By now, you’re probably familiar with the top-tier girl groups of K-pop—SNSD, 2NE1, Wonder Girls, Miss A, etc. But there some musical gems coming from girl groups you might not know much about or be very interested in, since they’re not as well-known (at least in iFandom). Well, have no fear. I’ve chosen a handful of my favorite lesser-known girl groups to feature in this post, and hopefully you will give them a try. If I left out any of your faves, well, feel free to make suggestions in the comments!
I admit that that I don’t watch a whole lot of variety (oops) so that section will not be the most comprehensive. Mostly, I’m listing whatever shows I’ve watched.
(L to R): Sojin, Hyeri, Minah, Yura
Former members: Jihae (left in 2012), Jiin, and JiSun (both left in 2010)
They’ve actually been around since 2010, but did not achieve a breakout hit until 2013’s “Expectation.” Their early career was somewhat eclectic as they tried to find their groove, and their company seemed to take a “throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks” approach. After an underwhelming debut (a song which, in my personal opinion, did not utilize their vocal talent to its fullest potential) they had some success with “Twinkle Twinkle” but continued to fly under the radar until “Expectation.” They’re probably solid B-list status these days, and finally seem to have found a sound and image that works for them.
In the early days of the group, Girl’s Day did a show with U-KISS called “We Are Dating.” They also did a documentary “Human Documentary,” appeared on “Weekly Idol” and “After School Club”, and, most recently, Sojin appeared on Running Man with her “Family Outing” drama costar, VIXX’s N.
(L to R): Subin, Ayoung, Woohee, Serri, Jiyul, Kaeun
Former members: Viki (left in 2012)
Dal★Shabet debuted in 2011 with the infectious (if not grammatically sound) “Supa Dupa Diva.”. Like Girl’s Day, their early promotions were somewhat eclectic; unlike Girl’s Day, they have yet to achieve their breakout hit. Dal★Shabet have featured a variety of sounds and concepts, including retro ’70s disco with “Bling Bling Disco” and “Have, Don’t Have,” a darker concept with “Hit U,” and most recently an ’80s throwback sound with “B.B.B.”
“Dal★Shabet on Air”
(L to R): Hyuna, Hyemi, Sojin, Kyungri, Minha, Keumjo, Erin, Sungah
Former members: Sera, Sam, Eunji, Jaekyung, Bini, Rana
Nine Muses have had a tumultuous career path. The group debuted in 2010 with the disastrous “No Playboy” and endured many lineup changes in the following years. Unlike the other girl groups mentioned thus far, they’ve been fairly stable in terms of image and concept. Their sound can best be described as “retro dance music” with an elegant and feminine image. It’s hard to describe, but definitely very distinctive. Unfortunately, they’ve yet to achieve a breakout hit, although their talents and performance have improved greatly over the years.
(L to R): Choa, Chanmi, Hyejeong, Seolhyun, Yuna, Jimin, Mina
Not pictured: Youkyoung (drummer; part of AoA Black subunit)
AoA, an acronym for “Ace of Angels,” initally debuted from FNC Entertainment (the same company as CN Blue and FT Island) as an odd hybrid band/dance group. They didn’t attract a lot of attention, possibly because the split concept was too alienating to fans. Eventually they adopted a more conventional dance-pop sound and temporarily ditched the band concept. AoA finally achieved their breakout hit with “Miniskirt.” They also formed a subunit called AoA Black, which still promotes as a band.
Weekly Idol, After School Club
(L to R): Jisook, Hyunyoung, Yoonhye, Jaekyung, Woori, Sungah, Noeul
Like Nine Muses, Rainbow’s career path has not been a smooth one. The group debuted in 2009 with the underwhelming “Gossip Girl”. Still, they achieved modest popularity after the hit song “A” and its follow-up “Mach.” After releasing “To Me” and “Sweet Dream” in 2011, they seemed on the verge of a breakthrough. Unfortunately, their company proceeded to squander that momentum by shipping them off to Japan and not having a Korean comeback for almost two years. They returned with “Tell Me Tell Me” followed by “Sunshine” both featuring cute concepts. Subunit ventures include Rainbow Pixie and Rainbow Blaxx. The group recently returned with “Black Swan,” featuring a dark concept.
(L to R): Nara, Yooreum, Alice, Yooyoung, Seoyoung, Lime
Former members: Yoo Ara, Yoonjo
Hello Venus debuted in 2012 as a collaboration between Fantagio and Pledis Entertainment. Their earlier releases featured a cute/feminine sound and concept, and the group achieved modest popularity. In 2014, Pledis and Fantagio split, with the group reverting to Fantagio minus two members, who were still signed with Pledis. Hello Venus returned in 2014 with two new members and a drastic image change, embracing a sexy concept with the song “Sticky Sticky.” They released the follow-up “Wiggle Wiggle” and seem to have gained more overall popularity, though many of their old fans were unhappy with their image change. Personally, I enjoy the group in both of its iterations.
Birth of Venus, MTV Diary (with NU’EST)
There are a few other rookie girl groups who caught my attention recently, but as they are rookies, their career path remains to be seen. Think of them as “ones to watch,” so to speak.
Mentored by Lee Hyori, SPICA are known for their vocal talent and eye-catching concepts. Their most recent single is the retro “You Don’t Love Me.”
The group’s early songs featured a quirky sound and image, but their most popular song so far is “One More” featuring a sexy concept.
They have endured several member changes since debut, but finally seem to have settled on a stable lineup. Their most recent song is the retro bop “Phone Number.”
Some of the pictures used are from KPOP HQ pictures