So in trying to figure out how to integrate a bit of myself into the blog, so maybe my readers can see where my thoughts and opinions come from, I’m going to do a quick list of both my Top 10 Boy and Girl Groups. I actually prefer girl groups overall, but it’s going to be a lot easier for me to rank the boy groups since I don’t listen to as many, and not even half of them are as flawless as girl groups. Please note that these are not necessary the ‘best’ boy groups, but the boy groups I most enjoy. If I’ve seen a group live, I’m gonna bold their name.
Rookie(s) to Watch: ALPHABAT
Ok, so they’re rookies who debuted last year after a major line up and concept reconstruction, and have released 4 whole songs. “AB City,” my favorite mess of 2013 which somehow tried to be both tough and cute at the same time, and then “Surprise Party” which was a special Christmas single. It was pretty cute. They were performing covers of Infinite’s “Nothing’s Over” at showcases, which actually suits them pretty well. If they stuck with more songs like that I think they could really go places. They kind of have a special place to me since I’ve been watching them since their 2013 debut. I’m really hoping that they can release something good and be a bit more successful, since I really like the member’s voices, and I generally do not…do…boy groups…especially boy groups that debut after 2011…They’re my favorite trainwreck, and will be releasing a mini album at the end of the month. Below is their newest song; I’m not sure how I even feel about it. It has a more defined sound than “AB City”, but it still sounds kind of messy.
I feel like I kind of…have to put them on here since I don’t really listen to any other boy groups and SHINee has some amazing songs. I know 2013 was a huge year for them which brought them a lot of success with over 9000 comebacks, and recognition from Billboard for the choreography of “Everybody,” but to me, SHINee went downhill starting with “Sherlock.” I know their dancing is amazing and is only rivaled by maybe one or two other groups, but their new sound just doesn’t do anything for me. “Lucifer” and “Ring Ding Dong” are forever going to be my favorite eras of SHINee. Even though I listen to SHINee more than other boy groups on this list that I ranked higher than them, the amount of favoritism SM shows Taemin is knocking them down for me, since my precious bias, main vocal Jonghyun, is losing lines to the supposed main dancer.
In reality, B2ST should be my 10th place, but I just can’t do it. These last two years I feel like B2ST [Pronounced: ‘Beast’] has had much stronger releases than SHINee. “Beautiful Night” and “Shadow” are both perfect songs. Even though their physical sales weren’t extremely high in 2013, they still have a huge fanbase. I remember at the 2013 Dream Concert they actually had a larger fan section than SNSD, the Nation’s Girl Group. Besides that, even though this technically isn’t B2ST promotions/activities, member Hyunseung is part of TroubleMaker, my favorite subunit of K-Pop; and I’d argue TroubleMaker is probably more popular than both B2ST and other member Hyuna’s group 4Minute. Anyways, even though I don’t listen to a majority of their catalogue (as is true with most of the groups on here, to be honest), I feel like B2ST is a pretty solid group overall.
“Mirotic.” Like…do I have to say anything else?
Despite the group splitting in half in 2009/2010 forming TVXQ [TVXQ, DBSK, Dong Bang Shin Ki…same difference] (Yunho and Changmin staying at SM and keeping the original name) and JYJ (Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu making a unit and then basically all just doing solo projects), all 5 members are still extremely popular with the public and are making pretty great music. “Something,” TVXQ’s new release, was one of my favorite songs of 2014 thus far, and I did really enjoy Jaejoong’s “Just Another Girl,” even though there was a disgusting amount of English sung for it being a K-Pop song. I like TVXQs 2012 release “Catch Me” a lot too. But they’re basically here because I don’t listen to most of their catalogue prior to 2012. Though I do respect them significantly and know if it weren’t for DBSK none of the other groups I’ve even listed would be a thing right now.
