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Origin Seoul, South Korea
Genres K-pop
Years active
Labels DSP Media
Korean name
Hangul 핑클
Revised Romanization Pingkeul
McCune–Reischauer P'ingk'ŭl

Fin.K.L (Korean: 핑클) was a South Korean pop girl group that debuted in 1998. Their name stands for Fin Killing Liberty, and was intended to mean that the group stood against "the oppression of all freedom" (fin means "end" in French). The group's name was selected by a poll of young people by the record company before the group's inception. This is the reason for the lack of clear meaning in Fin.K.L's English name, for the Korean name was selected first.

Fin.K.L was one of the most popular K-pop girl groups, selling for over 2.2 million albums along with S.E.S. Fin.K.L won numerous music awards. They had a comeback for a digital single in 2005.



The first member to be discovered for Fin.K.L was its lead singer, Ock Joo-hyun. She was discovered through a radio singing contest, which she won by singing Mariah Carey's "Hero". Ock told her friend Lee Jin about this group and encouraged her to join; Lee was selected after singing Eco's "Blessed Me" (Korean: 행복한 나를) for her audition. The next member to be selected was Sung Yuri, who was discovered while on a school field trip. As for the fourth member, Annie Lee (who formed Tashannie with Yoon Mi-rae) was accepted, but decided to depart after a few months. Lee Hyori, who was found while in a mall taking sticker pictures with friends, was brought into the group.

Debut with Blue Rain (1998)[edit]

Fin.K.L debuted in 1998 with its first album Blue Rain. The trend of late 1990s K-pop was to have groups sing cute, catchy music, as evidenced by the success of SM Entertainment groups S.E.S. and H.O.T. In contrast, Fin.K.L's initial strength was in R&B ballads led by Ock Joo-hyun's vocals; this was shown by their first single "Blue Rain". Fin.K.L's next hit "To My Boyfriend" (Korean: 내 남자친구에게) was a more typical pop song and followed popular conventions at the time. (Yuki Hsu, a Taiwanese singer, sang a remake version of "To My Boyfriend" not long after the song's success in South Korea.) They capped off their first album activities with a third single, "Sad Tears" (Korean: 루비), which was a ballad about a lost love, and giving that love up for the good of everyone involved. The group also created a music video for a fourth single (which was eventually just left as a video and not promoted).

White and S.P.E.C.I.A.L (1999)[edit]

Fin.K.L released a follow-up album on May 13, 1999, with White. Two hit songs from this album were "Everlasting Love" (Korean: 영원한 사랑) and "Pride (Korean: 자존심). Their second album had less of a focus on ballads, although the slow R&B song "Waiting for You" was performed occasionally. Also, Fin.K.L began limiting their music videos to one or two per album; a video was never made for "Waiting for You". Like their first, this album was very successful, selling almost 700,000 copies.[1]

The group released a "decimalized" or "half" album (which usually signifies either a limited or special release, such as a cover album or a themed record). Their first "half" album was released on November 24, 1999, and their two most famous songs from this album were "To My Prince" (Korean: 나의 왕자님께), a ballad, and "White" (Korean: 화이트), a seasonal pop song. S.P.E.C.I.A.L also contained a remake version of "Like an Indian Doll" (Korean: 인디언 인형처럼), a popular song sung by Na-mi (나미) in 1989. No music videos were made in support of the album's release. The album sold in excess of 340,000 copies.[2]

Because of its release date, Fin.K.L created a "winter" theme for their performances and dressed in wintry outfits to promote "White". To complete the theme, they often had fake snow falling during their "White" performances; however, this created a problem in that the snow was quite slippery, causing members and back-up dancers to slip and even occasionally fall. Due to the limited release of the album, Fin.K.L has a shorter promotion schedule. However, both of these 1999 albums helped Fin.K.L win a "대상" (Daesang, the Korean equivalent of a Grammy) at the end of the year.

Now and Melodies & Memories (2000–2001)[edit]

Fin.K.L's third album Now, released on October 6, 2000, emphasized the physical maturity of Fin.K.L members. Unlike the previous catchy tunes and cute outfits, Fin.K.L members were dressed in semi-formal attire for performances for the hit single "Now" (the album's title song). "Feel Your Love", their follow-up single, had their members in school uniforms that signified transformation to womanhood. Only "Now" was promoted with a music video and a busy performance schedule; the second single was relatively ignored. The album sold over 400,000 copies.[3]

The group released their second "half" album on April 13, 2001, 6 months after their last album. Melodies & Memories was a special album consisting of remakes of Korean hits from the 80s and 90s. Instead of targeting their main fanbase of teenage listeners, this album appealed to adults in their 20s and 30s by arousing nostalgia. Singles from this album include Lee Ye-rin's "Always Like This Moment" (Korean: 늘 지금처럼), and Hye Eun-yi's 1981 single "You Wouldn't Know" (Korean: 당신은 모르실 거야). Like their third album, Memories & Melodies only had one music video promoting the album (the one for "You Wouldn't Know"). However, much effort went into this video, as it recreated scenes from four popular movies for each of the members, including scenes from Pretty Woman. Sales at the end of 2001 totaled 259,259 copies.[4]

In 2000, they also recorded "True Love" for a South Korean drama, All About Eve.

