K-Pop
Red Velvet performs at the 2022 Gaon Chart Music Awards.

These 12 K-Pop Girl Groups Are Perfect For Your Feel-Good Playlist

Don’t sleep on these songs.

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Few cultural rises to prominence compare to the worldwide popularity of K-pop groups in recent years like BTS and BLACKPINK. The former has been nominated for multiple Grammys, while the latter performed at Coachella in 2019.

However, they are just two of many elite K-pop groups. In fact, it can be a little overwhelming to dive into the world of K-pop with so many new groups debuting every few months while classic artists continue to release new music. There’s also the intricate campaigns, including tentpoles like teaser photos and music videos. Plus, each group has a devoted fandom (aka fan group) keeping the excitement alive year round.

You may have a few favorite groups already filling up your playlists, but there’s always room for more. So check out these beloved K-pop girl groups, because they just might be worth adding to your music rotation.

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BLACKPINK may be the girl group with the most international recognition. They’re known for the hit songs, “How You Like That,” “Kill This Love,” and “DDU-DU DDU-DU.” Comprised of four women — Lisa, Jennie, Jisoo, and Rosé — BLACKPINK debuted under YG Entertainment in 2016. Their rise to fame is chronicled in the 2020 Netflix documentary Light Up the Sky. Even more impressive, the group is YouTube’s most subscribed artist as of Sept. 10, 2021.

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A K-pop girl group that’s out of this world is aespa. The quartet of members — Karina, Giselle, Winter, and NingNing — are the first K-pop group to have their own AI avatars known as æ-Karina, æ-Giselle, æ-Winter, and æ-NingNing. Their virtual selves exist in an alternative reality where “people and their æs coexist with each other,” according to Nylon. The otherworldly concept is met with equally visionary tracks “Black Mamba,” “Next Level,” and “Savage,” which meld pop, hip-hop, and trap. Fans of aespa are known as MY, which Allkpop says means “the most precious friend” in the virtual world of aespa avatars.

You’ll likely to hear more from aespa. This year, they became the first K-pop group to perform on Coachella’s main stage.

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TWICE is one of the larger girl groups on this list, but there’s enough love to go around for all nine members: Jihyo, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu. TWICE was initially meant to consist of seven members who competed on the 2015 JYP Entertainment competition show Sixteen, but Tzuyu and Momo were added later. Since hitting the K-pop scene in 2015, their songs “FANCY,” “What is Love,” and “I CAN’T STOP ME” elicited the love of their fandom, ONCE.

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A group as sweet as the name suggests, Red Velvet’s charm has struck the hearts of their fans, known as ReVeluv. Red Velvet initially debuted in 2014 under SM Entertainment with Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, and Joy. The fifth member, Yeri, joined the group in 2015. While their concepts and style are undeniably mesmerizing, it’s their catchy songs like “Psycho,” “Bad Boy,” and “Russian Roulette” that’ve kept ReVeluv happy all these years. Their latest EP, The ReVe Festival 2022: Feel My Rhythm, dropped in March, alongside a dreamy music video for the lead single, “Feel My Rhythm.”

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Named after the sound babies make, MAMAMOO is no rookie K-pop group. They debuted in 2014 under RBW Entertainment, and their dynamic dance moves and killer vocals make them the baddies, not babies, of this list. MAMAMOO also boasts perhaps the most adorable fandom name, the Moomoos. Solar, Moonbyul, Wheein, and Hwasa are the four members, though they will become a trio in December 2023. Soompi reported in June of last year that Wheein is not renewing her contract. At least fans always have the songs “HIP,” “Egotistic,” and “gogobebe” to dance to.

