The 27 Best K-Pop Groups to Listen to Right Now

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Be honest: Maybe you’re one of those people who has heard about K-pop and decided it’s finally time to give yourself over. If so, you’ve come to the right place. In case you’re absolutely new to the concept, K-pop stands for Korean Pop and yes, it’s popular worldwide. This music category embraces many different genres, from pop to rap, R&B, EDM, rock, and more. But K-pop is not just about the music, and that’s why it’s so addictive: slick choreography and wild music videos are also part of Hallyu’s—the Korean cultural wave spreading around the world—most prominent factors.

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My personal list of recommendations is infinite, but there are some names you should add to your playlist ASAP in order to get you started with some addictive jams. Here are 27 bands you’ll definitely want to check out immediately.

LOOΠΔ

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Explore the replies of any given viral tweet and you’re sure to see this group’s dedicated fans preaching their tried and true battlecry “STAN LOONA.” The 12-member collective has unquestionably earned this undying support. They’ve got classic K-Pop “stuck in your head” bangers with super creative visuals to match. I personally suggest the tracks “Butterfly” and “Hi High” to begin your journey to LOONA standom.

GOT7

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These guys have had an absolutely bonkers few years, and I suggest you get up to speed on them now. Their 2020 album Dye is a must-listen, which comes as literally no surprise. What really makes them so lovable is their chemistry. They’ve got hilarious brotherly energy in any given interview, and after a YouTube binge you almost feel like part of the band.

MOMOLAND

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Music groups formed on reality shows are their own type of great, and this girl group is proof. They were created on the appropriately titled Finding Momoland in 2016 and have been killing it ever since. Even though, like many groups, the member lineup has changed over the years, they’ve proven they can still turn a catchy song with 2020’s “Ready or Not.”

BTS

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Can we really talk K-pop without mentioning BTS? Don’t think so. BTS is arguably *the* most popular K-pop group in the world and with good reason. Their accolades include: becoming the first artists in iTunes history to have eight songs hit number one in 100 countries, breaking the record for most viewers for a YouTube premiere, and absolutely crushing a U.S. stadium tour.

Wow, right? With three rappers (RM, Suga, and J-Hope) and four singers (Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook) the group mixes hip-hop, pop, some EDM, and rap into their body of work, addressing love and mental health issues with their music. It just takes watching one of their videos to understand why they became such a global phenomenon.

BLACKPINK

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Once you welcome Jennie Kim, Lisa, Jisoo, and Rosé into your life, it’ll be hard to let them go. Considered one of this generation’s most popular K-pop acts, BLACKPINK’s songs all become hits—I challenge you to listen to any song and not get it stuck in your head for days. They’ve made history on music charts over the years with their dynamic and bold songs plus amazing choreography you’ll feel the itching need to learn.

Monsta X

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K-pop’s bad boys definitely deserve a spot on your playlist. Topping multiple music charts and breaking hearts all over the place, Monsta X’s popularity continues to surge, and you’ll understand why the minute you hit play. Bringing some hip-hop, EDM, and pop to the plate, every Monsta X song is a universe you’ll want to immerse yourself in. Layers and layers of fierce vocals meet vehement rap lines in the songs, which make you a Monbebe in a heartbeat.

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TWICE

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Get to know K-pop’s sweethearts right here. TWICE’s melodic tunes and mix of different styles make them one of the most addictive South Korean acts to see. With a sound as sparkly as their personalities, the nine queens of the bubblegum style were set for fame from their debut in 2015. Since then, it’s been hit after hit after hit!

Go ahead and pick any of their singles to get you started, but be prepared because you’re going to need room to dance.

EXO

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Meet your new boyfriends. With their vocals, good-boy-gone-bad vibes, and music videos you won’t be able to stop replaying, EXO has reached the hearts of their fans for a reason…or, well, many reasons.

EXO has tried every concept you can imagine—sexy, cute, bad boy, bubbly, etc.—while reinventing themselves, and it’s admirable as hell that they pull every style off well.

Chung Ha

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K-pop is not just about groups, you know? There are soloists out there making history too, and Chung Ha is one you should know about. As part of the reality series Produce 101, she was chosen to debut in girl group I.O.I. along with the other 10 contestants. After the group’s disbandment, she decided to create a solo path, and the rest is history. Effervescent dance tracks and vibrant vocals are Chung Ha’s speciality, and oh, just wait ’til you see her moves. Once you do, that’s it. There’s no turning back.

ATEEZ

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ATEEZ is young and new to the industry, but it truly feels like they have been doing this forever. After having arguably one of the most powerful debuts in K-pop history, this group has taken the world by storm. Featuring strong vocals, powerful rap, and oh-so-intense choreography, the new kids in town are here to stay and no one can ignore them.

Red Velvet

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With Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, Joy, and Yeri, you get the best of both worlds: the sweet and the bold, the sparkly and the sexy, the red and…the velvet? Trust me, they are addictive. The group has been shaking up the charts all over the world for the past few years, always surprising their fans with unexpected new sounds, concepts, and English versions of their hits.

NCT

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One the the largest K-pop groups in the world, NCT features 23 members as of April 2021, but they do not perform all together. The group is divided into subunits NCT127, NCT U, NCT Dream, and WayV. NCT Dream embraces more of a young, bright feel, while NCT U is a special unit where members rotate based on specific concepts. NCT 127 is considered Seoul’s representative group, while WayV stands in as a Chinese group. It may be a bit confusing at the beginning, but once you deep dive into their powerful songs and outstanding videos, you’ll become NCT-ed.