Enjoy the Dance Ver. of “Mirotic” AKA MY EVERYTHING (Just try not to stare at Yunho and Jaejoong’s bodies too much where you ignore the dance. ok?):
I don’t know. I rejected liking them for so long. I wasn’t interested at all. I took pictures at 2013 Dream Concert just because my friend liked them. Then Jang Dongwoo happened; I watched an episode of Mamma Mia because Kyuhyun (AKA My One True Love) was hosting and Sandeul from B1A4 was a guest, and Dongwoo was on it too… He’s so greasy and adorable. Plus it doesn’t help that “Man In Love” came out while I was in Korea. A lot of fans actually don’t like that song, and the afore mentioned Infinite fan I’m friends with absolutely hated that song at first and called it a “SHINee reject track.” I kind of understand; it sounds a bit like a demo of SHINee’s “Dream Girl” mixed with Infinite’s breakout hit, “The Chaser,” but it’s catchy! They work with the same producer 9Muses does, Sweetune, so they have a very retro-like sound to a good amount of their music. They’re known as a dance group, but I honestly don’t watch a lot of their videos; while looking up the video to put here, it turns out the dance version of “The Chaser” only has a million less views than the original version, which is pretty cool. I prefer their more ‘cute’ songs over their darker songs (such as “Before the Dawn” and “Destiny”), but that’s just me. Anyways they’re doing really amazing for being from a small company, Woolim, which SM C&C (a subsidy of the devil incarnate known as SM Ent) just acquired. I still don’t care about any of the members except Dongwoo, but that’s how I am with most boy bands; I generally like one or two members and the rest are just there. Here’s hoping for an Infinite H comeback soon!
6. Big Bang [mostly Seungri]
I have a friend who will probably want to punch me for putting Big Bang ahead of DBSK, but I honestly listen to and enjoy more of their catalogue despite that I think the group is mismanaged, a mess, and have basically turned into The G-Dragon Show. Like I said, I don’t care about most members of a boyband, and Big Bang fits that as well. I made a post on my old blog about how much I love Seungri. That still stands. And to add to it, his 2013 comeback, “Gotta Talk to You” was absolutely flawless and I am irate that not only EXO won over him, but that not even two weeks into promotions, G-Dragon had a solo comeback and started promoting on top of Seungri. Way to go YG. Anyways Big Bang is scheduled to release a solo album this Summer. Yawn. I actually prefer all their work prior to G-Dragon deciding he has ‘swag’ and releasing his Snoop Dogg rip off hit “One of a Kind.” I genuinely enjoy some hip-hop music but I feel like Big Bang tries too hard to be Western, but I guess that’s why they appeal to Western audiences. I really like their songs from 2007-2011 (I’m pretty sure that’s when the “Tonight” EP came out). I do have to say, of all idols, Big Bang definitely uses English the best and most appropriately in their songs, which makes listening to their songs a bit less cringeworthy than a lot of K-Pop artists. I basically claim Big Bang as being my guilty pleasure group.
Here’s “Haru Haru,” arguably the best track they ever released.
Why I like btob: Jung Iloon. My darling ‘gwiyomi’ inventor. A friend told me to download some btob songs when I had credit from Amazon; I did, they sounded ok but didn’t really listen to them often. I still don’t. I listen to the songs where Ilhoon is featured at least 500% more. His collaborations with Hyuna, 2Yoon, G.NA and now Subin of Dal Shabet are flawless. I really like his rapping style and his unique voice – he doesn’t try to play into that whole ‘deep voiced rapper’ which so many other groups push. For being a boy rookie group of 2012, they’re doing pretty well considering they were really overshadowed by BAP and EXO; neither of which I care for to the point where it physically pains me that I can’t call either of those groups flops (sidebar: I actually really liked BAP’s newest song “Angel” since it doesn’t try so hard). They’re part of Cube, which gives them a nice advantage too, since they have 4Minute, B2ST, and G.NA to help promote them, as well as performing at United Cube Concerts. “WOW” reminds me of a Backstreet Boys song, so obviously it’s perfect. I thought “Second Confession” was really cute, and as I’ve posted, “Beep Beep” turned out to be an assbaby of BTS’ songs and EXO’s “Growl” so it sounds awesome. I’m hoping to grow a connection to more of the members since I do enjoy their releases, but just don’t listen to them…ever.
Oh, Boyfriend, the group I always forget about. I’ve seen them live and I still forget about them. I own a physical copy of one of their albums, yet I continue to forget them. Which is a shame; despite that I have no favorite member to the point where I don’t even know who is who in the group, they’ve been making pretty solid comebacks since 2011 when they debuted. My favorite song is “Don’t Touch My Girl” but I really love “Janus” too, and think they did an amazing job of performing it live. They get a lot of crap for being cute (the singles were flopping on the charts but did well in album sales), then they got crap and flopped harder, but had higher album chart positions, for trying to be more ‘mature.’ Make up your minds, people! I bought the I-Yah Repackage CD and it’s actually a really solid release, including the non-title tracks.
