Fame is fleeting. These groups were household names ten years ago but many people don’t seem to remember their legacy and the impact on the industry. It seems that unless a group had incredible longevity or a massive viral hit, they fade away with time.
When fans talk about the K-Pop landscape of a decade ago, they pitch it as a battle between Girl’s Generation and Wonder Girls for supremacy with 2NE1 and f(x) also thrown in the mix. Many people forget about KARA who were almost as successful as the two girl group giants at the time. Many of their songs like “Honey” and “Step” were huge hits.
They were also a girl group who pioneered Korean groups entering the Japanese market, they had more initial success abroad than many others who were trying the same venture at the time. Their song “Mister” was a massive hit in Japan.
KARA’s last Korean album was released in 2013 and slowly their contracts expired with DSP Media, eventually confirming their disbandment.
SS501 was a massive boy group a decade ago but their fame seems to have entirely faded. Many fans don’t even recognise the name.
The five-member boy group debuted in 2005 and throughout their career, they released many critically acclaimed songs such as “Lova Ya” which was released in 2010, the year they went inactive.
It’s unlikely that we’ll see SS501 returning but they have left behind a fine legacy and discography.
MBLAQ (pronounced M.B.L.A.Q) was a group formed by popular Korean musician and entertainer Rain in 2009. They came in hot and were an instant force in the industry. Their presence has been gradually waning almost ever since their debut but during their first few years they were incredibly popular. Their debut song was beloved by many when it was released:
Secret was a 4-member girl group formed by TS Entertainment in 2009. Many fans won’t remember this girl group who at times competed with the top groups in K-Pop. They only recently disbanded officially.
They were once known as “basement idols” because of the poor conditions they lived in at the time of their debut. Thankfully they were able to move into better living arrangements due to their rapid success. The group experienced a messy break-up with TS Entertainment and after some protracted legal battles over not receiving payments they officially disbanded.
Their song “Shy Boy” reached number one on the Korean charts despite the stiff competition they faced at the time.
SeeYa was a three-member girl group formed by Mnet Media in 2006. One of their members, Nam Gyuri, left to pursue a solo career and was replaced by new member Lee Soomi in 2009. Gyuri returned for SeeYa’s final promotions in 2010 which is when the above picture was taken.
They are best known for their breakout song “Love Greeting” which released in 2007. SeeYa, much like Secret, was a group that consistently achieved high chart numbers and had sustainable popularity before they eventually disbanded in 2010.
6. SG Wannabe
SG Wannabe were labelmates of SeeYa. They were formed in 2004 by Mnet Media and interestingly initially declined to appear on music shows and make public appearances because they believed their music spoke for itself.
One of their original members, Chae Dong Ha, unfortunately committed suicide in 2011 after a long battle with depression. SG Wannabe is a group that persists to this day, with their most recent release being in late 2016 which was highly acclaimed.
They were and still are very talented vocalists that seem to be little-known among newer fans. “Arirang” from the best selling Korean album of 2007, Sentimental Chord, has SG Wannabe’s soothing vocals accompanied by traditional Korean instruments which combines to create a critically acclaimed piece of work.