Here’s Why IVE, A Rising K-Pop Girl Group, Is Being Dubbed The “Wannabe Icons Of Generation MZers.”


IVE, a rising girl group known for being “complete” from the start and now hailed as the “want tobe icons of the Gen MZers,” is now at the forefront of the contemporary K-pop scene.


As the first group to form following the disbandment of IZ*ONE, IVE drew a lot of attention even before its debut. When the girls released their debut single “ELEVEN” in December 2021, it became an instant hit. For this number, the six members deliver a captivating and graceful performance over exotic melodies, and the accompanying music video highlights the girls’ beauty as well as the quality of their confident performance throughout, from choreography to facial expressions led by the two experienced members. The group’s first album sold 150,000 copies, the most of any act debuting in South Korea in 2021, and the single went on to win first place on 13 different music shows in the country. Following ITZY and aespa, IVE is now one of the leading acts of the so-called fourth generation girl groups.

IVE has proven that its hype is not fleeting. After recording long-running hits in South Korea and abroad, the group has released three singles — “ELEVEN,” “LOVE DIVE” (Apr. 2022), and “After LIKE” (Aug. 2022) — that have all become the group’s signature songs. All three songs are currently charting on the Billboard Japan Hot 100, with “After LIKE” at No. 23 (peak position: No. 13), “ELEVEN” at No. 71 (No. 16), and “LOVE DIVE” at No. 79 (No. 16). 15 of the 100 songs on the list are K-pop, including three each by BTS and TWICE, as well as two by BLACKPINK, so IVE’s achievement is impressive given that the group has yet to make their official debut in the country.


On Billboard U.S.A.’s Global 200 chart, “ELEVEN” charted for ten weeks after peaking at No. 68, “LOVE DIVE” charted for 26 weeks (No. 15), and “After LIKE” charted for five weeks (No. 20). The ongoing record for “LOVE DIVE” in particular is the longest streak for any K-pop song released this year.

While IVE’s music is diverse, the group’s dance is consistent in that it mostly features elegant choreography that emphasises the body’s curves. The upper body of the dancers snakes from the waist up, and their hand gestures frequently ripple from the arms to the fingertips. Even “After LIKE,” IVE’s cutest song to date, exudes the group’s trademark grace. What’s more, the height of all six members average 169 cm (5’6) — Wonyoung is the tallest at 173 cm (5’8) — so this aspect is another feature that makes their dancing stand out.


All the songs feature lyrics about girls with high self-esteem heading straight into love. “ELEVEN” depicts how a girl’s heart becomes saturated with fantastical colours when she falls in love. In “LOVE DIVE,” she encourages her love interest to make the first move, to “jump in without fear if you dare to love,” and in “After LOVE,” she honestly expresses her feelings: “I don’t just like you, what’s ‘After LIKE’?” The protagonists in every song have inner strength, but the way they struggle with love is endearing. IVE’s way of expressing a girl’s crush is to display a confidence from within, rather than making an appeal through strong words and sounds.

Thus, the sonic variety of the group’s songs, the consistent stance of the protagonists depicted in the lyrics, the girls’ outstanding dance performances and their absolute good looks generate synergy that is powering the group’s skyrocketing popularity.

This year alone, 16 K-pop girl groups have debuted by the end of September. IVE is considered a strong contender for Newcomer of the Year awards in its home country, despite being among a particularly strong lineup of newcomers. The girls will make their Japanese debut on the 19th with the Japanese version of “ELEVEN,” taking them one step closer to global recognition.

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