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. Now that the boy groups have been posted, I’m going to try to figure out my top 10 girl groups, though they change constantly. Please note that these are not necessary the ‘best’ girl groups, but the girl groups I most enjoy. If I’ve seen a group live, I’m gonna bold their name.
There are so many groups I wanted to include but I only have room for 10 plus a Rookie shout out spot… there are way too many flawless girl groups to be honest, and I listen to a lot more girl groups than boy groups.
Note: f(x) should have been on here based on their catalogue, but they aren’t simply because of how much I disliked the Pink Tape era, and have grown to dislike the members aside from Luna and Amber for various reasons.
Rookie(s) to Watch: Ladies’ Code, BESTie
Ladies’ Code and BESTie both debuted in 2013, and Ladies’ Code are the more successful group. Their songs have charted higher and they actually have mini albums. But BESTie has 3 members who debuted in EXID back in 2012, meaning they’re still a bit more experienced with the industry, and their latest song finally cracked into the top 60 on Gaon.
Each of these groups has at least two, if not more, amazing vocalists, and Ladies’ Code has a style that is already unique to them only after a year of debut. My favorite track is still “Bad Girl,” but “So Wonderful” slays pretty hard too. I’m kind of annoyed seeing BESTie referred to as a ‘reject version of Sistar’ constantly, especially in the case of Yuji being referred to as a ‘Hyorin wannabe’, since Yuji is the lead vocalist and the most flawless member, but BESTie can’t help it when YNB (their company) won’t get stop buying them reject Sistar tracks. I love “Love Options” more than life itself, but trying to ride coattails isn’t a good way to get ahead or get the public to notice you in a good way.
Ladies’ Code will continue to move forward, as will BESTie since they’re arguably the most popular rookie girl groups from 2013, but BESTie are going to need to step out of Sistar’s shadow – which is a shame since their concepts are nothing like Sistar’s. “Thank U Very Much” was pretty unique in terms of girl group videos, actually.
10. Orange Caramel & After School
They’re kind of a two-for-one deal here since Orange Caramel are the three most popular After School members (maybe besides UEE), who have their own subunit that is basically more popular than the main group. Orange Caramel caught my eye before After School did, since they had a more unique concept, and “Lipstick” is still one of my favorite K-Pop songs period, but After School are THE GIRL DANCE GROUP. I don’t get how SNSD, f(x), or Miss A are even associated with that title, aside from being in sync. Maybe After School doesn’t have any standout dancers like those three groups, but these girls can pull off some complicated routines. I don’t know, but I hear pole dancing is pretty hard, as are drumline routines, tap routines, and basically everything this group has ever done. I feel bad that they aren’t more popular – maybe if they weren’t an idol group and were just a dance crew they’d get the recognition they deserve. Also calling fans “Playgirlz” and “Playboyz” doesn’t help when wanting people to associate with them.
9. Miss A
Even though I don’t listen to a lot of their non-single songs, their single songs are really good! I’m not sure exactly why Miss A aren’t more popular as a whole. Suzy is ridiculously popular in Korea, and it seems like nobody cares about any of the other members. Jia and Fei now have a radio show with Zhou Mi of Super Junior M, and Min just tweets and twerks but still manages to stay in the public eye – still none of them can even come close to Suzy’s popularity. It still baffles me how the group manages to do so poorly despite having the most popular girl in Korea as a member. Anyways, besides After School – who are the Dance Girl Group in terms of routines – Miss A are the best Dance Girl Group in terms of everything else. They have relatively intricate choreography and despite that Suzy has a harder time keeping up, the other 3 are always perfectly in sync and Jia and Min are known as great dancers. Fei is actually my bias in the group, by the way, and I think she’s one of the prettiest women in K-Pop.
I feel like JYP wastes them. They should be having comebacks more often, and they’d maybe be a bit more popular rather than pushing the group aside for all of their solo activities. They aren’t at SNSD’s level yet, which is why once-a-year comebacks for any of the girl groups on this list that ARE NOT SNSD is ridiculous in terms of marketing. My favorite songs are: “Breathe,” “Lips,” “Hush” – the latest comeback was amazing, and I’m so happy JYP finally gave them a title song not written by himself.
