The Best K-Pop Girl Groups of 2021


The Best K-Pop Girl Groups of 2021

The vast world of K-pop is influenced by, and influences, every conceivable genre of music across the world. While the most popular trends and biggest influences tend to fluctuate, there are two key aspects of K-pop that tie everything together: perfection and performance.


The artists in this list embody these qualities of perfection and performance, shining with incredible music and mesmerizing music videos. This article identifies the top female K-pop artists of 2021, ranked from the very best at #1 (spoiler: TWICE) all the way through #80.. this list could easily have grown to more than 100 entries, but it had to be cut off somewhere!


Scroll down for a Spotify playlist, a YouTube music video playlist, and a detailed write-up of all 80 artists!


List of The Top 80 Female K-Pop Artists of 2021

  1. TWICE

  2. ITZY

  3. TRI.BE

  4. EVERGLOW

  5. aespa

  6. CHUNG HA

  7. Dreamcatcher

  8. NiziU

  9. Brave Girls

  10. LISA

  11. STAYC

  12. ROSÉ

  13. PURPLE KISS

  14. PinkFantasy

  15. IU

  16. WJSN

  17. Weeekly

  18. OH MY GIRL

  19. IVE

  20. Rocket Punch

  21. JEON SOYEON

  22. YUKIKA

  23. woo!ah!

  24. (G)I-DLE

  25. WJSN THE BLACK

  26. Billlie

  27. JEON SOMI

  28. LOONA

  29. Hi-L

  30. Cherry Bullet

  31. bugAboo

  32. HOT ISSUE

  33. SUNMI

  34. HyunA

  35. GWSN

  36. cignature

  37. DreamNote

  38. Weki Meki

  39. PIXY

  40. CHANMINA

  41. CL

  42. Red Velvet

  43. MAMAMOO

  44. LUNARSOLAR

  45. Bling Bling

  46. BerryGood

  47. BIBI

  48. AleXa

  49. BEAUTY BOX

  50. fromis_9

  51. ICHILLIN’

  52. LIGHTSUM

  53. MAJORS

  54. LABOUM

  55. SKYLE

  56. Maka`Maka

  57. SECRET NUMBER

  58. Saturday

  59. REDMINT

  60. PoshGirls

  61. T-ARA

  62. YUQI

  63. Jessi

  64. HEIZE

  65. Hwa Sa

  66. Moon Byul

  67. JOY

  68. KWON EUN BI

  69. Lexie Liu

  70. Whee In

  71. JO YURI

  72. KIMSEJEONG

  73. KangHyeWon

  74. WENDY

  75. Solar

  76. Mirani

  77. Hoody

  78. 3YE

  79. Lim Nayoung

  80. ARIAZ


YouTube Playlist of Best K-Pop Music Videos of 2021

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrgT746Ww5PvrYTyxSKzazUUdD-qA198W


Spotify Playlist of Best K-Pop Songs of 2021

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/22rPpsLtkraXBiRnDHVWoA


 

Read About the Top 80 Female K-Pop Artists of 2021

TWICE

It's hardly a surprise to see TWICE claim the coveted Best K-Pop Group of 2021 award. Since the story began in 2015, TWICE has been making an argument for being the absolute best group of the year, year after year, by saturating the market with uncontrollably catchy songs. It's not uncommon for the nine-piece girl group to release several mini-albums, often in multiple languages, each year, collecting more and more ONCE along the way.


In 2021, however, TWICE somehow managed to elevate themselves even higher with two full-length albums: Formula of Love: O+T=<3 in their native Korean tongue and also Perfect World for their favorite secondary market, Japan. Impressive enough on its own, Nayeon, Jeongyeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, Dahyun, Chaeyoung, and Tzuyu skyrocketed ahead of the pack even further by releasing an incredible summer mini-album (Taste of Love) and smashing into the Western market with "The Feels", their first original song in English and potentially best song in their massive, 150+ song discography.


Essential Songs

The Feels

Icon


 

ITZY

Releasing a special fan song for their dear MIDZY, a mini-album (GUESS WHO), and their debut full-length album (Crazy in Love) in 2021 meant Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna had a beyond-busy year. With explosive music videos fueled by impossibly-precise dance routines ("In the morning" is probably the best music video of the year) and b-sides better than most groups' title tracks, it's not hard to see why ITZY sits near the top of the year's best groups, only slightly edged out by the sheer output of their sisters in TWICE.


