There’s only a limited number of concepts that a kpop group can try, and that inevitably means that groups are often quite similar in look and sound. But sometimes there emerges two groups that are so alike it just can’t be ignored. A disclaimer right from the start: I’m not in anyway saying it’s a bad thing that they are alike, and am in no way trying to insult any of the groups. And also, some of these I noticed myself, and some I’ve just heard a whole lot, but might not fully agree with.
B.I.G – BTS
As soon as B.I.G debuted with “Hello” they were immediately accused of copying BTS, and I still see complaints about that now and again. And yes, I can see why. They dress alike and they have a hip-hop type of sound. But besides that, I don’t see it. B.I.G don’t have the hard-hittingness that BTS possessed from the very start, and were almost more gimmicky. Not that I don’t like B.I.G, I do. But I don’t think they’re much like BTS.
BESTie – SISTAR
I got more into BESTie last year, and this is a find of my own that you might completely disagree with it. I’ve found that that great summery sound that SISTAR nailed in “Loving U”, “Touch My Body” and “I Swear”, BESTie also did really well in their songs “Thank U Very Much”, “Hot Baby” and “I Need You” from last year. I’m not saying that their sound is identical, because clearly it’s not, but I can definitely hear a similarity.
MADTOWN – GOT7
When MADTOWN debuted they were marketed as being the “free-spirited equivalent to GOT7” (Not that GOT7 are that stiff, just saying), so comparison came immediately. The two have the same number of members, an acrobatic theme and while it’s definitely not identical, I can hear a similarity between the two’s debut songs. I feel like MADTOWN’s management just wanted to spark this comparison to bring attention to their group though, and in general (especially with GOT7’s style changes since) I don’t find the two groups that alike. MADTOWN releasing another song would help though.
EvoL – 2NE1
EvoL were, as soon as they debuted, coined as 2NE1 copycats. And I couldn’t disagree more. Yes, their looks in their debut video for “We Are a Bit Different” were slightly 2NE1-esque (though I can’t seem to think of 2NE1 video that has outfits like that. Maybe they just look like things 2NE1 COULD wear, which makes the comparison ridiculous.) and they have strong female rappers. But that’s not enough for them to be copycats. EvoL have sadly not released a whole lot of music, but I’ve yet to hear anything from them that sounds like 2NE1.
BIGFLO – Block B
Do I think BIGFLO’s “Delilah” sounds like a Block B song? Yes. Does that bother me, since I’m a big BBC? No. It delights me! Block B to me have a very distinctive sound that I love, and that I can’t seem to find anywhere else in kpop at large. So when BIGFLO debuted with such a Block B-sounding song, I was ecstatic. Now let’s only hope that they don’t disband and that they keep their awesomeness… They’re more put-together than Block B (but who isn’t?) but there’s definitely still some fun to them, which I’m very happy about.
GFriend – Girls’ Generation
I’m not sure if it was intentional, but GFriend’s debut song “Glass Bead” was such a huge throwback to Girls’ Generation’s debut from almost 8 years ago. It’s hard, if not impossible, to not think about it. Being the “new Girls’ Generation” is what basically any Korean girl group wants, but this is making it a wee bit too obvious, don’t you think?
Also, what’s up with the Jessica lookalike? This is almost getting creepy.
A Pink – Girls’ Generation
While GFriend feel like a Girls’ Generation carbon copy, A Pink feel like successors. Their bubblegum sweet and innocent image is eerily similar to an early Girls’ Generation, and I’m convinced that they inhabit the same pastell world. They both got their big break with a super sweet and cute song that’s so catchy that it just won’t leave your mind. I don’t think A Pink are Girls’ Generation copies, and I don’t think it’s time for Girls’ Generation to give up their crown. But when it is time, I think A Pink might be the girls that will step up to grab it.
CNBLUE – FTISLAND
CNBLUE and FTISLAND are the two big names when it comes to idol bands, and while that fact alone makes them seem similar, they really aren’t that similar. For one, FTISLAND are a lot more into rock ballads, which CNBLUE embraced only recently with the release of “Can’t Stop”. I’ve also found it to be so that CNBLUE are very classically rock a lot of the time, while FTISLAND play around with the sound more, the Spanish sound of “I Wish” being an example of that. Yes, they’re both rock/pop-rock, but an FTISLAND song could not be a CNBLUE song, and vice versa.
SONAMOO – B.A.P
As brother-sister groups, SONAMOO and B.A.P are supposed to be similar. And in styling, they definitely are. But (sadly) they’re not actually that alike. I would have loved a girl group that hit as hard as B.A.P did in their debut days, but sadly, SONAMOO is not that group. For one, it’s really only the two rappers that have any kind of punch in their delivery. The singers of SONAMOO are actually quite sweet-sounding, which kind of took away the vibe for me. SONAMOO are also a lot less loyal to the “bad-ass” sound than B.A.P are/were. Their single is the only song on their debut album with any kind of punch, with the others being regularly sweet songs. I’m a little disappointed actually, I wanted more from them. So no, sadly, B.A.P and SONAMOO are not that alike in my eyes.
EXO – Super Junior
As EXO have gained such outstanding popularity, this isn’t a comparison that’s frequently made anymore, but as they were debuting I heard it a lot. The number of members alone made people think that this was meant to be the “new Super Junior”, the juniors that would take over as the older group faded away. This upset quite a large number of ELFs, but as Super Junior are still going very strong, such worries have now subsided.
Troublemaker – Nasty Nasty
Nasty Nasty were immediately criticized for being a threesome-version of Troublemaker, as is anything and anyone who tries to do anything sexy that is boy-girl these days. I’m a big fan of Troublemaker (my 4Minute bias and my B2ST bias together!) but it doesn’t bother me at all that Nasty Nasty have a quite similar concept. Kevin showed me a sexy side of him that I’ve never seen before, Kyungri is stunning as always, it was a good way to introduce 9MUSES’s new member Sojin, and the song is good. I see no problem whatsoever. Troublemaker do not own groping a member of the opposite sex on stage, and Nasty Nasty pulled it off.
SHINee – B2ST
I’m a huge shawol, and no one is better to me. But if I was asked to choose a worthy opponent that have even the slightest chance at beating them at their own game, that would be B2ST. I don’t think they’re very similar in sound, and they both have their strengths and weaknesses, but they have a similar appeal. They’re both groups with quite evenly talented members, with one or a couple of standouts, and they’re both very strong dance groups. But the thing that impresses me the most is that no matter how many groups try the same thing that they do (i.e most groups, since their styles are quite classically kpop) they just don’t do it as well. There’s an overwhelming sense of professionalism that radiates from SHINee as well as B2ST and that makes them similar to each other, and stand out from the pack.
Boyfriend – VIXX
VIXX are the kings of the creative concept, and this is one of the main reasons why I’m a fan of them. Whenever they announce a comeback these days I am just as exited to find out what the concept is as I am to hear the song. From aliens to Jekyll and Hyde to voodoo dolls to cyborgs, name it and VIXX have done it. Boyfriend on the other hand debuted as disturbingly cute noona-baiters, but have recently been trying more and more to move away from that image. (Thank God) In doing so they’ve also embraced a Vixx-like sense of concepts with their two latest being inspired by Captain Hook and vampires. (or is it werewolves?) This had lead to them being accused of copying VIXX, which I don’t think is fair. We should be grateful that someone else is embracing a more interesting take on concepts than sexy/cute, not complain about it!
Which groups do you find similar? Did I miss anyone? Let me know!