8. Dal Shabet
A friend told me about Dal Shabet when I was in Korea. Their name sounds weird, and I saw them for like 5 minutes before they ran off the stage so I don’t count that as seeing them live. Their “Be Ambitious” comeback is what got me interested since there was so much controversy with it, but now look how many girl groups are ripping off their iconic striptease! They were formed by E-Tribe, the producer behind hits such as SNSD’s “Gee” and Super Junior’s “It’s You” so it’s really a shame that Dal Shabet’s best song, “B.B.B” is a Shinsadong Tiger song! Don’t get me wrong, I really like “Mr. Bang Bang” too, but it’s just not the same level at all. Dal Shabet, who should be the biggest rookie girl group of 2011 if it weren’t for the uncle fans of APink, actually have a lot of really cool non-single album tracks. Their concepts aren’t the most unique, but overall I really like this group and am glad they had a big controversy otherwise I’d probably still be ignoring them and wouldn’t have heard “B.B.B” AKA The Best Slutty Girl Group Comeback [TM] of January, 2014.
I’m hopefully seeing them in May with….
7. Crayon Pop
Crayon Pop will also be attending the Korean Music Festival I’m looking to attend in May. Ironically they are also opening up for Lady Gaga’s North American tour. A friend told me to get tickets. I said no, and I honestly hope they don’t end up suffering the same fate that the Wonder Girls did after they opened up for the Jonas Brothers a few years ago. Granted Lady Gaga has a longer livelihood than the JoBros, but I really like Crayon Pop and would hate to see them suffer the same state of limbo that Wonder Girls are in right now.
Anyways Crayon Pop are amazing and your faves could never, and all of that. I think they aren’t higher simply because their catalogue of songs is so small. But look; they did a song that donated money to firemen. The streets literally went disco when they debuted. “Bar Bar Bar” could have been the “Gangnam Style” of 2013 if Westerners weren’t so far up Robin Thicke’s ass. Please note that I love “Blurred Lines,” but “BarBarBar” is at least 3000% more flawless, entertaining, and at least 50000% less offensive to feminists. They bring something different to K-Pop that absolutely no other group can bring. I get that people see these women as childish, but I don’t, it’s just something unique. So many people are on about ‘be yourselves’ and while obviously the company created Crayon Pop’s image, they’re something new, and they seem to have a lot of fun performing. Their Christmas single was my everything this past year, and I can’t stand Christmas music. It’s so relevant it still popped up easily on my Google Search.
Ok so they are probably the most bland girl group on this list. Even though I don’t care for APink because they’re bland, I find HelLOVEnus much more compelling. I first found them when they released “What Are You Doing Today?” at the end of 2012, and thought it was the coolest song. I wrote about it on my abandoned blog, actually. I still stand by that that song is what SM was trying so hard to do with “I Got a Boy” yet failed – “WAYDT” was a great mashup of multiple tunes with one constant backbeat that held the song together. I was in Korea during their “Would You Like Some Tea?” comeback – I still don’t know the real English title of the song, since at least 5 are floating around – and I actually heard that song a lot when I was out doing things, so I was kind of surprised how popular it was despite that the group aren’t doing that well overall; their singles haven’t charted that highly, their physical and digital sales aren’t too great and their music videos don’t get too many views. They debuted in 2012, but they should be having at least two comebacks every year. I guess their first solo concert sold out in like 5 minutes or something. Crazy stuff, since that shows that they actually have a pretty hardcore fanbase. I’m just not sure what’s happening with them right now since they did an OST and now I think like half the group is participating in a drama. It’s already been about a year since their last comeback, so Pledis needs to do something with them NOW, or they could end up fading into irrelevancy. The reason why this ‘bland’ group is higher than some of the others is that I like their entire catalogue, have actual biases (Yoonjo and Lime, ’92 line represent), and like that they have kind of a signature sound without ripping off any other groups. Yes, I have fired shots.
I first found Secret through watching their “Shy Boy” music video and thought the Americana concept was really cool. I loved the rapper, Hana (FKA Zinger) instantly, but didn’t care about any of their other releases until “Poison”. I think the biggest problem with Secret is that they go back and forth between cute and sexy too much, and now they’re being way too overshadowed by their labelmate BAP. My favorite member now is Hyosung, simply because I really like her throaty voice. It suits their sexy songs so well, even though “YooHoo” was one of my favorite girl group comebacks of last year. I also have a special connection with Hyosung because she wore the B1A4 hat that I own in the “YooHoo” video, further promoting the B1A4 propaganda agenda.