2021 also found ITZY reissuing English and Japanese versions of their biggest career-spanning hits, showcasing the five-piece's unbelievable global starpower and hooking in audiences around the world with their pitch-perfect vocals and you-have-to-see-it-to-believe it choreographies.


Essential Songs

In the morning

LOCO


 

TRI.BE

In a truly spectacular year of K-pop, it's paradoxically fitting that rookies TRI.BE take a well-deserved slot in the Top 3 best groups of the year. K-pop is undoubtedly packed with amazing performers that get better (and better) with age, but it's also a world where new, younger talent is welcomed with open arms and rookies are given a spotlight to shine alongside their sunbaenims.


TRI.BE came, TRI.BE saw, and TRI.BE conquered with the impeccable VENI VIDI VICI debut mini-album laced with some of the year's best songs. The multi-national, multi-lingual group also dropped two absolutely stellar single albums (CONMIGO and TRI.BE Da Loca) as well as perhaps the best Christmas song in recent memory ("Santa For You") and the theme song for one of the hottest new animated tv shows, We Baby Bears ("The Bha Bha Song"). The future for TRI.BE and the TRUE that support them is as bright as the shining personalities of Songsun, Kelly, Jinha, Hyunbin, Jia, Soeun, and Mire.


Essential Songs

WOULD YOU RUN

RUB-A-DUM


 

EVERGLOW

Confidence has always been the backbone of EVERGLOW, and E:U, Sihyeon, Mia, Onda, Aisha, and Yiren have never sounded stronger than they did this year. Much to the delight of FOREVER who had been waiting to see where the group would go next, the six-piece returned in 2021 with a pair of mini-albums (Last Melody and Return of the Girl) and a for-charity special single.


Already a fantastic group with more than a dozen excellent songs across their discography coming into the year, EVERGLOW somehow managed to have their best year yet: the fierce "FIRST" is their strongest song to date, and "Back Together" is easily their best ballad. No matter what style they tackle, it's clear that EVERGLOW is the winner, winner, winner.


Essential Songs

FIRST

Pirate


 

aespa

The aespa formula for success in 2021 found the four-piece remaking songs into their own hits as well as issuing their first mini-album of six original tracks. It has been impossible to escape the four-piece this year, a true blessing for both MY and global fans of empowering, powerful K-pop.


With the backing of SM Entertainment, and the sheer starpower and charisma of Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning, the only question is just how much better this already-savage group will get in 2022.


Essential Songs

Next Level

Savage


 

CHUNG HA

Following the dissolution of I.O.I in 2017, Kim Chungah debuted as a solo artist and went to work, issuing nearly fifty songs in just four years across several singles, mini-albums, soundtracks, and guest appearances. Now in her fifth year alone (but with the support of her loyal BYULHARANG!), CHUNG HA leveraged that extensive experience to deliver a debut full-length, Querencia.


With extraordinary effort and vision (and a slew of guests), the multi-lingual idol unleashed four distinct sides through her record, each one with its own introductory track and unique atmosphere: "NOBLE", "SAVAGE", "UNKNOWN", and "PLEASURES". While each side of Querencia is a unique experience, CHUNG HA's perfect performances stitch the entire experience together for a truly essential listen.


Essential Songs

Biycycle

Demente


 

Dreamcatcher

Dreamcatcher continued to dominate a truly special K-pop niche in 2021 with two fantastic mini-albums and an impressive special Japanese project. [Dystopia : Road to Utopia], the final entry in the Dystopia trilogy, is a proper farewell to an incredible set of songs, while [Summer Holiday] is an exciting, catchy collection of slightly-lighter fare than what the seven-piece is typically known for.


Their unique sound -- a blend of the most popular current music trends and guitar-driven rock -- means that they consistently sit just outside the general public's purview, but InSomnia and fans of something just a little bit different continue to remain blessed by the remarkable efforts of JiU, SuA, Siyeon, Handong, Yoohyeon, Dami, and Gahyeon.


Essential Songs

BEcause

Odd Eye


 

NiziU

Formed through Nizi Project in 2020, the hype around JYPE's first Japanese girl group fueled the success of several early singles last year, but it's their debut full-length album (which does repackage a handful of those tracks) that truly showcases the reason Mako, Rio, Maya, Riku, Ayaka, Mayuka, Rima, Miihi, and Nina were selected to form NiziU.


U is absolutely packed with unbelievably catchy, motivational anthems inspiring not only WithU but all listeners to be your best self. And if you wanna, wanna, wanna take a picture along the way, more power to you!


