The K-Pop Girl Group And Solo Power Anthems You Need To Check Out

It may be Women’s History Month, but know the power of female artists in the music industry are celebrated every day. (If you’re a K-pop girl group enthusiast, you already know 2022 was a year for the girl groups.)

There are so many girl groups and soloists to name that have made a mark in the history of K-pop. Whether it’s through their record-breaking achievements and their chart-topping releases, or viral live performances, or just their overall comeback concepts, they all have left some sort of lasting impression on older and newer generation fans that want to dive into the spectacle of K-pop.

As times have changed, so has the tone of the music and lyrics. K-pop girl groups and soloists alike began to sing more about confidence and embracing self-love, while also building on themes of appreciating friendships and unbreakable bonds with fellow gal pals.

In celebration of International Women’s Day (March 8), here are 15 K-pop girl power anthems sung by girl groups and soloists.

Girls’ Generation – “Into The New World” (2007)

No girl group list is anything without the mention of Girls’ Generation. Sure, there are first-generation K-pop acts like S.E.S., Fin.KL, and more, but Girls’ Generation brought the power of girl groups and pioneered the Hallyu wave during their time, and even to the current day. Their debut song “Into The New World” is a song about love, but also getting through dark times together and setting sight on greater and better things.

Lyrical highlight: “I leave behind This world’s / Unending sadness / In the many unknowable paths / I follow a dim light / It’s something we’ll do together to the end / Into my new world.”

2NE1 – “I Am The Best” (2011)

There’s really not much to say as the title of the song speaks for itself. 2NE1’s chart-topping hit became an anthem the moment it came out. Hailing from the house of YG Entertainment, 2NE1’s in-your-face confidence viral sensation in the industry. 2NE1, alongside Girls’ Generation, JYP Entertainment’s Wonder Girls, Starship Entertainment’s Sistar, Pledis Entertainment’s After School, and DSP Media’s Kara were second-generation power players that dominated the K-pop scene in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

Lyrical highlight: “I refuse to be compared, I’m telling you the truth / If we’re talking about my value, I’m a billion dollar baby / People who know a thing or two, they all know it so ask them / Grab anyone and ask them who is the best / I am the best.”

miss A – “I Don’t Need A Man” (2012)

Compared to the first two, JYP Entertainment debuted miss A in 2010 as a second-gen “girl crush” group that oozes with confidence. It may not totally be in your face, but their name says it all — miss A stands for being the young women with an A-class skillset. Comprising of four members — Min, Fei, Jia, and Suzy — the quintet released this independent women anthem that blatantly tells it as it is: they don’t need a man.

Lyrical highlight: “I can live well without a man / So if you’re not confident / Don’t come to me / I don’t sell myself / Easily because / I don’t need a man, I don’t need a man”

EXID – “Ah Yeah” (2015)

If there’s one of the many things EXID is known for, it’s definitely how they are able to tell men off in their music. In this catchy earworm, the quintet — comprised of Solji, Hyerin, LE, Hani, Yeonghwa — sends a message to the male species to stop making uncomfortable advances and they are a force to be reckoned with.

Lyrical highlights: “You softly smile and keep pestering me / Treating me like another girl / Man, don’t do that / I don’t wanna answer those kinds of questions, no way.”

MAMAMOO – “Yes I Am” (2017)

You can argue this single is the MAMAMOO anthem as each member of this RBW quartet showcases the individual confidence behind them. With an intro that straight up tells the listener they’re a confident woman, “Yes I Am ” sets the tone on how MAMAMOO presents themselves in concepts with recurring themes of being a proud woman.

Lyrical highlights: “If I were to describe myself / I’m a confident woman.”

Sunmi – “Gashina” (2017)

The Wonder Girls member-turned-soloist takes a bolder approach for her second single after parting ways with her group and JYP Entertainment. While the single is described as a double-entendre — thorns on a rose and a statement bidding farewell to someone (hence the finger-gun choreography) — “Gashina” talks about experiencing a breakup where Sunmi shows her will to move on and tells her former lover that they are no longer relevant in her life.

Lyrical highlight: “You have withered, I have bloomed / And it’s over / Even if you wanna come back.”

BoA – “Woman” (2018)

Some may call her mother, some may call her icon. But one thing’s for sure, she’s a true woman. Debuting in her early teens as one of SM Entertainment’s most prolific artists, BoA has become a household name in the K-pop and J-pop scene who has bridged K-pop to the world. Many who have followed her since her 2001 debut have watched her bloom into a boss lady of the industry today, in which many artists admire and look up to. In her 2018 hit, BoA cemented her role in K-pop with “Woman” with a message that inner beauty is key and choreography that incorporated her walking upside down in the air.

Lyrical highlight: “No comparing / I shine just as I am, I’m beautiful enough / To be a woman.”

