Kpop Rookies of 2016

Okay, I know I haven’t blogged regularly since… ehm… wow… July? Damn. But did you really think that would mean I would miss to do my end of the year posts? I would never.

Also, this post is written on the 27th of December, so on the off-chance that some awesome rookie group debuted later in the year than that, they will not be included here.

On this list I will comment on the 13 rookie groups that managed to get at least one of their songs added to my music library, and one more group that I just need to talk about. Let’s begin.

14.The East Light

The chance of you guys not having heard of these guys is probably through the roof. They debuted with this song (and a band/soft-rock concept) in early November and have only reached about 30 000 views on youtube so far… I think it’s a fun and catchy song, and its slight cheesiness makes me want to sing along. I hope this group makes it big on the indie scene or something, and keeps pumping out this kind of music indefinitely.

13. MATILDA

MATILDA debuted in May with this song, which I heard but didn’t fall for at all. Frankly I didn’t like it. Then in July they released their follow-up single called “Summer Again” which I liked slightly more, but which still didn’t really get me going… But in mid-October they gave it another go, and released the horribly awkwardly named song “You Bad! Don’t Make Me Cry”, and that is a song that it’s hard to be neutral about. I decided to embrace it, for all its strangeness. I couldn’t say no to that beat.

12. Unnies

I realize that this is not a permanent group, and honestly I wasn’t even that fond of the song… But honestly, as a concept this is everything I could have ever wanted. Girl power for days!

11. Imfact

Imfact peaked my interest quite a bit with their January debut, and I was even quite close to committing myself to them and learning their names. But then it took almost ten months before they came back with “Feel So Good” and they had by then fallen out of the minds and hearts of both me, and seemingly, the kpop community at large. They executed that (very different) concept well though, so I still think there’s potential for Imfact to make it. They just have to stay consistently on our radars.

10. Gugudan

I checked out Gugudan when they made their June debut mainly because of how much I fell in love with Sejeong over the course of Produce 101, pretty much like everyone else. And while I still think she should be something slightly more than a literal bubble princess, this song is sweet and catchy and it did grow on me enough for me to add it to my music library.

9. VICTON

VICTON’s November debut was perfect in its simplicity. The song is stripped down and gloriously catchy. This song combined with their other promotional song “What Time Is it Now?” (which sadly doesn’t seem to have an official music video) means that I am more than ready to check out whatever they do after this.

8. SF9

SF9’s October debut was great, really great. This song is good fun, and was a staple on my “Best of Kpop Right Now” playlist for a good couple of months. Sadly their December follow-up “So Beautiful” was nowhere near the glory of the first song, but I’m hoping that’s just a Christmas whatever-the-opposite-of-miracle-is.

7. Vromance

When Vromance debuted with “She” (also known as “Girl Friend”) in July it gave me hope after what I had seen as an extremely weak first half of the year for rookies. This song was totally my jam for the second half of this summer, and these guys are for sure showing some potential that could mean that they are after all worthy of being MAMAMOO’s brother group, which is not a simple position to hold.

6. ASTRO

ASTRO debuted in February, and injected a huge amount of sweetness into the dark, dark winter. They are as cute as kittens dressed in fluffy suits made out of marshmallows and whipped cream. They promoted another two songs during this year as well: “Breathless” (released in July) and “Confession” (released in November), staying relevant and keeping up their already trademark style. Personally I’ve only fallen for the second of their three singles, probably because I’m more tolerant of sugary sweetness in summer, but I can see how ASTRO are turning into a constant presence on the kpop scene.

5. KNK

KNK made their debut in March with a song that was honestly hard to not get into. It was just cool. KNK then came back in June with “Back Again”, which although it didn’t blow my mind as much as the first, was still a stable effort. Then in November they returned once more with another good song called “U”. KNK have worked hard this year, and I definitely think people’s eyes and ears should be turning their way.

4. PENTAGON

PENTAGON, who made their debut this October, is the latest group from brand name label Cube, and given this fact you can expect a certain level of sophistication. PENTAGON have a lot to give, and they are giving it. I expect to see them kill it in the future. December follow-up “Can You Feel It” was also on point.

3. NCT (U/127/DREAM)

NCT U with their April debut were first out. I didn’t understand “The 7th Sense” the first few times I heard it, but once I figured it out I grew to love it. “Without You” is not as confusing nor as memorable, but a solid song. So far NCT U is definitely my favorite NCT unit.

NCT 127 made their July debut with the atrocious song “Fire Truck”. Like honestly… I’m not sure if I’ve ever hated a kpop song this much. It’s just noise. Later that month they released the STATION song “Taste the Feeling” which was alright, but not nearly enough to make me forget what came before.

NCT DREAM were last out, making their debut in August. And since this song doesn’t hurt my brain and entire being, I suppose they could be my second favorite unit. The song is alright, but not my style. Catchy though. I’m just really not interested in stanning a group that’s aiming for this prepubescent style. I’m almost 20. I’m way too old for this not to feel creepy. Talented kids, for sure, but I won’t have much, if anything, to do with them.

2. BLACKPINK

BLACKPINK are killing the game, don’t try to deny it. Their August debut was a knockout. This was the year that I lost my favorite girl group since so many years back, 2NE1, and while I would never make a rookie group my favorite girl group just like that (you gotta earn that shit) it still feels nice to have just a little bit of my girls still with me, still alive within their successors. All four songs BLACKPINK released in 2016 were awesome, but if I was gonna rank them, I would say “Whistle” was the best; then “Stay” from their November comeback; then “Boombayah”; and finally “Playing With Fire”, which I like, but don’t quite love. (Oh and Jennie is finally here!! I’ve waited for that girl for literally years.)

1.I.O.I

I have to say that BLACKPINK for sure did put out better songs than I.O.I this year, but from having watched Produce 101 with great passion I’ve just grown way too attached to the whole existence of I.O.I. Their official May debut with “Dream Girls” was kinda sorta alright, the August comeback with “Whatta Man (Good Man)” was awesome and the final October comeback with “Very Very Very” was the glorious love baby of TWICE and Red Velvet that we didn’t know we desperately needed.

All the best of luck in your future endeavors my lovely girls. I hope at least some of you end up in awesome groups that I can stan. Hard.


There we go! That’s my past thoughts on this year’s rookies. What do you agree with? What are you mad at me for saying? Are you horribly wrong and think that “Fire Truck” is a good song…?

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5 thoughts on “Kpop Rookies of 2016

  1. Alvaaaa! I missed you! 😦 So glad you finally posted something. 😃

    100% agree that Fire Truck is just… not good. Is it just me or S.M. has forgotten that NCT U even exists? They’re just promoting 127 now! 😑 I miss Ten. 😣

    I know you’re really busy, but will you post about your top 10 favourite K-pop songs of 2016? Pretty please? I’d love to read that. 😀 But it’s alright if you can’t! 🙏

    1. Oh really? Thanks, that means quite a bit too me actually 😁
      Yeah, kinda seems like that… And I’m really not motivated to check out 127 stuff, since I totally hated their debut haha. I’m a bit too obsessed with Taeyong, who is in both units, so I’m good on that aspect at least.
      Oh for sure, I have two posts on the best songs of 2016 written and queued!

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