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As literal as K-Pop names can get, according to Soompi, (G)I-DLE comes from a twist on the Korean homonym for “idol,” and the “G” stands for “girl,” naturally. The quintet, comprised of Soyeon, Miyeon, Minnie, Yuqi, and Shuhua, debuted in 2018 under Cube Entertainment. Soompi also reported the band’s sixth member, Soojin, left the group in 2021. Their fans, known as Neverland, know their songs “POP/STARS,” “MORE,” and “THE BADDEST” brought the group global fame. Their first studio album, I Never Die, was released on March 14, and it has already made an impression through the opening track “TOMBOY” and three distinctive conceptual songs “RiSKY,” “CHiLL,” and “SPOiLED.”

According to Kraze Mag, Miyeon explained the album concepts at a press showcase in March. She reportedly said “RiSKY” is dangerous and noir-like; “CHiLL” is laid-back with a cool, revenge squad concept; and “SPOiLED” is a protagonist who is unstoppable and attractive.

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The multi-talented group ITZY debuted under JYP Entertainment in 2019 with five members: Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna. Their concept is widely referred to as “teen crush,” according to Kpopmap. They’ve made a name for themselves by releasing songs their fans, known as Midzys, can relate to. The group recently tapped into the Japanese music industry with their first J-pop single, “Voltage,” which was released on April 6. This comes after the group’s well-known K-pop hits, “WANNABE,” “DALLA DALLA,” and “ICY” off their 2021 album, CRAZY IN LOVE.

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As everlasting as their name implies, EVERGLOW cemented its position as a K-pop trendsetter. Debuting in 2019 under Yuehua Entertainment, the six members are Sihyeon, E:U, Mia, Onda, Aisha, and Yiren. They’re the talent behind smash songs “DUN DUN,” “Adios,” and “LA DI DA.” These tracks showcase the group’s confidence and fierceness. Their fans, known as Forever, have stuck with the group since day one. From bomb choreography to dark and edgy music videos, this girl group has earned its spot on K-pop playlists.

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The largest girl group on the list, LOONA, has 12 members: Haseul, Vivi, Yves, JinSoul, Kim Lip, Chuu, Heejin, Hyunjin, Go Won, Choerry, Olivia Hye, and Yeojin. They debuted in 2018 after their agency BlockBerry Creative announced new members monthly. This is very on-brand for LOONA’s Korean name. Soompi reports their name translates to “girl of the month.”

According to Chosun, LOONA’s fandom, Orbit, symbolizes a path for LOONA to grow and the light that shines on them. The group’s dynamic songs are limitless and have touched on Bollywood music, EDM, house, and R&B. From “PTT (Paint The Town),” to “Heart Attack,” and “Butterfly,” LOONA continues to push boundaries.

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New but certainly no rookies, IVE are the six-member girl group by Starship Entertainment that consists of Gaeul, Rei, Liz, Leeseo, plus Yujin and Wonyoung. Yujin and Wonyoung were formerly part of IZ*ONE before IVE, according to NME.

The group debuted in December after much anticipation for their single “Eleven.” The hit song made them the fifth South Korean girl group to land on Billboard’s Hot Trending Songs chart and copped a spot on Rolling Stone’s “Best K-Pop Debuts of 2021.” IVE released a second single, “LOVE DIVE” on April 5 that has DIVEs, the group’s fandom, playing the latest track on repeat.

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K-pop veteran Apink is one of the longest active K-pop girl groups, having debuted in 2011 under A Cube Entertainment, which is now known as IST Entertainment. Members Chorong, Bomi, Eunji, Naeun, Namjoo, and Hayoung have changed their concepts since the group’s formation to stay relevant, shifting from cute and innocent to edgy and modern. Their hit songs “I’m so sick,” “Dumhdurum,” and “%%” proved the shift worked. Their latest release, “Dilemma,” is already making strides as the lead single for the group’s fourth studio album Horn, released on February 14, 2022.

Naeun announced her departure from the group in a handwritten letter in Korean that was shared on her Instagram on April 8. She will be focusing on her acting career with YG Entertainment. Apink fans, known as Pandas, won’t forget the group’s comeback.

These K-pop girl groups will be living rent-free in our heads, but don’t stop here. Put these artists on shuffle alongside these K-drama soundtracks that are just as good as the shows.

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