The Wonder Girls (Korean: 원더걸스) were a Korean Pop Music group that debuted in 2007 under JYP Entertainment and disbanded in 2017. Along with Girls' Generation and KARA, they are frequently cited as responsible for paving the way for future girl groups, especially when it comes to international recognition.
They scored a smash hit in 2007 with "Tell Me", the lead single from their first album. Both the song and the dance became so popular in South Korea that the phenomenon was dubbed as the "Tell Me Virus", giving the group much acclaim and recognition even outside their home country.
After releasing successful follow up singles, particularly "Nobody", which became an international hit, their status as National Girl Group was cemented. Seeing potential in the overseas market, Park Jin Young (the CEO and producer of JYP Entertainment) decided to send them to the United States - while their venture there wasn't exactly a flop, they didn't enjoy the success that JYP expected for them. After a long absence, they returned to promoting in Korea while still occasionally having another go in the US.
Fans were taken by surprise with the announcement of leader Sunye's pregnancy and marriage in 2012. They went on hiatus and eventually Sohee decided not to resign with JYP, and her and Sunye's departures from the group were eventually confirmed to be permanent. After three years of absence, they came back; this time as an actual band, playing instruments onstage.
The group disbanded on January 26, 2017, with Yubin and Hyerim staying in JYP Entertainment while Yeeun and Sunmi decided to move companies. Their final single, "Draw Me", was released on February 10 of the same year, commemorating their 10 year anniversary as a group. As of 2018, HyunA, Yeeun, Sunmi, and Yubin are currently solo artists, while Sohee is still in the acting career. Hyerim decided to pursue a college degree. Sunye made a television appearance in January 2018, her first variety show appearance in five years since her withdrawal from the group.
As of January 2020, Yubin and Hyerim decided not to renew their contracts with JYP Entertainment.
- Yeeunnote (Park Yeeun, born May 26, 1989) - Second Leader, Main Vocalist, Keyboard, Rhythm Guitarist
- Yubin (Kim Yubin, born October 4, 1988) - Main Rapper, Vocalist, Drummer
- Sunminote (Lee Sunminote , born May 2, 1992) - Lead Vocalist, Bass Guitarist
- Hyerimnote (Woo Hyerimnote , born September 1, 1992) Vocalist, Rapper, Lead Guitarist
- The Wonder Years (2007)
- Wonder World (2011)
- Reboot (2015)
- The Wonder Years: Trilogy (2008)
- Wonder Party (2012)
- Irony (2007)
- So Hot (2008)
- Nobody (2008)
- Why So Lonely (2016)
- Draw Me (2017)
- Wonder Girls (2010)
- Wonder Best (2012)
- Nobody for Everybody (2012)
- 2 Different Tears (2010)
- Nobody (2009)
- The DJ Is Mine note (2012)
- Like Money note (2012)
I want no tropes, no tropes but you:
- Boastful Rap: "Back" is basically a rap song that has Yubin and Hyerim boasting to each other. Also fits the trope Old School Introductory Rap.
- Catchphrase: "JYP and the Wonder Girls... we're back!"
- Cloudcuckoolander: Sunmi. She has always been considered the weird member and even after coming back from her hiatus, she still behaves in a quite peculiar way.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: At the beginning of their "Why So Lonely" promotions, each member had a distinct hair color. Yeeun had pink hair, Yubin was blonde, Sunmi had dark brown, and Hyerim had black hair.
- Concept Album: Reboot is one of the rare K-pop albums that sticks with a theme throughout all of its songs. Everything about this era feels like the 80s, including aesthetics, choreography and even the instruments (Yeeun rocks a keytar in "I Feel You" performances).
- A Day in the Limelight: Sunmi returned to music with a solo career. During the group's hiatus, Yeeun got to release her own EP (under the name HA:TFELT) as well.
- Drunken Song: Requires no explanation. Although the video title says Tipsy, Sunmi & Hyerim are definitely way past that point.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Since they were no longer with their original line up when they hit it big with "Tell Me", it can be a little weird to see 4minute's HyunA in their debut single.
- Family Theme Naming: Wonder Girls, miss A, and TWICE have the same "s" sound, but only Wonder Girls and TWICE share the syllable "스" (miss A is written as 미쓰에이 in Korean).
- Fanservice: The music video for "I Feel You" is full of it, including scenes with Yeeun dragging an ice cube through her body, loads of water being thrown at them while they're in leotards and the infamous opening transition with Sunmi unzipping her shorts.
- Four-Girl Ensemble: Established this after they started promoting as a four member band. Sunmi is the sweet one, Yubin is the tomboyish one, Yeeun is the pretty one and Hyerim is the nurturing one.
- Friendly Rivalry: At their prime they were considered Girls' Generation rivals (and they still compete, due to the nature of the industry), but it's clear from their interactions that they are good friends.
- Genki Girl: Sunmi embodies this trope in their Weekly Idol appearance. She literally can't stand still for more than a few seconds and yells randomly when she gets the dance moves right. Also, in "I Feel You" promotions she's the most talkative and energetic in interviews and variety shows.
- Genre Throwback/Retraux: Their songs and music videos are evident throwbacks to past eras. Sometimes Genre Throwback is interspersed with genuine Retraux, such as the "I Feel You" opening shot of Sunmi being rendered in grainy poor quality, as if the clip were actually from the '80s. High-quality footage then follows.