My biggest problem is that Starship Ent hates them. They’re too busy giving Sistar projects (and promoting them with everyone BUT BOYFRIEND MEMBERS), and now promoting K.Will, to even care about Boyfriend. Starship basically just ships them to Japan for promotions since Boyfriend is actually significantly more popular there than in Korea. I’m kinda pressed that they’re coming to the US and I can’t see them (mostly because I’m broke but also because they’re playing in Chicago and then somewhere in Texas, neither of which I live near), but also not that pressed because I’ve seen them already. Anyways I really wish they’d get more promotion and recognition. I remember reading that they were one of the three breakout boy group rookies of 2011 but compared to the other two, pretty much nobody cares about them anymore which is really sad. I’m hoping that they’ll get a comeback that propels them pretty far, but that’s unlikely at this point. I feel like they’re destined to live in the realm of ZE:A and UKiss of groups that just could never break out no matter how hard they try; but in this case I fully blame their company.
3. Block B
Oh Block B, my favorite trainwreck boy group. The sad thing is, they don’t even deserve that title, or the hardships they’ve been through. They came from a small company; got in a lot of trouble because of some comments they made regarding a natural disaster in Thailand, ended up suing their company over not being paid – the CEO committed suicide and the boys lost their lawsuit. Pretty much everyone thought they were done. Until they came back in 2013 with “Be the Light” and “Very Good.” I remember that the EP was sold out on so many sites the same week it was released. I first got into them at the end of 2012 when I was directed to the “Nillili Mambo” video from some message board. Of course I thought Park Kyung was the worst member back then (and he still is), but he’s since become my favorite member. Aiight. His solo song is so sexual.
Anyways….Yeah, these boys have a lot of talent. Zico is kinda the G-Dragon of the group but with less swag, which makes him really likable. He writes a lot of the groups’ music, and hogs a lot of lines, but nobody really complains. They get compared to a lot of other hip-hop oriented K-Pop boy groups, but when you hear a Block B song, you know it’s them. I enjoy their “lack of image”, and how they’re always being kinda pervy on shows; they’re typical 20something year old boys, and you can tell they don’t really let the fame get to them. What’s kind of interesting is that they’re under a new company called SevenSeasons, and there’s speculation that they’re managing themselves, which I would like to see be true. They’re like the complete opposite of the other boy groups in my top 5, but they’ve grown on me a lot since their “Very Good” comeback.
2. Super Junior
I’m half bolding because I’ve seen the only member I really care about live, plus another one; both in musicals. Anyways, Super Junior, AKA SuJu AKA Stupid Junior; there’s at least 40 names for them. I don’t know. They were literally the first K-Pop group I listened to that I liked. So even if I hated them now, they’d still have a special place in my heart. They’ve been around since 2005, they added Kyuhyun in 2006 which is when they got popular obviously, since Kyuhyun is the most important member of any boyband ever. I’ve seen him sing live, and oh boy, nothing can compare.
What’s sad is the group is a HUGE MESS. The full group hasn’t had a Korean comeback since July 2012. SJM flopped in Korea. Henry had solo songs which SM was afraid to promote without popular SM acts backing him. Super Junior released like 3 things in Japan this year. Donghae and Eunhyuk are doing their little subunit thing that I would argue is only selling because of how fans ‘ship’ them, since SM decided to promote a special EXO Christmas single over Donghae&Eunhyuk’s Korean single “Still You”…eurgh. SM is promoting a Yesung solo song despite that he’s in the military. Former member Han Geng is taking over the world, acting in a blockbuster Hollywood film, and is scheduled to go to space at some point. Nobody knows what happened to Kim Kibum. The rest of the members will be rotating in and out of the military until 2018. What’s kind of sad about that, is it seems like the group is waiting for leader Leeteuk to finish his service to have a comeback. If that’s the case, why didn’t the whole group just enlist together and get it over with? I understand the importance of keeping in the public eye somewhat – which the members do with MCing/Radio Hosting and Henry’s solo project (eurgh…….), but let’s be real, the Korean public (and netizens) hate a majority of the members.
Even though I loved “Sexy Free & Single” I would agree that the group peaked in 2009/2010; which is ironic since that’s when the group was on the verge of falling apart – Han Geng sued SM Ent, Kibum left, Kangin had his incidents, Heechul supposedly almost quit (Ironically, three of the four are my favorite members after Kyuhyun…); but they were putting out the best music during that time period. Of course, as an idol group who gets most of their material from outside writers, that’s SM buying or choosing better songs for the releases.
