peek a Boo
Combining both the mellow and pop together into a song that makes it work so well, “Peek-A-Boo” has been a fan favorite ever since it came out.
BTS: Blood, Sweat & Tears
“Blood, Sweat, and Tears” falls more on the pop side of things but can be considered much more relaxed than others. “Blood, Sweat and Tears” has over 500 million views on Youtube, closing in on almost 600 million.
Gorgeous vocals, unique sound, and another dance that has yet to disappoint be sure to listen to “Blood, Sweat, and Tear”s to hear the range BTS has.
Seventeen: Don’t Wanna Cry
Seventeen is a K-Pop group consisting of 13 members that are broken into three subunits. The vocals include Woozi, Jeonghan, Joshua, DK, Seungkwan.
The hip hop is made of: S.coups, Wonwoo, Mingyu, Vernon, and the performance group is made of Hoshi, Jun, The8, Dino. SVT has become a fan favorite in Korea for their catchy songs, be sure to listen to one of their most known songs.
Day6: You Were Beautiful
Day6 debuted in 2015 and has been making hits ever since then. Made up of five members: Jae, Sungjin, Young K, Wonpil, and Dowoon.
They are best known for being a Korean rock group. Instead of dancing in their music videos, watch them play each of their songs on their own instruments.
Something a Little Cuter
For the ones who are looking for that cute factor, K-Pop has, be sure to look over here.
Twice: Like Ooh-Aah
One of Korea’s favorite girl groups since their debut in 2015, they are best known for their cute concepts and even cuter members.
Be sure to listen to their debut single, the very one that put them high up on the charts.
IOI: Very, Very, Very
A Korean girl group formed through a reality TV show called Produce 101. This group was made up of 11 members from a pool of 101 members.
Although the group has now been disbanded since the end of their show airing, you can still find these girls in their own individual groups.
GFriend: Me Gustas Tu
A six-member group that has won countless awards even though they came from a music label that was not well known. Me Gustas Tu is one of the best songs to listen to if you want to hear a bit of that sweet, cute concept and have it be catchy as well!
IZ*ONE: La Vie En Rose
A relatively new group in Korea, this group was formed through the third season of ‘produce 101’. Debuting in 2018, their debut single is a song you just can’t help but put on repeat.
Debuting in 2015, CLC has not yet found the traction it needs to become popular in Korea but each year they continue to put out songs that seem to get stuck in people’s heads. Be sure to check out their cute single, Pepe!
Looking for a good song to play when you’re in your bag? K-Pop got you for that too.
BTS: Spring Day
Pining for that rare love, BTS uses seasonal metaphors to emphasize their message that things will pass and it will always get better- a perfect message to their fans who may just be going through something.
IU: Through the Night
IU is one of Korea’s most infamous singers for her strong vocals, soft voice and down to earth attitude. Through the Night is a love letter to someone that is not near her.
For those who understand the importance of ‘less is more’, IU is a perfect example of this in the music industry.
Lonely is an ode to the feeling of always being alone, even while with others. Jonghyun, unfortunately, passed away on December 28, 2017, after a long battle with depression and suicide. Rest in peace Jonghyun, we hope you’re feeling better where you are.
Lee Hi: Breathe
A single released shortly after Jonghyun’s death, this song is a message to Seoul and all of Jonghyun’s fans that were grieving over his death. It is a song that talks about empathizing with a stranger and all their burdens and reminding them to “breathe”.
AKMU: Last Goodbye
AKMU is a brother-sister duo that is best known for their unique voices and songs that speak to the heart. Last Goodbye is no different, a love song that is about ignoring a problem in a relationship in hopes they will be able to go back to the way they once were.
K-Pop extends its branches into the r&b side of things as well.
DEAN is one of Korea’s best-known r&b artists. Instagram is a song about well, Instagram! DEAN talks about comparing himself to others through Instagram as well as how many of the bright and happy posts are just disguising how sad someone truly is.
Heize: We Don’t Talk Together
Heize is best known in Korea for her unique voice and style of songs. This song talks about blindly believing in a relationship where the other still has feelings for the singer.
McKay: Angel 2 Me
Angel 2 Me is a love song to their beloved, a song that tries to convey all the emotions they have for their lover and their affection.
A song with a message of struggling to relax in a world where it’s always pushing them to go, go, go. Crush once again crushes it again with another song that captures the hearts of listeners.
Zico: Hello Tutorial
Hello Tutorial is about becoming too nervous to say hi to someone, no matter how much you practice. A song that emphasizes the stress about trying to get close to someone or even make the first step, Zico perfectly captures the emotions in one song.
Of course, these are just a few of the songs that dominate the K-Pop genre. For anyone that wants to get into K-Pop, make sure you listen to these K-Pop classics that every K-Pop Veteran knows!
Taeyang: Wedding Dress
Girls Generation: Gee
Wonder Girls: Nobody
Zico: I am You You are Me
Brown Eyed Girls: Abracadabra
Hyuna: Roll Deep
Hyuna: Bubble Pop
Super Junior: Sorry Sorry
EXID: Up Down
SISTAR: Touch My Body
Girls Day: Something
f(x): Red Light
Shinee: Ring Ding Dong
PSY: Gangnam Style
Of course, there are TONS more to check out. We hope this helps you get started with appreciating music from other countries!