Jennie – “SOLO” (2018)

Still being played today, “SOLO” set the standard on what type of solo projects Blinks and K-pop fans can expect out of YG Entertainment’s third-gen powerhouse. Jennie became the first Blackpink member to release a solo project and, boy, did it become an instant earworm. “SOLO” touches on moving on from a breakup and embodying solo-ness and self-love all in one go, while encouraging ourselves to become our most inner queens.

Lyrical highlight: “Used to be your girl / Now I’m used to being the GOAT / You’re sittin’ on your feelings I’m sittin’ on my throne / I ain’t got no time for the troubles in your eyes / This time I’m only lookin’ at me, myself and I.”

TWICE – “Girls Like Us” (2019)

This FANCY YOU b-side penned by TWICE’s leader Jihyo carries an uplifting message to chase after your dreams. The bridge rapped by members Dahyun and Chaeyoung call out to the listener that they’re not alone when going through their struggles, and that girls like them are here to support.

Lyrical highlight: “Write anything you want, your sentence / Write it exactly the way you’ve dreamed it, 100% / The truth is it’s not a big deal / You are not alone, everyone has been on this path before / The happiness you’ll one day find on this road / As expected we’re headed for a distant place too, fly with us.”

ITZY – “WANNABE” (2020)

Besides the iconic shoulder dance that was popularized by this 2020 viral hit from ITZY, the song follows the recurring theme of confidence the JYP Entertainment quintet was always known for. Since their debut in 2019 with their single “DALLA DALLA,” “WANNABE” can be considered a sequel to the song as it carried the ongoing message of self-love but with a bass-bumping punch.

Lyrical highlight: “You’re nagging non-stop / But I’m my own boss / Gotta let me work it out for myself / Don’t need your guidance / I do what I wanna / Just leave me to own my own mistakes / And let me breathe, I need a little freedom / To make big girl decisions.”

LOONA – “So What?” (2020)

LOONA, who are known to be incredibly talented and synchronized, come together in their 2020 single to tell off those who may judge their appearance, attitude, and sound. As different cuts showcase a diverse group of girls located in different parts of the world, the song is an ode to standing up for yourself and firing up the confidence within to be yourself.

Lyrical highlight: “Being sharp, so what?! / Being cold, so what?! / Being fearless (Bad) / For what?! So what?!”

Hwasa – “Maria” (2020)

Hwasa has always been on the forefront of pushing a strong female agenda. In her 2022 hit single, the MAMAMOO member gets intimate by talking to herself by using her Roman Catholic name and encourages her to appreciate her inner beauty and be bolder with what she’s got.

Lyrical highlight: “Oh Maria, I’m saying this for you / Why are you trying so hard? You’re already beautiful.”

STAYC – “Stereotype” (2021)

You know the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, STAYC — which stands for “Star To A Young Culture” — makes their own version with their third single “Stereotype.” The quirky and synth-heavy pop song is a call to embrace your youth and the confidence within, while standing up for yourself and getting rid of any prejudice.

Lyrical highlight: “Don’t look with your tinted glasses on / I’m a different woman.”

XG – “Mascara” (2022)

Though considered to be X-Pop, as they are a girl group comprised of all Japanese members promoting in South Korea and Japanese all while releasing music in English, XG channels their inner Pussycat Dolls in this electro-pop R&B single. Their message is within the lyrics: no boy is worth crying over.

Lyrical highlight: “Are you gonna let him pay? (No) / Are you gonna let him stay? (No) / Ladies, what we gonna say? / I’ll never let another boy ruin my mascara.”

aespa – “Girls” (2022)

Following hits like “Savage” and “Next Level,” “Girls” continues aespa’s lore in SM Entertainment’s universe, KWANGYA. The song can arguably be aespa’s intro song as we learn more about what the group stands for. With lyrics that talk about fighting Black Mamba, coming into the world with æ (their avatar counterparts), and overpowering the darkness, Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning chanting “We them girls” makes this a powerful electro-pop anthem that can get anyone in the zone.

Lyrical highlight: Blooming in chaos (We them girls) / And confronting fear, that courage (Ah yeah) / Whenever we are together / We them girls.”

LE SSERAFIM – “No Celestial” (2022)

This b-side off ANTI-FRAGLE is a rock anthem that follows LE SSERAFIM’s group concept as a fearless and indestructible girl group of our generation. The quintet — composed of Chaewon, Sakura, Yunjin, Kazuha, and Eunchae — who are constantly known to be unapologetically themselves on cam and off, boldly sings about what they want to do and say. In addition, “No Celestial” “gives a clear sense” of who LE SSERAFIM is and their chemistry as a group, according to member Yunjin in an interview with WeVerse Magazine.

Lyrical highlight: “Just wanna live a real life / Listen to my honest voice / Ain’t no fear, at this moment, I’m now / Falling down to earth (Down to earth) / I’m no freakin’ angel / I’m no freakin’ goddess / I’m just being me.”

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.