So in case you haven’t noticed yet, this quarantine period has turned me into a K-pop fanboy. I’m sorry if you initially followed this blog for travel and race reviews, but this pandemic has cancelled all outdoor activities for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I’ll be talking about the hobbies I’ve picked up while staying in my room for more than a year. This specific post will be about K-pop girl groups that debuted in 2020 and have caught my attention.
Having just discovered K-pop 10 months ago, I’ve consumed way more content than I ever thought possible, and this is with limiting myself to just girl groups. But being this late to the party, most of the groups I fell in love with were already established giants. From Twice to Gfriend, Dreamcatcher to Everglow, these groups were already mainstay names in discussions related to the genre. What I was waiting for was a fresh debut. To see if it really is a different experience supporting a group from their debut stage onwards. So, with my K-pop senses turned on, I waited for each new girl group to drop and found the ones that suited my taste.
Debut: June 30, 2020
Label: Play M Entertainment
In a span of less than a month, these girls have grown on me so much that they’re number 2 on my ultimate groups to support (right next to Gfriend). Their debut song “Tag Me (@Me)” was simply godlike. One of my favorite debut songs from a girl group ever. Their energy and talent are off the chart. Each member has a certain charm unique to her but their chemistry with each other is also too cute. They have an all-rounder in Monday (my bias and my self-proclaimed main vocal of the current generation) and they have a genius in Shin Jiyoon who has already written lyrics for some of their songs AND made the album art for their latest comeback.
Aside from their musical talents, the girls are also hilarious and very fun to watch in variety shows. I’m a person that gets attached to a group even if their music doesn’t suit my taste as long as the girls do well in variety shows. Good thing that Weeekly excels in both fields. When Jiyoon said that the “K-pop industry is shaking because of Weeekly,” she meant it. Weeekly has gone on to win 6 Rookie of the Year awards for 2020.
Their most recent title track “After School” is already trending on Tik Tok and even with their senior idols as well! Gfriend and other groups have mentioned it in their v-lives as a song they’ve been listening to recently. Even God Sejeong has been singing the song on repeat because of its catchiness. I still maintain that Tag Me is their best song, but After School really has the catchiest chorus I’ve heard at the moment. And don’t brush their B-sides away, because there’s a lot of gold hiding in there. Their fan song “Top Secret” is one of my favorites as well as “Hello” and “Weeekly”. Even their OST “Boom Chiki” is so stupidly cute and catchy, I keep singing it out of nowhere.
With nothing lacking when it comes to the aspects I’m looking for in a girl group, Weeekly is really my top choice from 2020’s debutantes.
My Favorite Weeekly videos:
- Weeekly covering their seniors’ songs (wait for that Dalla Dalla cover)
- Weeekly gets evaluated by Apink (Pre-Debut)
- 1-month-old K-pop Group UNFILTERED | Question Parade
- Weeekly’s First Reality Show (Ep.1)
- World Cup Baby being hilarious and bullying their leader (variety)
- Weeekly singing Tag Me (@Me) Live
Debut: November 12, 2020
Label: High Up Entertainment
To be honest, I thought Weeekly would be the only debut of the year that I’d like. But in the final quarter of 2020, StayC’s “So Bad” dropped. Another song that burrowed deep into my brain. Immediately, I was blown away with some of the members’ vocal colors. J’s deep voice was an immediate highlight for me. It’s already common in girl groups to have one member with a deep register, but that doesn’t make it any less cool to hear.
But the member that caught my eye would have to be Isa. How can she be so cute? She’s got my favorite smile in K-pop right now and I doubt that’s going to change anytime soon. Plus, her voice with a little bit of huskiness in it is simply *chef’s kiss*
So, as is my standard protocol for groups that catch my eye, I searched for their variety shows or any videos that will help me get to know them better. Fortunately, they have some videos with 1theK that show off their group dynamics and variety skills. While they’re not as over the top hilarious as Weeekly, I can feel their genuine treatment towards each other and they do have their funny and adorable moments.
