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Hallyu Wave: Male K-pop groups

South Korean entertainment is creating tides across oceans with the Hallyu Wave, meaning cultural wave. With hundreds of trained idol groups, fan-chants and learning members’ names, it can get intimidating. Here are four of the most recent male idol group comebacks to dip a toe into this giant pool of music.

Daesung, G-Dragon, Taeyang, Seungri and T.O.P make Big Bang. Photo from ygfamily.com

1. Big Bang

After three long years, Big Bang has finally returned. Signed with YG Entertainment, Big Bang not only showcases a distinct western sound but also write and produce their own music. Members G-Dragon, Taeyang, Daesung, T.O.P and Seungri each have solo careers but when together, they are an unstoppable force with high-end style. Listen to their newest tracks “Bae Bae” and “Loser” but leave room for higher expectations since a new single will be released June 1. If you ever need to turn up, Big Bang is for you.


Onew, Key, Taemin, Jonghyun and Minho make SHINee. Photo from smtown.com

2. SHINee

Shining SHINee have matured with their newest album “Odd” released May 18. Signed with SM Town, this cheerful group gained popularity after creating an original soundtrack for the popular drama “Boys Over Flowers” in 2009. Members Jonghyun (who wrote most of the album like title track “View”), Taemin, Key, Minho and Onew present their vocal talents with this densely R&B sound. There are also some worthy summer anthem tracks like “Romance” and “Black Hole”.


Lay, Kai, Baekhyun, D.O., Chanyeol, Xiumin, Chen, Sehun, Tao and Suho make EXO. Photo from smtown.com

3. EXO   

Prepare yourself for perhaps one of the most powerful and confusing group out there. Signed with SM Town, this group was originally divided into two: EXO-K to promote in South Korea and EXO-M to promote in China. Now as one, they released their newest album “EXODUS” which swept music charts across the world. Composed of 10 young men (Sehun, Chanyeol, Baekhyun, Tao, Xiumin, Chen, Kai, D.O., Suho and Lay), the group is widely popular for their precise choreography and catchy singles like their newest one “Call Me Baby.”


J-Hope, Suga, Jimin, V, Rap Monsta, Jin and Jung Kook make BTS. Photo from bts.ibighit.com

4. BTS (Bangtan Boys)

Not really into pop? BTS is for you. Signed with Big Hit Entertainment, this group composed of V, Suga, Jin, Jung Kook, Rap Monster, Jimin and J-hope stay true to their promise of creating hip-hop music since their debut in 2013. Their newest mini-album “화양연화 The Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Pt. 1” showcases a softer side of the growing boys with tracks like “I Need U” and “Love is Not Over”. But their true rap talent is seen in their intro titled “화양연화” with the most intensely crafted crescendo and their previous song “Bulletproof”.

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