21 K-Pop Groups to Know (and Love)

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1. Big Bang

For K-pop fans who know something about this genre, did you really think we would skip Big Bang? The answer must be no.

As The Hollywood Reporter argued last year, an argument almost-but-not-quite echoed by The Washington Post this year, Big Bang may qualify as the biggest boy band in the world, even more so than One Direction. The group has lasted 10 years as of this year, with a debut in 2006 with YG Entertainment.

No member has left the quintet. Both articles linked above also note the group’s degree of creativity, still not a big deal in the industry, which leads to some killer tracks. Each member has done solo work of his own as well, meaning there’s a plethora of music available.

Big Bang goes for big visuals in its music videos, with “Bang Bang Bang” up there just being one of the more recent examples. You will probably have to watch a video a couple times just to process everything that’s there, especially when you’ll probably close your eyes to jam at least once.

It would be criminal not to recommend “Fantastic Baby” here. You can also take a look at “Bae Bae” as well. Just don’t be shocked if you take an extended tour into Big Bang.

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We know we’ve skipped some groups. For example, note that Hyuna and her original group, 4Minute, the extremely long-running Shinhwa, and more don’t appear on this list. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth listening to, though. Honestly, discovering new groups is half the fun in K-pop.

Add in jamming out to your favorite song over and over again, hastily converting Korean time to your time zone, and waiting with bated breath for a new release, and you’ve summed up the international fan’s experience.

Good luck.