January 19, 2023
DHAKA – The 4th generation of K-pop kicked off around 2018-19, and has been growing strong ever since, bringing a new wave of artists who have debuted with the aim of succeeding in the international market. Because of this, their respective companies have been attempting different concepts to make their groups stand out the most. Of all the groups that have debuted in the generation, there’s no doubt that girl groups are the ones who have consistently been reaching new levels of success.
But what makes the current girl groups so special?
The quality of music released by girl groups is part of the reason why they are so appreciated. In order to sound unique, many K-pop groups release songs whose genre can only be explained as “experimental.” While it does sound different, it’s not exactly loved by the general public, since most find it to be unenjoyable.
However, most girl groups have been appreciated for releasing music that is enjoyed by the public and critics alike, leading to expansions in their respective fanbases. Their efforts have been rewarded, too, as IVE won the Song of The Year award at the Melon Music Awards (MMA) in 2022 with their song “Love Dive”. The daesang (grand prize) is awarded by a panel of critics, and based on sales. They had to beat many established 3rd generation artists to win this, which speaks volumes about the group’s quality and popularity.
The 4th generation of girl groups have also given rise to some amazing idols, with LE SSERAFIM and IVE winning awards for best performances. Part of the reason why they might have been so successful in this regard is because both groups have members from IZ*ONE, a now-disbanded girl group that originally debuted in 2018. However, groups like NewJeans and NMIXX, who do not have experienced members, have also been praised for their live vocals, and dancing skills.
In K-pop, concepts are an extremely important feature of a group. The concept is the artistic direction of a group, and it influences their general aesthetic, styling, music videos, and even the genres sometimes. There are a few common concepts, but some girl groups have been putting their own spins on them, or even coming up with new ones.
For example, NewJeans have a retro concept, which is very common in the industry given the trend cycles, but they have a different take on it. The most common approach to it is using the aesthetic of it for photoshoots and music videos, but NewJeans take it one step further by integrating a storyline, which takes a look into the fans and their parasocial relationships with artists. They have been praised for how authentic the music and the accompanying videos feel. On the other hand, aespa have been exploring a more futuristic one involving virtual worlds, and online avatars of themselves. Their A.I. concept, as it has been dubbed, is not one that is usually seen, and is certainly very different from what already exists in the K-pop world.
The 4th generation is definitely the most innovative one so far. Not everyone has enjoyed it, but a good majority of fans have been able to appreciate what the new groups have been doing so far, especially girl groups.