1st Generation: The Rise Of Idol Groups In Korea
The First Generation started in the early 1990s to early 2000s. Many argue that K-Pop was born thanks to the group Seo Taiji and Boys. Seo Taiji and Boys were active from 1992 to 1996. The group debuted with their 3 members: Seo Taiji, Yang Hyun Suk, and Lee Juno. The boys’ emergence gave a new color to the genre of Korean Pop music at that time, because they were able to integrate western musical styles into their works. They represented Western-style pop music with their debut song “I KNOW.” The boys can also be considered as pioneers who also incorporated elements of rap in their songs. All of you K-Pop lovers have to agree that K-Pop would be incomplete without the rap. Even in Ballad songs, the rap parts are very catchy and unique when you listen to them.
The group changed South Korea’s music landscape and paved the way for other artists to become more flexible and experimental. Other well-known groups from this generation are Shinwa, S.E.S, Sech Kies, Turbo, G.O.D, Koyote, H.O.T, and many more. The well known solo idols who contributed to the expansion of the works of this generation are Lee Hyori and BoA.
In this era, you could say that K-Pop was still only enjoyed by Koreans. This is because the K-Pop hits weren’t acknowledged yet by international fans. Even K-Pop’s whereabouts were still unknown in Asia. From this first generation, K-Pop began to develop and experiment with unique and distinctive styles. 2nd Generation: The Rise Of K-Pop Worldwide
It was speculated that the second generation of K-Pop started from 2003 – 2013. Some of the groups that contributed to the development of this era are Big Bang, 2NE1, Super Junior, KARA, SNSD, Wonder Girl, Miss A, 2PM, 2AM, SHINee, SISTAR, f(x), and many more. At the time, some groups even tried their luck by making a debut in Japan and were actually welcomed with good responses. K-Pop then slowly became known in Asia and foreign fans began to emerge.
The second generation began to present their K-Pop hits to Asian countries. Starting from Japan, K-Pop spread widely to other Asian countries. With the spread of the Hallyu Wave, international fans began to emerge. Expanding and becoming more popular across Asia and other parts of the world with the unique, distinctive choreographies, captivating melodies, and lyrics that literally captured the hearts of many. In this period, the concept of “fandom” too became even stronger. This “fandom” phenomenon led to the formation of a special community that consists of a group of people who like the particular idol group or singer.
In the era of second-generation K-Pop can also be said that it was the time K-Pop entered its golden age. Many K-Pop artists made their appearances on many variety shows, in an effort to be known to the public.
3rd Generation: The K-Pop Expansion
Coming to the third generation of K-Pop, which consists of newly formed idol groups that have succeeded in dominating the world. Well, who doesn’t know BTS, Twice, EXO, BLACKPINK, and other groups that have stirred up the world with their works.
Of course, technology and media certainly took an important role in the development of the Third Generation K-Pop. While the first and second generation of K-Pop could only rely on listeners from Korea and Asia, the Third generation K-Pop artists have the advantage of the emergence of a variety of new technologies and media that make the spread of K-Pop music easier, faster, and wider. Through the internet, world citizens can easily find K-Pop and enjoy the Hallyu Wave.
This third-generation is not just trying their luck in Asia anymore, like the previous generations. But they began to appear overseas, and even some of them tried to debut in Hollywood. A large number of foreign fans were making the groups in this generation encouraged to hold concerts and fan meetings abroad quite often. This worldwide popularity gave K-Pop artists the potential to work together with other foreign artists, such as J-Hope from BTS with Becky G on their song “Chicken Noodle Soup,” Chungha and Rich Brian on “These Nights,” and many more.
Iconic Songs From Each Generation
As we have already acknowledged, K-Pop has blown up since the ‘90s and many artists have continued to acquire global recognition. Thanks to the efforts and success of the first and second-generation idols, the latest generation made sure to continue introducing K-Pop to the world. Here is a tiny list of iconic K-Pop songs from each generation.