Their latest comeback, ASAP, is another bop. This comes as no surprise because their label, High Up Entertainment, is owned by Black-Eyed Pilseung. They’re responsible for some of the most famous songs in K-pop like Twice’s “Cheer Up” and “TT”. Currently, the group has five songs and all of them are so good! So Bad’s B-side was the equally catchy “Like This” which is on my daily song rotation as well as their two new B-sides, “So What” and “Love Fool“. That’s a 100% hit rate for absolute bangers released.
Being managed and produced by hitmakers, it’s safe to say that StayC has nowhere to go but up. They’ve already won their first Rooke of the Year award so I’m looking forward to everything these girls have to offer. And of course, to see more of Isa’s smile.
My Favorite StayC videos:
- StayC being absolutely adorable (variety)
- StayC trying to dance ASAP silently
- StayC 1 Second K-pop Song Quiz (variety)
- So Bad unplugged version (the vocals!!!)
- Isa’s ASAP Fancam
Debut: May 15, 2020
Label: NV Entertainment
woo!ah! didn’t cross my radar with their initial debut. After watching their self-titled debut song, it wasn’t my kind of jam, and so I passed on them. But it was their 2nd single album Qurious with the title track “Bad Girl” that brought my attention back. And not only that, but they followed up with an MV for their B-side “I Don’t Miss U” that was equally as good or even better. This 1-2 punch combo just blew me away that I had to give them another look. And while their first song still isn’t impressing me, I have to admit that the B-side “Payday” has its own charm to it.
After losing a member (they were originally 6) a few months after debut, I didn’t think woo!ah! would be something I’d give my time of the day to, but after Qurious, I have been converted. The girls really improved a lot and changed their direction and sound into something I’m into.
Special shoutout to their leader Nana, who is another all-rounder in my book. She raps, she sings, she’s a breathtaking visual, and she’s got so much charisma. Her looks remind me of Red Velvet’s Irene minus the RBF. Plus she’s got so much energy that is also channeled by the other members. Lucy and Sora are such bubbly cuties while Minseo and Wooyeon balance out the group by being mostly taciturn. I’m really loving their variety content and thankfully, NV Ent. is promoting them properly.
While they’re not as big as the other two groups in my list, I really hope they get more traction because they’re just as talented. On closer look, their choreography is actually pretty tiring and yet they continue to slay. Somehow I feel like I have the responsibility to support woo!ah! the most because they’re the underdogs on my list. woo!ah! fighting! 😅
My favorite woo!ah! videos:
- I Don’t Miss U Relay Dance (feel Nana’s charisma)
- Bad Girl Selfie Cam MV (their visuals omaygaawd)
- I Don’t Miss U Live Performance (live dancing & singing)
- Weekly Idol appearance w/ LunarSolar (variety)
- Playing Scream in Silence 🤣 (variety)
And that’s the three groups that I’m expecting to take over the K-pop scene. Unlike in 2015 where I missed the big three debuts (complete Red Velvet, Twice, and Gfriend), here I am 5 years later finding three adorable groups continuing the energetic, high teen concept that I’m enchanted with.
Something I found interesting as well is that these three groups all have connections to Apink. Weeekly is Apink’s direct juniors, being from the same label, Play M Entertainment. Weeekly is Play M’s first girl group after Apink, with a 9-year gap in between. Apink’s last three title tracks, “I’m So Sick”, “%% (Eung Eung)”, and “Dumhdurum” were written and composed by Black Eyed Pilseung, which I’ve said before owns StayC’s label. And finally, the CEO of woo!ah!’s label, NV Entertainment, is Kim Kyu Sang, a choreographer who worked with Apink before.
In fact, Apink’s Bomi has met Weeekly and woo!ah! already in her youtube channel. Isn’t that cool? My heart is always happy whenever different groups interact with each other. Having Apink as a role model for these groups is always a good sign because that means group longevity is a priority. We always want the groups we support to last a long time, right?
Okay, that’s enough rambling for now. If you’re interested in K-pop like me and want to check out some new groups, then you can’t go wrong with these three. 2020 has taken so much from us so it’s a small consolation that it gave us some pretty awesome girl groups. In fact, I made a spotify playlist just for them and compiled my favorite songs. Check it out here.
How about you, who are your favorite K-pop groups? I’m always down to discuss K-pop, so let me know. In the meantime, keep safe, yeorobun!