In this day and age of K-Pop, there are so many boy groups and girl groups saturating the industry that it can be hard for some to stand out. Because of this, when one group finds success in a certain concept or style, it’s not uncommon for it to become a trend to the point of fans becoming tired of it. Such instances in the genre right now are the “girl crush” concept in girl groups, and the broody, edgy, sexy concept in boy groups. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with these concepts — they’re popular for a reason! — sometimes fans want to see and listen to something different. Fans on Reddit recently compiled a list of groups that they consider a breath of fresh air in K-Pop — here are 7 of their top choices.
Dreamcatcher is definitely known for their unique sound, with many people even comparing it to J-rock! They’ve tried an assortment of different styles, from hard rock to choral music (“Deja Vu”), Viking metal (“Scream”), and psytrance (“In the Frozen”). Even their aesthetic breaks away from the more common cutesy or girl crush concepts in terms of visuals and fashion, opting for more gothic or witchy concepts oftentimes!
With a return to edgy, dark, emotional concepts in so many boy groups, AB6IX is definitely a breath of fresh air amidst such heavy songs with their bright and fun concepts. Even their choreographies and stage performances are less strict and structured recently and allow them to have more fun and improvise more on stage, which is enjoyable for them and the audience and makes each performance more unique!
KARD is unique in that they’re pretty much the only well-known co-ed group currently promoting in K-Pop. Due to this, their sound and style is incredibly unique, blending male and female vocals and rapping in a way that a group of only one gender can’t really achieve. They’ve also played with many different concepts and sounds in their discography, from the light, summery sound of “Hola Hola” to the recent, edgier and more club-bopping songs like “Bomb Bomb” and “Dumb Litty”.
Like AB6IX, DONGKIZ is a rookie group that is trying to experiment outside of the popular edgy-sexy concepts so prevalent in boy groups today. Many of their songs have more of a funky, retro sound to them, and while that might not appeal to everyone, it’s certainly different!
IZ*ONE isn’t extremely different from a lot of K-Pop girl groups, but they have mostly stayed away from the ever-so-popular girl crush concepts that are saturating the industry lately. They opt for more elegant, graceful concepts and sounds, and their recent song, “Secret Story of the Swan”, is a great example of this. Another popular sound in girl songs these days is a hard, bass-heavy chorus, which they’re also avoiding.
DAY6 isn’t a new group, but they’ve stuck to an unusual concept and style that is pretty unique and that they’re well-known for. They’re one of the few actively promoting groups that play their own instruments for all of their songs, and incorporate more rock in their music than the average K-Pop group. They also don’t really have any kind of choreography, which basically every other group is so heavily focused on these days.
NCT’s style isn’t for everyone, with some K-Pop fans complaining that their “noise music” isn’t to their taste. Many others, however, enjoy this unusual sound and style, and it certainly sets them apart from other boy groups in the industry. And even though they do use heavy “noise” in their songs, it’s easy to tell that it’s been well-thought out and works well with their style. They also have the unique concept of several different subunits with NCT 127, NCT U, NCT Dream, and WAYV.