A phenomenon in global popularity, K-Pop merchandise is sold here in Hawaiʻi at Pink Box at Ala Moana Center. (Photo by Shawna Takaki)

By Shawna Takaki | Staff Writer

Whether you hear a track in Korean on the radio or on streaming services, see it trending on your social media feed, or have a friend who is majorly into groups such as BTS and Blackpink, it’s undeniable that K-Pop is impossible to miss. Here, you can get a look at a handful of currently popular groups in the industry.

Le Sserafim
A five-member girl group formed in 2022 by Source Music, formerly known for groups such as GFriend (2015-2021), Le Sserafim is taking the K-Pop scene by storm. An anagram of “I’m Fearless” and a reference to mythical seraphim, the girl group is known for chic, high-budget pop songs with strong choreography. With fans dubbed “fearnots”, they come onto screen with a group concept emphasizing their willpower and fearlessness. One of their most well-known songs, “Eve, Psyche, and the Bluebeard’s Wife,” at 70 million views, is a catchy hip-hop song with an addictive chorus. It’s inspired by the Bible, the Greek myth of Psyche, and the tale of Bluebeard, in crafting a song about longing for what’s forbidden.

The trademark group from KQ Entertainment, ATEEZ is known for striking skills and consistently intense, fiery music. Consisting of eight members who debuted as a group in 2018, this group is a strong, consistent group that always impresses. ATEEZ’s storyline deals with that of pirates. The group has sold over 4 million albums worldwide, followed by their fans, known as ‘Atiny,’ which combines the group’s name ATEEZ with Destiny. Their most-viewed song, “WONDERLAND”, is a bombastic song highlighting the performance skills of the group.

A group known for its memorable earworms, IVE debuted in 2021 and is a girl group with some of the most well-known songs in the industry. The group shows off songs such as the upbeat love song “After Like,” and dark pop song, “Love Dive”. The group has a flamboyant, kitsch splendor to their music videos. The six-member group was created by Starship, a company known for other groups such as Monsta X. IVE credits the phrase “I have” as the inspiration for their namesake, a declaration of their confidence as a girl group.

Stray Kids
JYP’s biggest boy group, Stray Kids, is an eight-member group that has sold over 10 million albums. The name of the group refers to a lost child chasing their dreams and evolving past what is seen as ordinary. The group lineup was voted for by fans in a 2017 survival show with the namesake of the boy group. Their highest-viewed song, “God’s Menu,” numbers at 431 million views, an impactful song with lyrics about cuisine that invites listeners to taste the group’s charms. Stray Kids released their new album, “樂-STAR,” yesterday, available on all streaming platforms.

With a group name inspired by the word ‘hyphen,’ Enhypen’s stated goal is to “to come together to connect, discover and grow together to form a new act.” The group was formed by Belift Lab, a label made in conjunction with CJ ENM and Hybe Corporation (known for groups such as BTS and TOMORROW X TOGETHER). The group’s seven members were chosen through the K-Pop survival show, I-Land, where the decisions were made with input from both fans and the company. The group’s latest song, “Bite Me,” is a representation of the group’s defining storyline, which consistently calls back to vampires and a seductive, creepy aura. “Dark Moon: The Blood Altar,” a webtoon about Enhypen’s storyline, is available online.