Girl power has been a constant over the last couple of years in K-pop, as time passes girl groups and their concepts have been in constant growth, and now we do not get just girl crush or bubblegum concepts, but also a mix that go from interesting storyline, to female empowerment, to fairies or witches and a lot more.
This type of concept for girl groups has always happened in K-pop, however, we noticed a surge in them starting in 2019 with Itzy’s debut era and singles like ‘Wannabe’. Girl groups have also diversified in many aspects and a lot of them are now actively participating in the making of albums or are fully self-produced like (G)I-DLE. Big changes are happening in the industry and we love to see them as fans.
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2022 however, was a special year for girl groups in many aspects, the popularity of them went absolutely through the roof and we saw historic moments such as MELON having in its top 10 only girl groups and female soloists for the first time ever. We were also gifted with excellent music from legendary groups, and had an insane amount of rookies that killed it in the charts with their debut or first comeback.
This surge of insane production and storylines started at the end of 2021, with Billlie’s debut album ‘The Billage of Perception: Chapter One’, and its outstanding sound. Around the same time the highly anticipated group IVE debuted with the single album ‘ELEVEN’, and topped the charts for weeks.
2022 started big with Taeyeon releasing ‘INVU’. Things got even better in March with (G)I-DLE releasing ‘I Never Die’ and the viral single ‘TOMBOY’, and Red Velvet coming back with ‘Feel My Rhythm’, and having fans dancing to classical music, in the same month.
In April we went classy with IVE’s ‘LOVE DIVE’, and May brought Le Sserafim, who had us being ‘Fearless’. June brought Twice’s Nayeon’s solo debut ‘IM NAYEON’ and had us doing hand dances that most of us got wrong.
The historic MELON chart moment happened in August, when NewJeans debuted and their full EP ranked in its entirety in the TOP 20. This same month, the legends from Girls’ Generation had their comeback ‘Forever 1’ celebrating their fifteenth anniversary. IVE came back with their third single album ‘After Like’, and the nation’s girl group Twice dropped their EP ‘Between 1&2’.
With the quality of these releases it was only natural that the charts were fully dominated by girl groups, but the quality of music did not stop there.
September brought BIBI’s pre-release single ‘Animal Farm’, and its social criticism. In October we were gifted once again by (G) I-DLE and the EP ‘I LOVE’ and its incredible sound, well-thought out concept and smart vision. In the same month Le Sserafim had us this time being ‘Antifragile’, and we all felt stronger than ever.
Towards the end of October the first sub-unit of the group project TripleS debuted with the EP ‘Acid Angel from Asia [ACCESS]’, and its high-quality production, and November brought the rookie group Fifty Fifty and their debut mini-album ‘The Fifty’ and its incredible music.
From every single angle, whether the record label was big, small, new or established, most girl group comebacks had one characteristic in common: “quality”. It was such a consistent element, that we can now say for sure that 2022 was the year of girl groups.
(To read the full feature make sure to get a copy of our annual magazine, available here)