Essential Songs

Take a picture

Poppin' Shakin'


 

Brave Girls

You know what it is: B. Girls are back! In perhaps the most unlikely success story in K-pop history, the current iteration of Brave Girls reappeared to the public eye in 2021 on the unexpected and unplanned viral hype of their 2017 single, "Rollin'". Fueled by a massive re-appreciation and re-interest in the group, Minyoung, Yujeong, Eunji, and Yuna returned to the scene with Summer Queen, a truly perfect summer party mini-album.


While it took a full decade for Brave Girls to have their absolute best year ever, Fearless (and the rest of South Korea, especially their military that played a large part in their revival!) hopefully won't wait nearly as long for another stellar year from Brave Entertainment's hottest act.


Essential Songs

Chi Mat Ba Ram

Pool Party


 

LISA

Lalisa Manobal, more recognizably known as maknae LISA from BLACKPINK, delivered two hard-hitting bangers for her debut single album, the aptly titled LALISA. The long awaited solo project from the most popular member of the world's most popular girl group exceeded all conceivable expectations while also simultaneously raising the bar for all other solo debuts going forward.


The first soloist on this list, and only one to crack the coveted Top 10, LISA had an absolutely massive year. In addition to her own essential tracks from LALISA, the Thai singer and dancer joined DJ Snake (and Ozuna, and Megan Thee Stallion) for "SG", an unlikely pairing of intercontinental mega-talents on a sexy girl, summer-ready romp.


Essential Songs

MONEY

LALISA


 

STAYC

Sumin, Sieun, Isa, Seeun, Yoon, and J cement themselves as true Stars to a Young Culture in 2021 with two fantastic Black Eyed Pilesung-produced mini albums, STEREOTYPE and STAYDOM. The six-piece group are absolutely infectious on their seven latest songs, from the more laid-back b-sides like "COMPLEX" through their smash-hit title tracks like "ASAP".


Essential Songs

ASAP

STEREOTYPE


 

ROSÉ

The second BLACKPINK member to release a solo project, Roseanne Park used this long-awaited opportunity to showcase her impeccable vocals and slick songwriting. "On the Ground" is a true anthem of empowerment, and "Gone" is a beautiful ballad lamenting loss and heartbreak. R is the culmination of the New Zealand-born, Australia-raised, South Korea-located singer's life to date and hopefully just the first stage in a long, successful solo career.


Essential Songs

On the Ground

Gone


 

PURPLE KISS

Debuting early in 2021 allowed Park Ji-eun, Na Go-eun, Dosie, Ireh, Yuki, Chaein, and Swan to have an absolutely packed year. The seven-piece released two very unique mini albums (HIDE & SEEK and INTO VIOLET) as well as two special singles, with several music videos for all of these releases along the way. Perhaps the only thing more impressive than PURPLE KISS in 2021 is the potential of PURPLE KISS in 2022 and years to come!


Essential Songs

Zombie

Ponzona


 

PinkFantasy

2021 finds PinkFantasy fully embracing their metalcore influences, with the crushing "Poison" showcasing the incredible potential they've only hinted at in the past few years. B-side "Alice in Darkland"similarly showcases their potential in a different area: hard-hitting, instrumental EDM. The group is peerless in not only the fact that one of their members is always masked and marked with a completely hidden identity, but also in their seamless blending of genres.


Essential Songs

Poison

Alice in Darkland


 

IU

Lee Ji-eun continues to do things ever-so-differently in 2021, and the beautiful LILAC is testament to her ability to continuously remain interesting and exciting more than ten years into her career as one of K-pop's most celebrated solo artists. IU doesn't merely catch your attention; she demands it.


Essential Songs

LILAC

Celebrity


 

WJSN

The six-song UNNATURAL is one of the strongest WJSN mini-albums to date, high praise considering their extensive high-quality discography. Seola, Xuanyi, Bona, Exy, Soobin, Luda, Dawon, Eunseo, Cheng Xiao, Meiqi, Yeoreum, and Dayoung are in top form in 2021, polishing the sounds they've explored in the last several years without losing any of the intricate edge that makes the Cosmic Girls one of K-pop's most exciting acts.


Essential Songs

UNNATURAL

Last Dance


 

Weeekly

Lee Soo-jin, Shin Ji-yoon, Monday, Park So-eun, Lee Jae-hee, Jihan, and Zoa released more than a few incredible songs during their time as rookies in 2020, but it took the massive hit "After School" to (finally, rightfully) make Weeekly a household name. With two great mini-albums and a handful of meaningful soundtrack appearances in 2021, Weeekly firmly established themselves as one of the year's finest groups.


