K-Town

A Look Back at (G)I-dle’s Career, From a Strong Debut to Recent Success of 'I Burn'

(G)I-DLE
Courtesy of Cube Entertainment

(G)I-DLE

It’s not always easy for K-pop artists to have their musical artistry or talent acknowledged; often, they must vigorously fight for that recognition during an unpredictable career.

With that in mind, (G)I-dle’s strategy has been brilliant. Instead of merely showcasing their competitiveness, they went out and proved themselves -- especially with their leader and producer Jeon So-yeon gaining recognition well before the group’s debut by appearing on several singing competition shows, which coincided with the outstanding ability of the other members. As a result, they melded naturally as a group upon their debut in May 2018.

That same month, their first release I Am hit No. 5 on Billboard's World Albums chart, and the title “Latata” peaked at No. 4 on World Digital Song Sales. This was followed by their single “Hann,” which was released three months later and scored a No. 2 peak on the same chart.

That momentum was maintained when members Soyeon and Miyeon joined the virtual League of Legends girl group, K/DA. Their song “Pop/Stars” reached the top of the World Digital Song Sales chart, and hit No. 30 in November 2018 on the all-genre Digital Song Sales chart, which helped speed up (G)I-dle’s global recognition.

In September 2020, the girls once again hit No. 1 with K/DA’s “Baddest” on World Digital Song Sales, and No. 28 on Digital Song Sales. By November 2020, they finally made it to the Billboard 200 at No. 176 with K/DA’s All Out, a notable result led by their long collaboration with League of Legends. The fact that not too many K-pop acts have made it to Billboard 200 made it a much more significant accomplishment for (G)I-dle, who joined BTS, Blackpink, SuperM, Twice and Loona in having entered the chart in 2020.

(G)I-dle continued to mark their name on a number of charts. Their second album I Made hit No. 5 on the World Albums chart, while its title “Senorita” peaked at No. 7 on World Digital Song Sales in March 2019. 

Other titles of theirs made their way to World Digital Song Sales, and the band’s name was also found on notable charts, including Emerging Artists and the Social 50. Their obvious success was due to the solid ability of performance, a strong musical foundation and a unique concept that set them apart from an inundation of K-pop bands. Although they initially invited some skepticism at first, each member’s unique personality and individuality are now seen as an asset, and many consider them to be a perfectly blended group of artists. 

With their latest album I Burn, released on Jan. 11, (G)I-dle seems to have their place carved in the K-pop scene. The set's “Hwaa” debuted at No. 17 on the Billboard K-Pop 100 (chart dated Jan. 23), and blasted to its No. 5 high the following week (matching 2019's "Lion" for the act's best rank yet). Besides “Hwaa,” the album's "Moon" also entered the chart, while the success of the new album contributed to a rise of the sextet's 2020 release “Dumdi Dumdi.”

The group’s fourth EP is comprised of a more vivid concept and features captivating storytelling, containing various emotions felt in the process of regaining happiness after separation. It’s the fourth of the “I” series, with visuals that perfectly complement the songs and overall concept. Members Soyeon, Minnie, and Yuqi participated in the composing and writing of the album, while established musicians such as Ahn Yeeun and Pop Time fine-tuned the work, contributing to the band’s musical maturity. 

One may confidently say that (G)I-dle is a group that can broaden the musical spectrum in K-pop. The group continues to live up to high hopes and expectations, and it took them a short time to come this far since their debut in 2018.

This article originally appeared on Billboard Korea.