- Gratuitous English: Yubin is often left in charge of randomly-inserted English in their otherwise Korean songs.
- He's Back!: Sunmi left in 2010 due to homesickness (they were promoting nonstop in the US) and to pursue an academic career. After a solo venture in 2012 and 2013, she finally joined the remaining girls for a group comeback in 2015 as their bassist.
- Hidden Track: Not exactly hidden, but the physical release of Reboot has an extra track that consists in a conversation between the girls and ex-members Sunye and Sohee.
- Hotter and Sexier: Their comeback as a band allowed them to show a more mature image. The lead single "I Feel You" has a sexy and sultry feel, which is replicated by the music video and performances. Some of the lyrics in Reboot can be seen as outright sexual, the best example being "One Black Night".
- Idiosyncratic Album Theming: With the exception of 2 Different Tears and So Hot, all of their Korean albums and EPs pre-Reboot have "Wonder" in the title.
- Jack of All Trades: Yubin and Hyerim are the main rappers, but they also sing well. Yeeun can both sing and rap. All members are also capable of songwriting.
- Lead Bassist: Sunmi is very popular amongst fans and is also the lead vocalist of the group.
- Looped Lyrics:
- Tell me, tell me, t-t-t-t-t-tell me...
- I want nobody, nobody, but you...
- Lyrical Cold Open: Used to great effect in album opener "Baby Don't Play" which is opened by Yeeun's singing.
- Never Trust a Trailer:
- The teaser for their second album featured the song "Me, In", which has a rockish sound and is notably heavier than their usual stuff. The actual lead single was "Be My Baby", a safe retropop song.
- Their individual instrument teasers for the band comeback, which were very much rock-like for the most part, weren't an indicative at all of the retro 80s sound of the album.
- Odd Name Out: Wonder Girls doesn't follow JYP's numbering system, unless you think of the "won" representing the number one.
- Official Couple: Jinwoon and Yenny dated for approximately four years before breaking up in 2017.
- One-Steve Limit: Sunye and Sunmi are similar names and many people would get them mixed up during the early days.
- Only One Name: Unlike the other members who have two-character names (which most Koreans have), Sunmi's original name was Sun Mi (with Sun as her last name and Mi as her first name). She later changed her name to "Lee Sunmi" (Lee being her stepfather's surname), using "Sunmi" as her first name.
- Out-of-Genre Experience:
- Almost all of Reboot is 80s-sounding energetic dance-pop, and then randomly "Back" is an old-school rap song, and then back to pop for the rest of the album.
- On Wonder World the song "Act Cool" is fairly bizarre and sounds nothing like the rest of the album, being an experimental rap song that sounds electronic and futuristic.
- Pep-Talk Song: "Girls Girls" is basically a song encouraging girls to be themselves.This song is for the girls all around the worldGirls, I know what you got deep insideAnd I just wanna say somethingSo listen.
- Rearrange the Song: They made band versions for "Tell Me" and "Nobody", so they could play them live with their instruments.
- Shout-Out: Sohee stars as Wonder Woman in the music video for "Tell Me", even down to doing her trademark spin!
- Signature Style: Most, if not all, of their songs are retro-styled, primarily containing elements from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
- Singer Name Drop: In some of their title tracks. The page quote is said at the beginning of "Be My Baby" and "I Feel You".
- Singer-Songwriter: Yubin has been writing her own raps since 2010 and Yeeun wrote some of their most well received songs, in addition to her solo EP. All of the members were involved with songwriting in Reboot.
- Spell My Name With An S:
- Sunmi and Sunye can be spelled as "Seonye" and "Seonmi". In particular, Sunye's name is usually spelled as "Sunye", but she spells it as "Seonye" in her Twitter name.
- Yubin and Yoobin are both acceptable romanizations, but the former is the one used for all of their works, and Yubin also uses it in her social media usernames (@W Gyubin and @hi_yubin).
- Yeeun's name sometimes gets misspelled as "Yeun", since there are two "e"s in her name when spelled in English. The Reboot album writes her name as "YE EUN" with a space in the middle (probably to emphasize that they are two syllables and not a typo).
- Hyerim and Hyelim are pretty much the same thing. The Reboot album spells her name as "HYE RIM", and she uses "Hyerim" when spelling her name. But for her English name, it's always spelled as "Lim". Her Twitter name is written as "Lim ♥ Hyerim Woo", with her handle being @WG Lim.
- Stage Names: In the USA, Sunye, Yeeun, Sunmi and Hyerim were known by Sun, Yenny, Mimi and Lim respectively.
- Translated Cover Version: A few of their singles have English, Chinese and Japanese versions, such as "Nobody" and "2 Different Tears".
- Unperson: Surprisingly averted (considering the relationship between JYP Entertainment and former 2PM leader Jay Park). Hyuna remains on good terms with the members and keeps in touch, while Sohee and Sunye regularly visit their dorm to hang out.
- Woman Scorned: The music video for "Why So Lonely" involves all 4 members realizing they are dating the same man (played by a mannequin looking remarkably similar to Ken). The Wonder Girls then kidnap him together and punish the poor fellow in… creative ways.