9 Times Fourth Generation Idols Paid Homage To Early K-Pop Acts

From the days of S.E.S. to Girls’ Generation, to SHINee, and more, K-pop has come a long way in the last two decades. Despite the unparalleled worldwide success of current fourth generation acts, many of them make sure to show their love for the pioneers of the industry through tributes and covers.

It’s a much-welcome practice as it introduces younger K-pop fans to some of the industry’s most iconic hits, at the same time giving longtime K-pop fans a heartfelt throwback to the old days. Here are nine of many times the fourth generation paid homage to early first and second generation K-pop acts!

Choi Ye NaBoA’s “Only One”

Widely regarded as one of the most successful K-pop soloists of all time, countless idols have paid tribute to BoA over the years. Most recently, soloist and former IZ*ONE member Choi Ye Na took on her 2012 hit “Only One,” one of BoA’s most well-loved singles to date. Featuring a cameo from her brother Choi Sung Min during the song’s dance duet, the fourth generation soloist stays true to the original in her performance.

ATEEZ – SHINee’s “Sherlock”

Another throwback to 2012, ATEEZ showed off their powerful vocals to SHINee’s “Sherlock” back in 2019 for a special “Music Bank” episode. While the second-generation boyband’s songs are notoriously hard to cover, ATEEZ absolutely killed it and made the track’s iconic choreography their own.

ITZY – T-ara’s “Roly-Poly”

If there is one thing ITZY and second generation girl group T-ara have in common, it’s their ability to give listeners the most unshakable of earworms with their infectious, high-energy tracks. Nearly 10 years after the release of the addictive “Roly-Poly,” ITZY graced 2020’s SBS Gayo Daejeon with their perfectly-executed cover of this legendary hit.

TXT – SHINee’s “Replay”

Another great SHINee cover is TXT’s take on their groovy, R&B-laced debut track “Replay,” a song the members would have grown up listening to. Although their vocals sound more modern, TXT perfectly embodies the youthful, romantic vibe of the original, which is an impressive feat given SHINee’s one-of-a-kind style and energy.

aespa – S.E.S.’s “Dreams Come True”

1997’s space fairies meet 2021’s AI avatars in aespa’s remake of fellow SM girl group S.E.S.’s single “Dreams Come True,” perfectly blending the concepts of both groups into one song. While aespa certainly “brings it back to ’90s” in their remake, the group makes sure to add their own spin to the track with modern rap verses and an incredibly catchy post-chorus.

Stray Kids – 2PM’s “My House”

In 2020, Stray Kids took a break from their usual hard-hitting sound to pay homage to their JYP seniors 2PM with a sultry cover of the 2015 single “My House.” Perfectly digesting the song’s concept and performance, Stray Kids proves that the agency hasn’t lost its touch in debuting amazingly talented boybands.

(G)I-DLELee Hyori’s “U-Go-Girl”

Can you believe this iconic performance happened four years ago? Shortly after their debut, fourth generation leaders (G)I-DLE paid tribute to soloist and Fin.K.L member Lee Hyori’s “U-Go-Girl,” one of her biggest hits to date. Despite their usual sound being darker, (G)I-DLE looks and sounds right at home with this empowering female-centric anthem!


For 2020’s Christmas, AB6IX took on SECHSKIES’s sweet, signature sound with a cover of the 1998 hit “COUPLE“, which remains one of the group’s most well-loved songs. This track feels like a warm hug on a cold winter’s day, and AB6IX definitely made sure to pour all their love into their soft, comforting rendition.

fromis_9 – Girls’ Generation’s “Oh!”

Every girl group covers “Into the New World” and “Gee,” so it’s refreshing to see “Oh!” getting some love for a change. The cheeky, playful energy of Girls’ Generation’s 2010 title track suits fromis_9 wonderfully, making it a brilliant choice for them. From their strong vocal delivery to adorable facial expressions, this might just be one of the best Girls’ Generation covers around!

What other fourth generation K-pop groups have covered early K-pop hits? Let us know in the comments!

Gladys Yeo is a longtime K-entertainment fan and university student majoring in Media and Asian Studies. Outside of school and writing, she can be found listening to K-pop girl groups or trying (and failing) to control her two pet corgis. Feel free to hit her up on Instagram or Twitter to chat about dramas, music, and life!

Currently addicted to: ATEEZ’s “Guerrilla,” NewJeans’ “Hype Boy
Looking forward to: Billlie’s “the Billage of perception: chapter two” and Key’s “Gasoline

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