Back to Secret – I wish they’d stick with the sexy concepts. I think it suits them better, and they seem to effortlessly fit the concept. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the cute is awkward for them, but there are too many permanently cute girl groups out there, and only a few have dared stick with sexier concepts throughout their careers. Plus “Talk That” is one of my favorite K-Pop songs, period.
A friend of mine was obsessed with 9Muses but when I first heard of them they obviously seemed like SNSD ripoffs. How wrong I was. I saw them on my tumblr a lot, but it wasn’t until I decided to watch the absolutely flawless, iconic, cannot be rivaled in terms of amazing “Gun” video that I officially started stanning them and wanted to know everything about them.
The biggest problem this group has aside from being from Star Empire Entertainment (who also manage those flops ZE:A), and the SNSD comparisons simply because of the ‘9’ in their name, is the constant member changes. With a group like After School, where their concept is member changes or “graduation” it’s fine, but with any other group, it just seems like a lot of internal problems. First, three girls out of the original 9 left, and one was replaced with 2nd-most-flawless-Muse Moon Hyuna, who besides Kim Hyuna is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. She actually has one of my favorite voices in K-Pop, and I would die for her to duet with Kyuhyun. Now that my tangent about Moon Hyuna is over, the group was at 7 when they released “Figaro” and then added Kyungri into the group some time in 2012. She’s probably one of the most popular members, so her addition helped the group. Finally Seungah was added in 2012 and debuted with the “Dolls” comeback which actually did really well. In early 2014 news broke that the 4th-most-flawless-Muse Lee Sem and my least fave Eunji were leaving the group. UM.
They’re back to 7 right now and have no plans of adding any more members at this time. See, the problem now is that in live performances, you can see how upset Erin is over Lee Sem (and maybe Eunji) leaving; since Erin is the 3rd-most-flawless-Muse, if she leaves we’re going to have big problems.
So this group has a lot of issues. I don’t understand why they can’t keep members aside from poor management and maybe the fact that they’re all over 23 years old and are sick of being idols. I get that the group isn’t doing too well and that can be a deterrent too, but letting members leave looks terrible for the group and company. The singles doing poorly overall is a shame since all of their singles sound great, and better than a lot of the stuff more popular groups have released.
Anyways everything 9Muses has done is good, even “No Playboy” and “News”, neither of which I listen to much. “Gun” is obviously their best song though. Best song. Best concept. Best line distribution. Best everything.
In case you’re wondering, Pyo Hyemi is #1 most-flaweless-Muse and nobody can tell me otherwise.
3. Girls’ Generation
The problem with SNSD and why I can’t put them any higher is that for every good single they have, they’ve had at least one crappy one. For every “Gee” theres a “The Boys.” For “Mr. Taxi” there’s “I Got a Boy.” For every “Genie” there’s “Hoot,” which I think worked much better as a Japanese song. Not to mention their Korean album releases as a whole aren’t very strong. As a collective whole, their Japanese releases are so much stronger than their Korean catalogue. I love so many non-title tracks off of SNSD’s Japanese releases, but the Korean releases are just lacking. Even the Mr.Mr. mini has a mixture of amazing songs vs songs I would rather never acknowledge. The worst culprit is obviously The Boys because aside from the A++++ concept, everything about that era is miserable except for “Trick” and “How Great is Your Love.” But when SNSD is amazing, they are so amazing. Even though there are some members I’m not a huge fan of (mostly Hyoyeon, Seohyun and Taeyeon), I still like all of them and feel like they all contribute something to the group. SNSD were the first girl K-Pop group I ever watched, and learning their names made me so mad because it was so difficult, but in the end it was so worth it. Even though their live performances aren’t always the best as some fans say, their music video choreography cannot be beat. It’s just so compelling. I don’t think they’re the best dancers in K-Pop but I do think they get the best choreography, and I always watch their dance videos over the regular if possible. Sooyoung is my favorite member; and even though she gets a lot of flack, I love Tiffany’s voice when she’s not trying too hard or straining it. I also love Jessica’s voice, so her recent decrease in lines up until the Mr.Mr.-era was annoying. Everyone knows about SNSD, so talking about them seems irrelevant. I just wish SM would put more effort into promoting them as 9 and giving them stronger albums. They know SNSD is popular and will sell regardless of the quality, which is how they feel about all of their groups actually, but after 7 years, and how fans react so much strongly towards the Japanese releases, SM should step their game up; it would be an investment.
