As of this year, BTS are officially on hiatus until 2025. As one of the biggest groups on planet, the news broke millions of hearts worldwide.
Like many fans, if you find yourself struggling to fill the BTS-shaped hole in your chest (because, let’s be real here, there is no western equivalent for the slick perfection of the South Korean idol group), then look no further. Here are five K-pop boy groups to to fill the void and if that’s not enough, check out the Spotify playlist at the end for more K-pop bangers.
The eight-member group debuted under JYP Entertainment in 2017. Their 2022 mini-album MAXIDENT is an exercise in versatility, from hard-hitting rap verses to glitchy pop and electronic dance. Masterminded by the core producer trio of the group, 3RACHA (Bang Chan, Changbin, and Han), the tracks are drawn together by the same gritty sound that propelled the success of their previous chart-topping release ODDINARY. Catch them this summer at Lollapalooza Paris.
In January the eleven-member idol group announced via Instagram that they had won their lawsuit freeing them from their contracts with SPIRE Entertainment, after they alleged physical and emotional abuse by employees. They performed for the first time as an independent group at the Hanteo Music Awards in February and sang an unreleased song, Dream. Here’s to hoping that in 2023 we see a triumphant comeback for OMEGA X, this time on their own terms.
Tomorrow X Together
Commonly abbreviated to TXT, the quintet are signed to Big Hit Music – the same label as BTS. This year saw them land their first No.1 album on the Billboard albums chart with The Name Chapter: TEMPTATION. This makes them the fifth K-pop group to achieve this, following BTS, SuperM, Stray Kids and BLACKPINK. The lead track Sugar Rush Ride incorporates traditional Korean storytelling, pansori. Member Hueningkai explained during a press conference: “We used some parts of Chunhyangga [one of five surviving pansori narrative forms from the Joseon dynasty] in our lyrics and featured the movements of Korean traditional dance in our choreography.”
In a cut-throat music industry, it’s a testament to their work ethic and dedication that MONSTA X have been together for seven years. During that time, they’ve made waves across the continent with their gender-fluid fashion choices and EDM trap hits. In their latest single, Beautiful Liar, pounding bass-lines, thrashing guitars and clattering percussion are drawn together by catchy chorus hooks. The music video is a snapshot of a K-pop group at the top of their game. The choreography, the outfits, the aesthetics. I can’t.
Rookie group TRENDZ (pronounced trend-zee, in a nod to their Gen-Z status) debuted in 2022 with their mini album BLUE SET Chapter 1. TRACKS. The seven-member group aged 17-23 are shaking up the scene with their rock and hip-hop infused songs, such as their latest single VAGABOND. The track opens with punchy guitar riffs and member Yechan rapping, before giving way into a unison singalong pop chorus.