I hate to be ‘that guy’ but I have been a fan of Korean music for a while now, and I feel that is puts me in a position to say a few words – and potentially incur the wrath of Army everywhere:
BTS are not the only Korean pop band; In fact, I will go farther and suggest they are not even the best one.
Don’t get me wrong, I love me at bit of BTS; I’ve loved them since it was slightly age inappropriate, what with me being a middle-aged mum and them being… well quite a bit younger. No-one is prouder of their rise to global stardom, it is just that there is so much more to not only K-Pop, but Korean music as a whole.
So, as a quick introduction for you, here are five OTHER Korean ‘pop’* bands who are just as good, if not better than BTS.
This is a no-brainer addition to any list that proclaims to be showcasing the best in K-pop. Big Bang started out in 2006 and as such have an extensive discography that I heartly suggest you dive into, and if you include the boys solo and sub-unit work, the number doubles. Whether you are after soulful ballads from, arguably one of the most beautiful men in the world, or fun party tracks , The boys from BIG Bang have you covered. There is a very good reason I have been asking for 3 years for this group for Christmas, sadly they have yet to appear under my tree. Until that day I recommend:
Bang Bang Bang
Possibly one of the most underrated groups in the genre, particularly as they are lucky enough to have both Taeil, one of the most beautiful solo voices in K-pop and my ‘BB Bias’ (that’s K-Pop speak for my favourite one. What can I say; I have a thing for guys in glasses!) and Zico, a rapper/producer extraordinaire.
The group currently do a lot of work in Japan, and I only hope they are still touring when I finally get there. Watching a K-pop band live is part of the Kettle List, and I would love for it to be this band. Their tunes are catchy, their videos fun to watch and in Youtube outtakes they look like they all genuinely enjoy working with each other
This song and video is one of my favourites: Nillili Mambo – Even if Taeil isn’t wearing his glasses in it!
While I will admit that I am not a massive fan of the band it would be remiss to not include them in this list, what with them being Guiness World Record holders for winning the most Daesang awards in the Korean music industry.
Their first album came out in 2013, while the band still had its 12 original members (they are now down to a mere 9 members!) and sold over a million copies.
They also performed in the 2018 Winter Olympic closing ceremony, not long after receiving a Prime Minister Commendation for their services to Popular Korean Culture & Art.
They also have some amazing choreography – as this video from their debut album will demonstrate.
Despite a number of Questionable style choices these boys have some great videos for you to watch on Youtube – including their appearances on Weekly Idol . There is also an ‘unhelpful guide’ which is an “interesting” watch if you want to find out more about them. They are are also recent winners of “Show! Music Core!”
This feel good track is one of my favourites:
Originally part of a much larger band called One Day, 2 PM debuted back in 2008.
By 2010 they had won a “Most Popular Asian Singer” award in China at the Mandarin Music Honors. As of this year many of the band members are serving their compulsory Korean military service, but youtube is for ever and some of their amazing tunes are there for you to watch.
But my party starter is this one – can even do the motorbike riding dance!
So who would be on your list? Any suggestions for new bands for me to try out?
Let me know in the comments.
*My actual favourite band aren’t featured as I would argue they are not pop…but that is a list for another day.