I saw N4 Live before Ahreum peaced out. I feel kind of special, but disappointed that I didn’t get to see all of T-Ara since Soyeon is one of my favorite members. This group has had as many issues as every other group ever combined. I feel so bad for them since their 2012 scandal can’t even be confirmed, yet the group is still suffering for it. Firstly, Hwayoung and Ahreum’s solo careers are going to flop. Secondly, I hear Jiyeon and Hyomin are getting solo careers in April. If either of those songs are as perfect as Eunjung’s “White,” I will actually buy them rather than watching on YouTube a million times.
I actually first heard of T-Ara during the 2012 scandal and was like ‘wow what horrible people’ and kind of rejected liking them so long even though “Sexy Love” is an amazing song that I loved upon release. But as a person who was bullied, it’s kind of a natural response, I think. I get that bullying is a horrible thing, but nothing was ever confirmed and I feel like T-Ara isn’t the only group to go through a line up change or five; APink, Fiestar, 9Muses, Dal Shabet, EXID and so many boy groups I can’t even care enough about to mention have lost a member or three along the way, and as someone not directly involved, we will never know exactly why. Maybe all of these groups had bullying or jealousy issues but never had them publicized like T-Ara did. In that respect, I feel bad for them since nothing was ever confirmed. Yes there was the shade on twitter, but who hasn’t thrown shade every now and then? I know when my group members screw up, or don’t pull their weight I get pretty upset and complain however I can.
So a year and a few months later, when “Number 9” came out, I gave in and became a Queen. I will never call myself that ever again, but I will never doubt T-Ara ever again either. All of their singles are amazing, and even though I’m not a fan of how their music videos are almost all mini-movies, it was an effective marketing technique until the incident happened. In fact, I actually think they work best as a 6-member group, the line-up seems more harmonious.
I’ve seen 4Minute twice without Hyuna, which ruined my life each time. The first was at the Dream Concert which I bought a ticket to only because of 4Minute/Hyuna (who ended up getting sick…) and SNSD (and left loving B1A4 more than life itself), and then again inadvertently at an Immortal Song taping which resulted in me being on Korean TV multiple times.
Even though SNSD was the first girl group I learned about, 4Minute was actually the first girl group I LIKED. Yes, I was a petty Super Junior fan in my early K-Popper days. But I loved Hyuna the moment I read about her “Change” controversy on Wikipedia. I like controversies, if you can’t tell. So I looked up her group (even though now I cringe a little as I write that), and thought that their music was really cool. They seemed to have a different image than most girl groups, and their songs were just as catchy as Super Junior’s.
Then I saw the “Bubble Pop” video and had a life changing experience. Hyuna is the Britney Spears of this generation. Yes, she doesn’t have the best voice in the world, but her songs are all fun, she can dance like nobody’s business (go watch her clips on her Instagram account), and has more stage presence than anyone you could possibly stan ever. Watch the “What’s Your Name” stages with and then without Hyuna. I get she had a decent amount of lines but she’s noticeably gone, unlike when Gayoon was sick during “Volume Up” promotions.
Also can we talk about what a shame it was that 2Yoon flopped so hard? It was likely their fault for pulling that Hannah Montana song out on us instead of “Nightmare” or almost any other song on that mini, but I think it further speaks to how Hyuna is the true star of 4Minute. What’s kind of ironic about it is that she hates promoting alone, and always bugs Hyunseung to thank 4Minute whenever Trouble Maker wins anything. For being such a star, her humble attitude is really admirable, and it’s cute how much she loves her members.
As for 4Minute as a whole, the group generally has pretty good line distribution, which is important to me when liking groups. I get when people have better voices than others, but if someone is a singer/rapper, let them do their thing. While obviously no group will ever have perfect distribution, 4Minute always comes close, except during that “Volume Up” mess of an era – yes I am the one fan who doesn’t care for that song or era. “What’s Your Name” was probably the biggest idol group hit in Korea last year, since I could never NOT hear it when I went out, and in some places, I swear it just kept looping for a half hour or so. Not to mention “Whatcha Doin Today” is one of the best girl group comebacks of the year so far. 4Minute always delivers and is rather consistent with their singles. I feel like they’re the most solid girl group as a whole, and even though I mostly just follow Hyuna’s activities, I like the group and wouldn’t want them to disband any time soon.