There’s been a boom of one-off project girl groups in K-pop over the past year. It really started with the success of Produce 101 and Unnie’s Slam Dunk, but project groups have been around for a lot longer than that. Who remembers 4tomorrow and Dazzling Red? There’s also the fantastic Sunny Girls, as well as forgettable flops like Chamsonyeo.

There’s been a few more this year, and I have a feeling that the number could increase by the time 2017 comes to a close. If only Her Secret Weapon had done one of these – that would’ve been the greatest girl group since SNSD! Anyway, check out three of these must-know Frankensteinian girl groups below. 

Girls Next Door

Girls Next Door came together on Idol Drama Operation Team, a variety show about female idols creating a K-drama together. It doesn’t make much sense to have them pursue a music career when the entire concept of the show is about making a K-drama, but I can’t complain when the result is as good as “Deep Blue Eyes.”

Produced by B1A4’s Jinyoung, the instrumental opens with some typical trop-house synths before evolving into sophisticated, seductive electronica that almost sounds too mature for some of the members. Even the random chick from that ghastly MAMAMOO group can’t bring this bop down.

Red Queen

Red Queen are from The Idolmaster KR, which is one of the few K-dramas that I’ve been meaning to watch. The four-member group are made up of some real flops, like 9MUSES’ true ace Sojin, some nobody from Tahiti, After School’s Kaeun, and Produce 101’s Han Hyeri – so you know I’m already stanning them for their Z-list line-up alone.

Red Queen play the sexy villains on Idolmaster, so their music is bad, low budget electro-pop. Their main single, “Super Girl Magic,” could’ve been released by any irrelevant girl group between now and 2009, making it more of a guilty pleasure than anything actually resembling a good song. B-side “ACACIA” fits the same description, but it’s MUCH better. It has some gorgeous guitar chords in spots that I wish had played a more prominent role in the entire song, but it’s still pretty strong overall. 

Real Girls Project

Red Queen’s Idolmaster rivals are the pure and innocent Real Girls Project. With RGP being the heroes of the series, it’s no surprise that they’ve been given a much better song than the villainous Red Queen. Released last year, their single “Dream” is stock standard cutesy pop, but it’s a formula that I love and “Dream” does it justice. From the effervescent strings to the tinkly piano and soaring, sweet chorus, everything you’d expect happens and it’s all done to generic perfection. I’d even say “Dream” is much better than a lot of proper girl group singles we’ve heard this year from the likes of Oh My Girl and MOMOLAND.

“Dream” isn’t their only track. There’s “One For All,” which is a lot like “Dream” except bad, and “The Idolmaster” by RPG’s sub-unit, B-side. The latter is jittery, Japanese synth-pop with copious amounts of autotune – exactly the kind of mess I like. I really need to start watching this show!