Girls’ Generation

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Wanna add some classics to your list? Girls’ Generation is what you need. While the artists are not performing as a group anymore, there’s a big chance they got you (or someone you know) into K-pop in the first place. Known as SNSD in Korea, these nine performers were considered the ultimate girl group, capturing everyone’s hearts with their youthful, vibrant songs and videos. Their signature electro-bubblegum sound matured with time while their audience saw them turn from girls into women right in front of their eyes.

The Rose

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On the lookout for pop-rock jams? Look no further, because The Rose will satisfy that craving. In charge of the instruments, lyrics, and composition of every single one of their songs, this quartet stands out as one of South Korea’s most prominent bands.

Their music addresses heartbreak, love, mental health, and some of the darkest shades of human emotions, and you won’t regret taking a listen.

æspa

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æspa may have debuted together in 2020, but the interesting concept behind their group has certainly captivated fans of K-pop. Members Karina, Winter, Giselle, and NingNing have virtual versions of them living in another dimension called “FLAT” named æ-Karina, æ-Winter, æ-Giselle, and æ-NingNing. Cool, huh?

æspa also has some pop BANGERS. At the end of 2020, the band released their debut single, “Black Mamba.” When the music vid premiered, it broke the record for the highest viewed debut video for a K-pop group in 24 hours—a truly impressive feat. Be on the lookout for more hits from them.

ITZY

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ITZY gets the “monster rookie” nickname for a reason—they’re damn good at everything they do. While their larger-than-life pop music focuses heavily on embracing uniqueness and practicing unconditional self-love, their dances are some of the hardest in the industry. (See: all the comments about fans breaking their shoulders attempting the “Wannabe” choreo.) Prepare to sweat—and expect to pull a muscle or two, just being honest—while attempting their most popular moves.

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(G)I-DLE

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Want a group that can give you any genre under the sun? Look no further than (G)I-DLE—the stars manage to flawlessly blend everything from tropical house and Latin pop to hip-hop without batting a single eyelash. Even cooler? (G)I-DLE is super involved in the creation of their music, with members Soyeon, Minnie, and Yuqi lending their talents to writing production on their records.

SuperM

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The “super” in SuperM pretty much stands for supergroup, TBH. All seven of the group’s members already come from successful K-pop groups—EXO, WayV, NCT 127, and SHINee—making for some MAJOR star power from these dudes. With immaculate choreo, amazing raps, and stunning visuals, this group quite literally has it all.

SHINee

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Formed back in 2008—almost two whole decades ago!—Onew, Key, Minho, and Taemin (as well as former member Jonghyun, who sadly passed away in 2017) are considered the “princes of K-pop” for their impact on the genre. Come for the unbelievably intricate dance routines, stay for the infectious R&B…and *really* cute dudes.

Weekly

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Wanna satisfy your sweet tooth? Weekly is the group for you! Specializing in upbeat and youthful pop, Weekly’s songs are bound to lift your spirits if you’re feeling down. Check out some of their bops like “Yummy!,” “Tag Me (@Me),” and “Zig Zag” for tons of fun.

Super Junior

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Super Junior was one of the groups that ushered in what stans call the “second generation” of K-Pop, which helped popularize the genre globally. And now, they’re back! Though they never really left. Since they debuted in 2005 and as some members went on to do their obligatory military service, they’ve been releasing music. “Sorry Sorry,” “Bonamana” and “Devil” are some of my personal faves.

Big Bang

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Another major second-gen group that’s making a comeback is Big Bang. They’re so good that even BTS is inspired by and looks up to them! You might’ve heard of their popular hits “Fantastic Baby” and “BANG BANG BANG,” but for the real deep cuts see “Haru Haru,” “Lies,” and “Last Farewell.”

2NE1

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It may have been a while since they’ve performed together, but this group is one of the most iconic in the K-Pop universe. Their bangers like “I Am the Best,” “I Don’t Care,” “Fire,” and “Ugly” are absolutely unforgettable. Once a song’s stuck in your head, it might be hard to stop.

TXT

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Tomorrow x Together or TXT is one of HYBE Label’s — BTS’s agency — newest stars. The talented quintet is specifically geared towards Gen Z and representing youth and the future of K-Pop. They’ve got this bright energy about them, but are also quite edgy.

Seventeen

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Don’t get overwhelmed by their numbers. Seventeen is very obviously a huge ensemble, but they’re a multi-talented one. Each member is integral in forming the group’s sound and image. Some highly-recommended hits that I find on my regular K-Pop rotation are “Rock with You” and “Snap Shoot.”

IVE

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IVE just debuted in 2021 and has already made a splash with their first single “Eleven.” They’ve got a total of six members: Yujin, Gaeul, Rei, Wonyoung, Liz, and Leeseo, with the eldest only 19 years old (Gaeul) and the youngest 14 (Leeseo). Watch the video above and you’ll see exactly what all the hype is about.

Stray Kids

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Stray Kids was formed through a 2017 reality show of the same name. The group later officially debuted in 2018. They also have a rap sub-unit definitely worth listening to called 3RACHA, which is made up of their members Bang Chan, Changbin, and Han.

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