In the ever-evolving world of K-pop, the rise of rookie groups not only introduces fresh faces but also brings in a new era of musical innovation. K-pop, renowned for its dynamic fusions of genres, breathtaking choreography, and captivating storytelling, continues to shape the global music landscape. The latest rookies have not only embraced these traditions but have also pushed the boundaries, offering listeners a wide range of musical experiences. Join us on this adventure as we uncover the gems of the K-pop industry, where innovation and creativity collide. From anthemic debuts to genre-defying comebacks, these rookies are making waves and leaving a lasting impact on the charts. Get ready to discover the rising stars and witness the birth of chart-topping hits that not only showcase the versatility of K-pop but also introduce us to a new generation of artists who are ready to conquer the global stage.
1. New Jeans’s Super Shy
NewJeans is a 5-member girl group under ADOR and HYBE Labels. The members consist of Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin, and Hyein. Since their debut on July 22nd 2022, NewJeans have continued to rock the K-pop world. Every single song they put out has become a huge hit both in Korea and worldwide. Even though they are really young, NewJeans members are really talented in singing and dancing, they are also very respectful, making everyone they meet fall for their charms.
Super Shy is from their second EP, Get Up which was released on July 21st 2023. Super Shy is an incorporation of liquid drum and bass, bubblegum, and Jersey club using a club-inflected bass drum pattern. The lyrics are about the nervousness of confessing to a first love. The single was NewJeans's third number-one hit on the South Korean Circle Digital Chart, where it spent eight weeks at number one. Additionally, it peaked at the top of the charts in Singapore and Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Taiwan in Billboard's Hits of the World series. It also became the group's best-charting single elsewhere, peaking at number two on the Billboard Global 200 and at number 52 in the UK and number 48 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
2. LE SSERAFIM’s Eve, Psyche & the Bluebeard's Wife
LE SSERAFIM a South Korean girl group formed by Source Music. The group consists of five members: Sakura, Kim Chae-won, Huh Yun-jin, Kazuha, and Hong Eun-chae. Le Sserafim debuted on May 2nd 2022, with the release of their first extended play, Fearless. The group's name, LE SSERAFIM, is an anagram of the phrase I'm Fearless.
Eve, Psyche and the Bluebeard's Wife is a track included on LE SSERAFIM's debut studio album, Unforgiven, which was released on May 1st 2023. Eve, Psyche and the Bluebeard's Wife is an upbeat K-pop and Jersey club song with a "classic" 1990s-inspired electro beat. Its lyrics, cover themes of self-empowerment and breaking away from stereotypes and taboos. In South Korea, Eve, Psyche and the Bluebeard's Wife entered the Circle Chart at number 121 on May 1st 2023. After the release of the music video, it entered the chart's top-100 for the week dated May 24th 2023 and rose to number 34 the following week. It peaked at number two for the week on June 25th 2023
3. ZEROBASEONE’s In Bloom
ZEROBASEONE is a South Korean boy group formed through Mnet's reality competition program Boys Planet and managed by WakeOne. The group consists of nine members: Kim Ji-woong, Zhang Hao, Sung Han-bin, Seok Matthew, Kim Tae-rae, Ricky, Kim Gyu-vin, Park Gun-wook and Han Yu-jin. They debuted on July 10th 2023, with their EP, Youth in the Shade.
In Bloom is the debut single of ZEROBASEONE, from their debut EP. It is a drum and bass and synth-pop song that samples the main riff from the 1984 single "Take On Me" from the Norwegian synth-pop band a-ha. The lyrics describe the members having the courage to take their first meaningful step as a group, while being aware of an inevitable end, as they are determined to run to you. The inevitable end is that they will only be a group for 2 years and 6 months due to the fact that they were formed on a survival program. The song charted at number 38 on South Korea’s Circle Charts and number 22 on Japan Hot 100.