Essential Songs

After School

Wake Up


 

OH MY GIRL

Veterans Hyojung, Mimi, YooA, Seunghee, Jiho, Yubin, and Arin returned in 2021 with perhaps the year's catchiest song, "Dun Dun Dance", leaving most other cute-concept groups scrambling to play catch-up. The seven-piece also added a small handful of other solid songs to their extensive discography, including the special single, "Shark".


Essential Songs

Dun Dun Dance

Shark


 

IVE

Yujin, Gaeul, Rei, Wonyoung, Liz, and Leeseo debuted as IVE late in 2021 but quickly gained massive support and attention for their first release, ELEVEN. Of course, having members of IZ*ONE didn't hurt their hype, but the important thing about this six-piece is that they delivered an absolute smash their first time out the gate, prompting everyone to wonder (and get very excited for) what they have in store for 2022.


Essential Songs

ELEVEN

Take It


 

Rocket Punch

For the first time since their 2019 debut, Rocket Punch paused their colored Punch arc and surprised everyone with Ring Ring and it's titular single. An absolute ear-worm, "Ring Ring" streamlines the more brash Rocket Punch formula to deliver summer-ready synths and crisp, sugary vocals. It worked so well that Juri, Yeonhee, Suyun, Yunkyoung, Sohee, and Dahyun injected some of this sound into their Japanese debut, Bubble Up!, too!


Essential Songs

Ring Ring

Bubble Up!


 

JEON SOYEON

(G)I-DLE leader (and primary writer and composer) Jeon Soyeon steps into her own spotlight for WINDY, lead by the infectious title track and absolutely fire hip-hop closer, "Is this bad b****** number?". Fellow rappers BIBI and Lee Young Ji join her for the latter, with JEON SOYEON repeatedly asking, "Hello, is this bad bitch number?", and getting appropriately fierce verses in response.


Essential Songs

Is this bad b****** number?

BEAM BEAM


 

YUKIKA

2020 found Yukika Teramoto delivering city-pop perfection in the form of SOUL LADY, immediately leaving fans of the niche genre to wonder what she could possibly do next. For 2021, YUKIKA expands on her sound in experimental ways that don't quite exceed her debut effort but are certainly interesting, creative, and absolutely worth a listen. timeabout, anchors the efforts through a six-song mini-album, but a handful of collaborations and other singles round out yet another fantastic year for the Japanese singer.


Essential Songs

To the Light

Insomnia


 

woo!ah!

While woo!ah! earns a slot on the list of the year's best groups just for releasing possibly the greatest song of all time about mixing colors, Nana, Wooyeon, Sora, Lucy, and Minseo also put out a few other solid tracks to round out a great 2021.


Essential Songs

Purple

Pandora


 

(G)I-DLE

(G)I-DLE started 2021 as a fiery six-piece and released the impressive I burn but quickly suffered a major tragedy when one sixth of their team was improperly ousted by social outrage through evidence-free, source-less "allegations of bullying during grade school". Devastated by the unfair treatment of their bandmate and best friend, Miyeon, Minnie, Soyeon, Yuqi, and Shuhua did little else as unit -- though promised to continue on in the future as a quintet -- for the rest of the year. Still, songs from that early effort easily put (G)I-DLE on the list of the year's top K-pop acts.


Essential Songs

HWAA

MOON


 

WJSN The Black

It's so easy to put SeolA, Bona, EXY, and Eunseo on the list of the year's best groups. As the second official WJSN sub-unit, WJSN The Black issued My attitude midway through 2021 and left a mark on the rest of the year.


Essential Songs

Easy

Kiss Your Lips


 

Billlie

Billlie debuted in 2021 with a wildly experimental mini-album, the Billage of perception : chapter one. Blending traditional songs such as "Carol of the Bells" and "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" into powerfully-produced K-pop with non-traditional song structures, Billlie -- currently Moon Sua, Suhyeon, Haram, Tsuki, Sheon, Siyoon, Haruna -- mark themselves as one of the year's best artists and one of the most exciting to look forward to in 2022.


Essential Songs

RING X RING

flipp!ng a coin


 

JEON SOMI

The long-awaited solo debut album from Ennik Somi Douma finally arrived in the form of the eight-song XOXO. Lead by THEBLACKLABEL production and songwriting, the former I.O.I star shined bright in 2021 with her remarkable voice and attention-demanding persona.