I’m not as into SuJu as I was from 2011-Early 2013, but I really am hoping they have a kickass comeback this year. They’ve been through a lot, and get a lot of crap from anyone who isn’t a fan. Not to mention a lot of fans ditched them for EXO in the last two years, the amount of scandals they’ve had, and that SM seems to just not care about them anymore. Kyuhyun even made a comment on a show about how he worries that SuJu isn’t important to SM Ent any longer; and I would agree. Of SMs current active groups I would say the pecking order as of today is: SNSD (even considering what happened with the album leak….), EXO, SHINee, DBSK, Super Junior, f(x); meaning that they’re behind 3 groups that debuted after them. I get that they aren’t as popular as they once were, but how can they be with such lack of promotion?
My annoyances aside, their music is really great to “sing” along and dance to. Plus I’ve meet Eunhyuk’s and Yesung’s moms, so that’s pretty cool too. I’m posting my favorite song of theirs, but also check out “It’s You,” “Sorry Sorry,” (actually the whole Sorry Sorry Ver C album) “BONAMANA” and pretty much all of Super Junior M’s releases.
What can I say about B1A4? These five country boys have captured my heart in a disgusting way. I’ve never stayed up to 3am (on purpose) to watch a live performance from the other side of the world until I became their fan. They debuted in 2011, around the same time as Block B and Boyfriend, but I would argue at this point they’re the most successful of the 2011 boy groups. They were kinda flops at first, but they grew steadily throughout their career, with each album selling more and each song charting higher. They haven’t had a number 1 song yet, but they’re up to, I believe, 9 total wins on music shows. It seems like their comebacks alternate between cute and serious concepts; but I have to say, I prefer the cute concepts much more. B1A4 is the only group I’ve ever watched on multiple variety shows, and even though I’m the same age as the members (plus or minus a year for three members), I think they have very childish, cute personalities; they’re innocent and it’s very endearing.
Like a few other groups I’ve mentioned, the members are very involved with their songwriting and music making process. Particularly Jinyoung (my favorite member) who composes a good amount of their tracks, as well as writes lyrics for them and is involved in production; and Baro who has pretty much always written his own raps, which most K-Pop rappers cannot say for themselves. I made a longer post about the group dynamics if you’re curious about this. But unlike most groups (both male and female), I actually like every member, feel as though they contribute something to the group, and would be sad if one of them decided not to be there anymore; they all add their own charms to the group. Even though I think Gongchan is heavily under used and that he’d be the most ‘replaceable’, I still like him and would miss him a lot, as well as his unique soft yet raspy voice. I think CNU is really under-appreciated and underrated, and even though I’d love for him to go solo (despite that it would likely flop; his solo track and self composed songs were two of the lowest charting songs on Who Am I), if he left the group, B1A4’s sound and stage presence would hurt a lot. I know a lot of international fans don’t care for Jinyoung because he’s really boring on variety shows
(sorry darlin’), but if he left, the group would basically be done; their most popular songs have been written by him, and he’s domestically the most popular member. Even if you don’t like his personality, it’s hard to say he doesn’t add anything to the group, because between his musical skills and his ‘leader’ position, I think he adds the most. Sandeul and Baro are pretty much the solid members of the group that everyone likes and even though people have been saying as of late Baro is ‘distant,’ (besides CNU, he has the most individual schedules) it’s unlikely either of them would leave the group.
Anyways, they’re from a no-name company, and have worked their butts off to get where they are. Even though they’re trying to show a more mature image, and I think they overall do better on the charts when they do so, seeing them “behind the scenes”, you can tell how thankful they are for their fans, and how humble they still are; they’re still the silly boys that were so lovable in “Beautiful Target”. What is also really unique about B1A4, is that they can actually pull off both silly and serious concepts without seeming out of their comfort zone, or that they’re trying too hard either way. I also have to say, B1A4 is one of the few groups – K-Pop or not – that has a solid discography. They have solid album tracks as well as singles, which I think will help them in the long run to survive a volatile industry. I’m really hoping that they can move out of the idol territory into the ‘artist’ category soon, but I honestly cannot say enough about these 5 talented boys and how they’ve captured my heart.
I have to post two of their tracks, because if I don’t post “What’s Happening” I’ll regret it for the rest of forever. At some point I’ll make a Top B1A4 Songs post.
Who are your favorite boy groups? Comment below!