HOW GIRL'S GENERATION SHAPED THE K-POP INDUSTRY

Gee, Gee, Gee, Baby.
1 September 2022

August has been a big month for girl groups in the K-Pop stratosphere. BLACKPINK, TWICE, IVE, and more have either released new music to mark their awaited comebacks. 

In fact, for the first time ever, the top 10 spots on the Melon Top 100 music chart are occupied by girl groups. But before the likes of these powerhouses, one group dominated the local and global scene. That’s right, Girl’s Generation.

GG_image 1
Photo Credit: @girlsgeneration

Girl’s Generation also dropped their seventh studio album “Forever 1” in celebration of their 15th anniversary in early August. Of course, as we indulge in all the great tunes, we can’t help but examine how much they’ve contributed to K-Pop and the juniors who debuted after them. 

While BLACKPINK has been considered the biggest pop band in recent years and performing on countless international platforms in the west, Girl’s Generation were the first to pave the way.

In the early 2010s, Girl’s Generation became the first Korean group to perform on American daytime and late night talk shows such as David Letterman. 

None of which would have been possible if the group didn’t blow up across social media for their iconic song “Gee”. No millennial or Gen Z can resist singing the infectious repeating chorus that is quintessential pop music and this tool has been used with great success ever since. 

Just take a look at Ddu-du Ddu-du as an example. 

There is no doubt that the beloved girl group has made a significant effort in spreading K-Pop all over the world.

Another aspect to consider is the fashion and accompanying attitudes that make girl groups so popular.

Girl’s Generation exuded the “girl next door” energy with simple co-ord tops and miniskirts. Not to mention, technicoloured outfits that showcased their synergy as a group. However, this era did not last long.

When the group embarked on their solo careers in 2017, the active members branched out to find their individual sound and look. As a soloist, Hoyeon embraced EDM in her mini album “Deep” and it translated into her style too – dark, sultry and powerful.

GG_Hoyeon
Photo Credit: @girlsgeneration

Girl groups of today also dress with power in mind – featuring outfits with bigger silhouettes, studier materials such as leather and metal hardware from head to toe. This is evident throughout NewJeans' Hype Boy music video that had the ladies in gender neutral outfits.

Style isn’t the only thing that has evolved through the years. It is clear that Girl’s Generation is also learning from their juniors when it comes to music. With the rise of feminist movements around the world, female empowerment is a central theme and there is a raw authenticity to the lyrics.

Although “Forever 1” stays true to the group's classic pop sensibilities and DNA, it has matured just like the women who are in their thirties. The discography is upbeat and fun but it has modern twists such as synth sounds and richer vocal runs that add texture to their already-superb harmonies. 

As K-Pop continues to expand into its fourth generation, the demand for girl groups is as apparent as ever and the stage is set for both seniors and juniors to reach even greater success.

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