Essential Songs

DUMB DUMB

XOXO


 

LOONA

The ever-evolving LOONA returned with [&] in 2021, the next phase in the constantly-evolving duodecet's discography. Following their signature formula of beginning with a hard-hitting intro song, HeeJin, HyunJin, HaSeul, YeoJin, ViVi, Kim Lip, JinSoul, Choerry, Yves, Chuu, Go Won, and Olivia Hye quickly join the fray on the title track, capturing your attention the entire way. The group also expanded their reach into Japan for the first time with HULA HOOP.


Essential Songs

PTT (Paint the Town)

HULA HOOP


 

Hi-L

Lee Jin, Soo Jung, Da-Kyung, Joo A, Ha Yun, and Ye Seul debuted in the summer of 2021 with the bright and bubbly Go High three-track mini-album, lead by the too, too infectious title track, "Too Too (22)".


Essential Songs

Too Too (22)

Beautiful Night


 

Cherry Bullet

Though some of Cherry Bullet spent the summer competing on Girls Planet 999 for a chance to join a brand new girl group, Haeyoon, Yuju, Bora, Jiwon, Remi, Chaerin and May did release the exciting five-song Cherry Rush early in 2021.


Essential Songs

Love So Sweet

Follow Me


 

bugAboo

Six-piece bugAboo hunt bugaboos on "bugAboo", the title track on bugAboo, while singing the infectious chorus: "BbugAboo, bugAboo, bugAboo, bugAboo, bugAboo!". It's one of the stranger K-pop debuts of 2021, but it works, and leaves us all wondering what Eunchae, Yoona, Rainie, Cyan, Choyeon, and Zin will do next!


Essential Songs

bugAboo

All Night Play


 

HOT ISSUE

Mayna, Nahyun, Hyeongshin, Dana, Yewon, Yebin, and Dain exploded into 2021 with the fierce ISSUE MAKER and equally interesting followup, ICONS. Loaded with powerful dances and soaring choruses, HOT ISSUE are one of the genre's most exciting and promising rookie groups.


Essential Songs

ICONS

GRATATA


 

SUNMI

K-pop all-star Lee Sun Mi continues to assert her dominance in 2021 with anthems like "You can't sit with us". While the former Wonder Girls singer spent much of the year mentoring the next generation of idols on GIRLS PLANET 999, she still found time to drop a handful of singles and even collaborated on "Shivers" with Ed Sheeran and Jessi.


Essential Songs

You can't sit with us

TAIL


 

HyunA

Kim Hyun-ah continued to shine in 2021 with two new exciting mini-albums, including the first formal collaboration project, HyunA&DAWN, with her long-time romantic partner, DAWN.


Essential Songs

I'm Not Cool

PING PONG


 

GWSN

Miya, Seokyoung, Seoryoung, Anne, Minju, Soso, and Lena added THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOON to their already-strong discography, with the fiery "Like It Hot" title track and five excellent b-sides.


Essential Songs

Like It Hot

Burn


 

cignature

Dear Diary Moment marks the return of cignature, their second mini-album and first as the the current team of Chaesol, Jee won, Seline, Chloe, Belle, Semi, and Do Hee. This time around, cignature sounds more composed and mature -- and it works -- but they never quite deliver the smashes they hinted at just a year earlier as rookies.


Essential Songs

My Diary

Boyfriend


 

DreamNote

DreamNote followed up the bright and bubbly Dream Wish with Dreams Alive in 2021, a darker effort that showcases another interesting side of Sumin, Eunjo, Lara, Miso, Youi, and Boni.


Essential Songs

GHOST

NIGHT


 

Weki Meki

Ji Su-yeon, Elly, Choi Yoo-jung, Kim Do-yeon, Sei, Lua, Rina, and Lucy deliver I AM ME. in 2021, a further refinement of their signature sound. While title track "Siesta" is immediately familiar, it is also perhaps a hint of where Weki Meki might be headed as the group continues to mature.


Essential Songs

Siesta

Who am I


 

PIXY

PIXY invite you to join their Fairy Forest through a series of very ambitious mini-albums this year. It feels cold and dark in their fantasy world, but Ella, Lola, Satbyeol, Dia, Sua, and Dajeong offer a warmth and light that makes PIXY's 2021 output an irresistible listen.


Essential Songs

Addicted

Wings


 

CHANMINA

Mina Otomonai isn't one to mince words, and the rapper's third full-length album is a brash reminder of that fact, with biting bars layered over equally icy beats. 2021 also finds CHANMINA hopping on a throat-cutting remix of Saweetie and Doja Cat's "Best Friend".


Essential Songs

BIJIN

Period



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