For those who are just getting into K-Pop, it can be a little confusing to know where to even start. Or if you’ve already started somewhere, to know what you might like next. If you think you want to get into K-Pop music, then here are some of the most popular artists you can try. The great thing about K-Pop is that the genre is so diverse that there is bound to be something for you to vibe with!
The best place to start is obviously with BTS. Even if you don’t listen to K-Pop you are bound to have heard of them — maybe you’ve even heard some of their songs without realizing they were K-Pop! Over the years, BTS has experimented with a lot of different sounds, so whether you like catchy earworms, strong dance music or heartfelt, lyrical songs, you will probably find something you like. You can try “Dynamite,” “Dope,” or “Life Goes On” respectively.
As one of the leading groups in K-Pop, EXO has something for everyone — from fun power songs to smooth sexy dances to dark confident sounds. Plus, their stage performances are incredible! As a concept-driven group, they have delivered some of the most impressive acts in K-Pop. Try “Power” for fun vibes, “Love Shot” for a sexy choreography that will live on in your mind rent-free, and “Obsession” for a more intense, cool sound.
Having debuted originally as a member of the iconic group SHINee, Taemin is quite arguably the king of K-Pop. With his unique songs and mesmerizing choreographies, Taemin is a pioneer that is daringly pushing the genre in new creative directions. Try listening to last year’s hit “Criminal,” or watch the hypnotic choreography of “Move.”
BLACKPINK is another group that you are bound to have heard, or at least heard of. Possibly the biggest girl group in K-Pop history, BLACKPINK have set themselves apart with their strong sound and confident lyrics, and are therefore easily one of the best gateway groups into K-Pop. Try listening to “DDU-DU DDU-DU” or “How You Like That” and feel the boss vibes.
5. MONSTA X
If you prefer artists with a darker, more powerful sound, then MONSTA X might be the group for you. In fact, they have even been referred to as ‘the men of K-Pop.’ And if you love films, then you might enjoy their music videos, as they have amazing production value and plenty of awesome film references! You can watch their two most recent comeback title tracks, “Love Killa” and “Gambler.”
Though ATEEZ has not been around as long as most of the artists on this list, they have quickly cemented their place in the upper rankings of the industry. They’ve come to be known as the ‘Global Performance Group,’ so if you’re interested in watching some insane performances, then definitely check out ATEEZ’s “Hala Hala,” as well as some of their most popular songs like “Answer” and “Deja Vu“.
This girl group has it all: catchy songs, fun concepts, and powerful vocals (no, seriously, check out their vocals). They are just oozing with talent! It’s hard not to fall in love with their positive vibes and irresistible charisma. Check out this “gogobebe” performance and the “HIP” music video and prepare to be delighted.
As one of EXO’s main vocalists, Baekhyun has made a name for himself as one of the best vocal talents in K-Pop. Not only is he an outstanding singer, but his natural charisma and his incredible range have given us some of the best that K-Pop has to offer — from smooth and stylish sounds to fun R&B dance numbers. Listen to his hit songs “UN Village” and “Candy” and see what you think!
The number of members may seem a little daunting to K-Pop newbies, but when you see this group’s sharp performances and hear their catchy tunes, you’ll find them easy enough to get into. You might even find yourself getting addicted to their dance practice videos! Try “Left & Right,” as well as this “CLAP” performance.
Leehi is definitely one of the powerhouse vocals in the K-Pop industry. With a soothing honey-like voice, she has been very sought after by other artists for collaborations — including Wonwoo and Mingyu of SEVENTEEN, with whom she collaborated on the sensual, Latin-inspired “Bittersweet.” Leehi’s melodic vocalisations are sure to win you over, particularly if you enjoy R&B and Soul music for easy listening. Try either relaxing to “HOLO” or bobbing along to “NO ONE.”
Although this group is not currently active, fans are dying to see them come back again. With incredibly charismatic members and impressive performances, GOT7 were rulers of the stage for years. Their songs also definitely had a sound that set them apart, songs that are equal parts catchy and powerful. You can start with “Breath” and “POISON” and see the range they are capable of.
This list wouldn’t be complete without SHINee, one of K-Pop’s biggest groups ever. To put it simply, this group is legendary. They have been responsible for bringing in countless fans to the genre over the years, and despite going through some difficult times, they have continued to delight fans with their music. They have a lot of iconic hits to check out, but you can start with “View” and “Don’t Call Me.” Happy listening!
Did you find something you liked on this list? Let us know! And for long-time fans of K-Pop, what else would you recommend to K-Pop newbies?