Attention: The Girl Group Renaissance Is Upon Us09/15/2021
If you were to unearth your middle-school-era iPod (Nano, obviously, in hot pink) and miraculously find the charging cord to turn it on, I bet I could tell ya what song was the star of every playlist: “Survivor.” Yes, the Destiny’s Child breakup bop that, even though you’d never been on an actual date, resonated deeply with you. Probably because it came from a girl group—and girl groups were *it* in the early aughts.
They were #FriendshipGoals before hashtags were a thing, and their music made us feel un-freaking-stoppable. At least, that is, until bands like Danity Kane, the Pussycat Dolls, and the Spice Girls before them ripped out our hearts when they decided to disband.
Luckily, though, trends get recycled every 20ish years (see scarves as tops, Bennifer), and music genres are no exception. South Korea brought the girl group back first, with acts like Blackpink, Twice, and Red Velvet. Now, American pop is catching up, but spoiler alert: This time around, the groups are way more reflective of your IRL friend circles than most of their OG counterparts ever were.
These current up-and-comers are giving us real, diverse representation in both race and sexual identity. We’ve evolved way past nonsense like making one white woman the “main girl” for “marketability” reasons—and damn, does it feel good to finally be seen.
So as we usher in a newer, cooler generation, here are the groups to watch. Get ready to break out whatever the 2021 version of your Nano is and blast their hits.
Meet Me at the Altar
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MEMBERS: Edith, Téa, and Ada
FOR LOVERS OF: Paramore, Flyleaf
ORIGIN STORY: The pop-punk trio met online in 2015 and worked on music remotely for three years (before that was even cool!). Now, they are signed to an alt music label and breaking barriers in a genre heavily dominated by white, cisgender men.
LISTEN TO THEM WHEN: You’re in the mood to relive your teen angst but not the generally slut-shame-y nature of a lot of music circa 2005.
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MEMBERS: Ahri, Akali, Evelynn, and Kai’Sa
FOR LOVERS OF: Blackpink, (G)I-dle
ORIGIN STORY: The makers of League of Legends took the coolest female characters from their video game and turned them into an entirely CGI pop group. Borrowing voices from Kim Petras, Jaira Burns, Madison Beer, and K-pop stars Soyeon and Miyeon, among others, the “girls” blend hard-hitting beats with addictive dashes of K-pop.
LISTEN TO THEM WHEN: You’re feeling yourself and ready to sweat through a workout or twerkout. Expect a 200 percent increase in self-confidence.
A post shared by Citizen Queen (@citizenqueen)
MEMBERS: Hannah, Kaedi, Nina, Cora, and Kaylah
FOR LOVERS OF: Fifth Harmony, Pentatonix
ORIGIN STORY: Ever seen Pitch Perfect? Citizen Queen LIVED it. After going through a cappella boot camps and auditions, the girls joined forces to create pop anthems and covers.
LISTEN TO THEM WHEN: You’re recovering from serious heartbreak (start with the tear-jerking ballad “Y”) and then when you need to remind yourself you really are that bitch (“Call Me Queen”).
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MEMBERS: Elana, Makhyli, Olivia, Lillian, and Queenie
FOR LOVERS OF: Spice Girls, the original Winx Club
ORIGIN STORY: All five members were scouted and then placed in a house to train together as singers and dancers. (Magic ensued, obvi.)
LISTEN TO THEM WHEN: You’re missing your best friends. (As in, the ones you may not have been able to see in person for a looong time.)
A post shared by June’s Diary (@junesdiary)
MEMBERS: Kristal, Ashly, Brienna, Gabrielle, and Shyann
FOR LOVERS OF: Destiny’s Child, Danity Kane
ORIGIN STORY: Brought together by former Destiny’s Child member Kelly Rowland, these five women make music about some of the most relatable topics: love, heartbreak, and the sometimes insufferable nature of men.
LISTEN TO THEM WHEN: That person you’re “talking to” starts getting on your nerves…but also when that same person starts making you feel on top of the world. You know how it is.
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