Competition is fierce out there in the K-pop world today! There are so many rookies trying to debut that most people resort to other tactics to ensure they get the spotlight. For girls, that often means a super sexy concept. For guys, it often means showing your abs during some amazing choreography.
We all know groups like BTOB that have been working for years and are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve, but what about the other groups out there? Sure, people might recognize the band name or even be able to name one of the members, but overall, these groups just aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. Does it mean they have less talent and don’t work as hard as other groups? Of course not!
With this topic in mind, I thought I would focus on eight wonderful, talented boy bands that produce great music and interesting videos. However, they are also eight boy bands that are totally underrated! Let’s see if we can change that a bit, shall we?
Read on, Soompiers for a quick look into each band. After you finish watching the videos, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
Royal Pirates first started their career by performing at Korean events in California. After the tragic loss of one of their members in a car accident in 2008, they generally did not perform at live events again. Sometime later, they begin to gain popularity on YouTube as they did covers of K-pop bands. It wasn’t until 2013, however, that they made their official debut on “Inkigayo.” They have since gone on to release three singles, two mini-albums, one Japanese mini-album, and a full album in Taiwan. The Korean-American band still features the indie-rock sound which made them famous. That sound also really showcases their great vocals and amazing skills on their instruments.
Whereas most idols first debut as singers, then branch out into acting and dramas, the handsome members of 5urprise went the opposite way. All five of the members made their acting debut in 2013, later making their official singing debut in 2014. The band has only released one single so far, titled “From My Heart.” However, their smooth harmonies make for a perfect ballad sound that is not very common in K-pop and leaves us wanting much more. They were recent guests of Kyuhyun on the reality show “Super Junior M Guest House,” even beating out Kyuhyun in a fan-judged singing contest. One of the members in particular, Seo Kang Joon, has gained a lot of popularity from his appearance in the TV show “Roommate” and his roles in various dramas. If their label would really get behind this group and promote them, I think they would gain a lot of fans!
UNIQ is a five-member band formed by Chinese label Yuehua Entertainment. The three Chinese members and two Korean members all spent a lot of time abroad, so they release songs in Chinese, Korean, and even English. They made their official debut in October 2014 with the single “Falling in Love” (which happens to be one of my favorite songs from that year). Shortly after their debut, they were asked to record songs on the Chinese OSTs for the Hollywood movies “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Penguins of Madagascar.” After their comeback and subsequent release of their first mini-album, the band went on to win their first music show award in China and break the record for most wins on the Global Chinese Music Chart (a record previously set by EXO-M).
BIGSTAR made their debut back in 2012 under Brave Entertainment. They began their first solo tour in 2014, holding four shows every single week. This busy schedule allowed the band to become the first idol group to ever hold 100 concerts in Japan during a single tour. Although they enjoyed relative success with the release of their previous singles and EPs, it wasn’t until the fall of 2015 that they were able to break into the “Top 100 Songs” of the Gaon Chart. The song that gave them such success was the lead track off their mini-album, “Shine a Moon Light.” Feeldog, one of the band members, has also gained popularity through his appearances on the athletic-based variety show “Dream Team.” I think BIGSTAR’s greatest asset is that they are such hard-workers! I think their work ethic and dedication (and obvious talent) is what will continue to help them in this tough industry.
The first boy band to debut under LOEN Entertainment, this group made their official debut in 2013. In April of that year, they released their first single. The song featured the narration of their labelmate IU, as well as a rap written by another labelmate, Misung of Sunny Hill. After a very busy two years, the boys made their most recent comeback with the release of their mini-album “Beyond the History” in 2015. The title track (and subsequent music video) shows that they have moved on from the typical pop genre and are experimenting with a slightly edgier, pop-rock sound. The powerful vocals and high notes on the chorus of “Might Just Die” remind me of the early days of TVXQ, where the five members really brought out those powerful, strong harmonies. History definitely has potential and I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in the future.
MADTOWN debuted in 2014 with the release of their first mini-album, “Mad Town – Super Debut.” Their lead track “YOLO” did really well on the charts (especially considering it was the first song they had ever promoted) and peaked at number 11 on the Gaon Chart. They released another mini-album, “Welcome to Madtown,” with their lead track doing even better on the charts and peaking at number seven. Apart from the popular group MBLAQ, they are currently the only other artist signed to J. Tune Camp. Their label has said that they want the two groups to have completely different styles and sounds when it comes to music and promotions. The music videos for MADTOWN have certainly shown just how different they are from MBLAQ. Their songs and MVs include a toned-down pop sound, with much heavier influences of hip-hop and dance music. The band also filmed their first reality show, which was broadcast through the official J. Tune Camp channel on YouTube.
HOTSHOT is a six-member group that made their official debut on a KBS “Music Bank” episode on October 31, 2014. They sang the lead track for their single album “Take a Shot.” Unlike most rookies, their song immediately rose up on the Korean chart, peaking at number twenty. Their next two mini-albums, both released in 2015, did very well on the charts as well. One of the albums peaked at 13 on the Gaon Chart, but their latest mini-album peaked at number 11, just barely missing a break into the top ten. The handsome young men are very young — the maknae just turned 22 a few days ago and the leader of the group is only 23. Since they are already receiving great reviews from critics and fans alike, I hope to see much more of this talented group in the future as they mature and grow as artists!
As mentioned previously, UNIQ was formed by a Chinese label to be a K-pop band that would promote both in Korea and China. In addition, famous actor Jackie Chan also formed a K-pop boy band named JJCC. In 2013, however, Boys Republic became the first K-pop group to sign and debut under an American label. The label was Universal Music, the largest music corporation in the world! They have released six singles and two mini-albums, both of which placed in the Top 10 on the Korean charts. In addition, the young members are known for their charity work. Apart from being named ambassadors for various charity organizations and projects, the members also do hands-on charity work. One member knitted hats for the “Save the Children” project, an organization which assists children in areas like Uganda, Ethiopia, and Pakistan. Another time, the members all joined with the Salvation Army for a special event in Seoul to give free hugs in the freezing weather and raise money for poverty-stricken neighbors. Talented and generous? That’s definitely a charming combination worth checking out!
So that’s it for our list of “8 K-Pop Boy Bands That Deserve More Popularity.” Do you listen to any of the groups we listed above? Are we right to say they deserve more popularity and fame? What other boy bands do you think are underrated? Which ones deserve more attention? Do you think groups like LC9 or Cross Gene should have been on this list instead of some of the ones I listed? Let your voice be heard by leaving us your opinions in the comment section below!
lee1086 is a Soompi writer whose favorite underrated groups are UNIQ, Beat Win, and U-KISS. She lives for music, playing the piano, and Eunsihae. Apart from her love for Super Junior, she is also a fan of 3rd Wave Music, BIGBANG, EXO, SHINEE, BTS, and more. When she is not watching the latest K-Drama or obsessing over the perfection of Lee Donghae, she is busy at church or hanging out with her family and friends.