Sometimes, rookie groups are said to be less skilled or talented compared to established groups, often hearing criticism or discouraging words that would make a normal person give up on their passion. K-Pop Idols, however, must show that it does not affect them and that they will still give it their best, despite all odds.
Our definition of a rookie group:
A rookie group is K-Pop group that recently made their debut within a period of 3 years. However, groups that are considerably less popular and have little musical content may still be considered rookies despite the amount of time they have spent in the industry.
These five rookie groups are not here to play and are ready to show the world who they are.
3YE, as the name suggests, is a girl group consisting of three members. They made their debut in May this year under GH Entertainment, with the song “DMT (Do Ma Thang).”
On the surface they might seem like “just another girl crush group,” and the styling definitely plays a part, but besides that their songs so far have been really experimental and unique, reaching from an traditional Asian influenced sound, hip-hop, clear vocals, and instrumental drops delving into Big Room territory.
Their most recent comeback, and only their the second one, is “OOMM (Out Of My Mind).”
This track plays with the same vibe, but this time with a bigger focus on the hip-hop aspect as well as the erratic anti-drop, while still keeping the same essence.
3YE also exceeds expectations outside of music: their dancing skills are top notch. They utilize smooth movements combined with more hard-hitting ones which flow well together and are quite pleasing to look at.
When masked member Daewang went viral for expressing that she will be unmasked once they hit #1 on Billboard Charts, PinkFantasy drew in many eyes and kept them on themselves. So far they have not hit that goal yet, but their future seems bright.
Debuting with “Iriwa” in October last year under Mydoll Entertainment, the nine-member group (with Yubeen currently on hiatus for panic disorder) did not appear on my radar at first, until their debut track came up in my recommendations.
I was surprised by the vocals and visuals. While overall being more on the creepy side, it somehow is enchanting. It is odd to see a group with a masked member, but somehow it works really well; the masked member stands out simply because of it, like a puppetry master of sorts, mostly due to being in the center-back of the choreographies. You can tell that leads to many theories for their overall concept.
The music itself is a wild ride, from bubblegum pop to EDM dance breaks and even some sultry but strong vocals. It seems all over the place at first but is well put together.
Their second comeback “Fantasy” takes the whole group in another direction:
The complete opposite of their debut, “Fantasy” puts a spotlight on the rock genre, playing around with strings, EDM elements, and a ballad-like bridge with amazing vocals.
SPECTRUM had quite a difficult first year. Initially debuting as a seven-member group under WYNN Entertainment in May 2018, they were reduced to a six-piece after the sudden and unexpected passing of rapper Dongyoon, age 20, a mere two months after their debut. Their song “Dear My” is dedicated in his honor.
Their debut song “Light It Up” was a surprise.
The vocals sound mature, while the rapping and dancing are more on the cheerful side. Everyone in this group is so well balanced and fits in nicely. The song itself is just as balanced. Mixing a laid back tone during the verses, with a darker pre-chorus and an exhilarating chorus.
Their most recent and third comeback “After Party” was an unexpected change:
Having released 2 darker songs before, Spectrum surprised with “After Party,” which is much happier and fresh, even cute at times, dipping into the tropical genre with bright synths and remaining jaunty throughout, which is easily seen in their choreography as well.
TREI debuted in February this year under Banana Culture with their song “Gravity.” As they had released some songs pre-debut and were active on Soundcloud, it was no surprise that their debut song would be this impressive.
The song has a strong autumn feeling. While it is upbeat with a strong percussion, the vocal melody is toned down and light. Even the higher notes are not pushed or belted to keep the vocal melody as easy-sounding as it does. The main vocalist’s rougher timbre is a nice change to the more nasally counterparts.
TREI has not had a comeback yet, so for the time being, enjoy a special video for one of the album’s b-sides.
DreamNote has had a rough time until now, with busy pre-debut activities as well as a debut showcase with nine members. In the end, they only debuted with eight and recently lost two more due to personal reasons; this had put quite a strain on the members.
They debuted with the eponymous “Dream Note” in November of last year, under iMe Korea.
This song is not what I usually like, but somehow they managed to draw me in to enjoy this cute and fast-paced song. I have seen their pre-debut performances which were mostly handled in a girl crush concept and I fell in love with them. Expecting something totally different at first but loving what they ended up debuting with.
The song attacks you with such high energy and brightness that it is hard not to get contaminated by their smiles and vocals.
Their 1st comeback “Hakuna Matata” built even more upon “Dream Note.”
“Hakuna Matata” is even cuter and brisk that you would think one would go crazy after listening to such a sudden barrage. Playing with stronger synths as their main melody and intensified with some more magical sparkling sounds fits the concept of “I’m a little witch.”
As you can see, DreamNote were still an eight-member group at this time. The two youngest members Hanbyeol and Habin decided it would be best to leave the group: Hanbyeol wanted to focus on herself, her family, and school, while Habin, who injured her ankle at the beginning of Hakuna Matata promotions, still has not recovered well enough to continue.
These are five promising rookies, each bringing something different to the table for a variety of people to like. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for 3YE, PinkFantasy, SPECTRUM, TREI, and DreamNote.