After our 3rd generation K-pop group article, it’s about time we give you an update of the 4th generation K-pop groups. It was hard to compile a concise list without writing an entire thesis 😅So I’ve decided to only feature the top K-pop girl groups and even with that, gathered many sources possible to depict who made it to the top, but nonetheless, this does not undermine other k-pop groups, not one bit!
First girl group to make their 4th generation K-pop entrance is no other than Itzy, who debuted in 2019 with “Dalla Dalla”. They instantly made a name for themselves with experimental choreography and music. It definitely caught the attention of many k-pop fans because that year, they won countless awards - Rookie of the Year, New Artist of the Year, Best New Female artist, the list goes on and on. Thus, with this they’re the first K-pop girl group to achieve a “‘Rookie Grand Slam”! “Wannabe”, “Not Shy”, “In the Morning” followed soon after, topping Korea music charts and they aren’t stopping with “Cake” being their newest release.
Another successful girl group debuted in late 2020, and that’s no other than AI-concept, Aespa, again choreography and music that we have never seen or heard before! Their debut with “Black Mamba”, showed a different side to Aespa’s label, SM Entertainment’s producing abilities. Their unique charm continued through their “Next Level” and “Savage” tracks and soon, they became widely known for their iconic sharp choreography along with their powerful vocals. I feel like Aespa has slowly transitioned out of the AI concept, but nevertheless they have surely made a name for themselves and continue to do so!
Next up, IVE debuted on December 1st, the next year. They already attracted a lot of attention as Yujin and Wonyoung had previously been in Produce 48’s project group, Iz*One. With their debut, “Eleven” they proved that they had the power to be one of the best 4th generation k-pop groups. Their vocals, choreography and amazing stage presence made them continue to grow. Proving that this growth is non-stop, they are currently on their first world tour AND have just released their three title track-album, I’ve Mine. Yet another set of songs that have incorporated the themes of self-love and confidence!
Le Sserafim then debuted mid-way through 2022 with “Fearless”. You may also recognise three of the members, Sakura, Chaewon, and Yunjin from Produce 48 too. What I love about this group is that the label showcases each of the five members’ individuality where they all offer a charm that the other members don’t have. Their second album, “Antifragile” topped the Billboard charts, proving success not only in Korea but internationally. Having just completed their tour, Le Sserafim is coming back with their first English track, "Perfect Night", which I am eagerly waiting for 🤩
Lastly, to complete the top 4th generation k-pop list is none other than NewJeans. K-pop fans aside, I will be surprised if no one has heard of this group or at least know the chorus to their songs. I feel like their debut was the start of a new side of K-pop! New Jean’s debut single, “Attention” was considered to be a ‘surprise release’ without any previous promotion or profile release on any of the members. This was unlike traditional k-pop debuts where members would be showcased to the public, before the official debut and music video release. NewJeans was different as each member was introduced through the music video release. “Hype Boy” and then “Hurt” was released soon after, each with a music video to accompany the song, something else that was never done before. Just like the girls, this new concept was fresh and different and now more labels are doing the same.
The reason that there seems to be so much debate for 4th generation, is the very intense competition. I just couldn’t pick a concise list because let’s be honest, 4th generation is next level talented 👏🏻 So here’s an honourable mention to STAYC, NMIXX, (G)-IDLE and fromis_9. Let’s just say that the soon-to-be 5th generation has some serious competition with these still VERY relevant 4th generations! Let us know which girl group you stan and if you would like us to talk about the top 4th generation k-pop groups, boy group edition?