4. tripleS’s Rising
tripleS is a 10 membered South Korean girl group formed by MODHAUS. Their aim is to become the first decentralized K-pop idol group in history. The members will rotate between the group, sub-unit, and solo activities, as chosen by fans as they will be able to participate and communicate with the group such as deciding the sub-units and the content through NFT photo cards called 'Objekts'. The group's concept is that the members have the special ability 'S' and that they will join forces and show their abilities through the 'Dimension' and will be reconstructed every season with new concepts. The group name TripleS means "The Idol of all Possibilities" and the three S letters stand for "Social, Sonyo, Seoul".
Rising is the title track of tripleS’s debut EP, Assemble consisting of members Yoon Seo-yeon, Jeong Hye-rin, Lee Ji-woo, Kim Chae-yeon, Kim Yoo-yeon, Kim Soo-min, Kim Na-kyoung, Gong Yu-bin, Kaede and Seo Da-hyun. It was released on February 13th 2023. The song peaked at number 10 on Korea’s weekly Circle Chart an at number 26 on the monthly charts. Opening with a tambourine groove, plucky bass line, and immediately compelling five-note "la la la la la" melody, it's flush with expansive synths and layered vocals by the chorus. tripleS sings about how precious and wonderful it is to run with all your might to achieve your dreams.
5. RIIZE’s Get a Guitar
RIIZE is a South Korean boy group under SM Entertainment. The group consists of seven members, Shotaro, Eunseok, Sungchan, Wonbin, Seunghan, Sohee, and Anton. They debuted on September 4th 2023, with the single album Get a Guitar. The group's name, RIIZE, is a name created by combining "Rise", which means "growth", and "Realize", which means "a team that grows together and realizes dreams".
Get a Guitar is a song with retro synths and funky guitar rhythm, with lyrics that show the process of understanding and empathizing with each other and becoming a team through music. It peaked at South Korea’s weekly Circle Charts at number 1 and number 2 at monthly charts. It ended the year at number 34.
6. BabyMonster’s Batter Up
BabyMonster is a South Korean girl group formed and managed by YG Entertainment. The group consists of seven members: Ruka, Pharita, Asa, Ahyeon, Rami, Rora, and Chiquita. They debuted on November 27th 2023, with the single "Batter Up". Batter Up is described as a song with "hip-hop and trap" sounds characteristic of YG Entertainment. They won “Rookie of the Year – Global Streaming” award at Circle Chart Music Awards. The song closed the year at number 172 on Circle Charts.
7. Xikers’s Tricky House
Xikers is a South Korean boy group formed by KQ Entertainmen. The group consists of ten members: Minjae, Junmin, Sumin, Jinsik, Hyunwoo, Junghoon, Seeun, Yujun, Hunter and Yechan. They debuted on March 30th 2023, with the EP House of Tricky: Doorbell Ringing. Xikers derive their name from a combination of the letter "x", symbolizing coordinates, and the word "hiker", meaning traveler. Altogether, the group's name refers to "boys who travel through time and space in search of coordinates".
The EP reached number 4 on the Circle Album Chart and sold 97,857 copies in South Korea. Tricky House has almost 20 million streams on Spotify and 31 million views on Youtube. It also peaked at number 4 at Circle Charts, number 6 at Japan Oricon Charts and number 4 at Billboard’s US World Albums Chart.
As we bid farewell to this exploration, it's evident that the future of K-pop is in capable hands – hands that are adept at pushing boundaries, challenging norms, and creating a melodic tapestry that reflects the diversity of the genre. Each rookie group and artist introduced us to a unique sonic identity, leaving a lasting impression on our playlists and hearts. The infectious energy of their performances, coupled with the sincerity of their artistry, has resonated with fans, creating a global community that transcends borders. As we eagerly wait for the next wave of talent, one thing is certain – the journey of K-pop is an ever-evolving symphony, and with each passing year, the music becomes more enchanting, the performances more mesmerizing, and the fandom more united. The rookies have spoken, and their voices echo loudly in the world of K-pop, leaving us hungry for more.