Eternity (2002)[edit]

Their comeback studio album so far was released in the spring of 2002. The first single, "Forever" (Korean: 영원), was a depressing ballad about waiting forever for a lost love. This was accompanied by a video depicting four tragic stories mainly about the loss of innocence: Sung Yuri portrays a prostitute, Ock Joo-hyun a sick housewife, Lee a moody artist who eventually kills herself, and Lee Hyori as a boxer who loses a finger. This song became very popular, although it was not as heavily promoted as their other lead singles. Their second single, "Don't Go Away", was chosen by the fans via the group's website, because it was felt that Fin.K.L had not had an upbeat single for a while. However, this single was promoted for a long time. , the album sold 261,518 copies.[5]

Solo activities, "Fine Killing Liberty" and indefinite hiatus (2003–2006)[edit]

Fin.K.L decided to go their separate ways, although not officially breaking up. Lee Hyori and Ock Joo-hyun have since released solo albums, while Lee Jin and Sung Yuri have acted in dramas and hosted various shows. At the end of 2005, the group made a comeback and released a digital single titled Fine Killing Liberty that had 4 songs (including the title track) and a music video. However, due to lack of promotion (as the group did not perform on the various music shows), the single failed to chart. Instead of ignoring the single, though, they have since released a special Fin.K.L Forever set that had two DVDs (one with their music videos and the other with various performances) and a photobook that also had the Fine Killing Liberty single in CD form.

They have continued to work in the entertainment industry and stay in the public eye. Sung Yuri has continued acting, starting with the drama Bad Girls (Korean: 나쁜 여자들) and receiving positive attention for A Love for a Thousand Years (Korean: 천년지애). Sung Yuri also played the lead roles in the dramas First Love of a Royal Prince (Korean: 황태자의 첫사랑) and My Platoon Leader (Korean: 막상막하). She was also in the drama series, One Fine Day (Korean: 어느 멋진 날) and The Snow Queen (Korean: 눈의 여왕), she received high praise and won awards for both performances in 2006. Sung Yuri also starred as Heo Yi-nok in the drama Hong Gil-dong (Korean: 쾌도 홍길동) co-starring Kang Ji-hwan and won a Best Couple award. Lee Jin has also worked in television, hosting various shows and even joining a popular comedy show for a season. Both Sung Yuri and Lee Jin won "Best Actress" in their respective categories (drama and comedy) at the end-of-year awards in 2002. Lee Jin has also debuted in the South Korean film industry and has tried to distance herself from her Fin.K.L image.

After her significant weight loss, Ock Joo-hyun became very popular in 2004. Crediting it to hard exercise and yoga, she has now become a poster child for yoga in Korea, even launching her own yoga studio. Her third album came out in 2007. Lee Hyori, though, has been the standout solo member, releasing her first solo album in 2003 which catapulted her to the top of the charts and won her many advertising contracts. However, she encountered controversy on her second album's lead song "Get Ya!", because it had elements that were very similar to Britney Spears's "Do Somethin'". Although she moved on to her second single "Shall We Dance?", promotional activities were quickly stopped. Her 2007 single "Toc Toc Toc", released in March 2007, reached #1 on the Music Industry Association of South Korea's monthly charts.[6]

As of the fall of 2006, all the members of Fin.K.L have left DSP Entertainment and have signed on with different companies.[7] Although there is continued speculation on the status of the group, Fin.K.L has not officially broken up as a group.[8]

Fin.K.L reunited and performed together on December 19, 2008, during a concert by Lee Hyori.[9] In September 2010, Ock Joo-Hyun became the host of the KBS Cool FM music program Gayo Plaza (가요광장). Her program began airing on September 20, 2010, and her first guests were Lee Hyori, Lee Jin, and Sung Yuri as members of Fin.K.L.[10]

2017: Reuinion[edit]

In 2017, a selfie was taken of three of the four members at a resturaunt in America, indicating a possible comeback by the group, though it hasn't been confirmed.[11]


Album # Album information Track listing Peak chart positions Sales
1st Blue Rain
  1. "Blue Rain"
  2. "Scent of Love" (사랑의 향기)
  3. "Shadow"
  4. "Sad Tears" (루비)
  5. "Scribbling" (낙서)
  6. "To My Boyfriend" (내 남자친구에게)
  7. "Temptation" (유혹)
  8. "Wink" (윙크)
  9. "Happy Promise" (행복한 약속)
  10. "Go" (가)
  11. "Blue Day" (블루데이)
  • 400,000+
2nd White
  • Release date: May 13, 1999
  • Label: DSP Media
  • Publisher: Mnet Media
  • Formats: CD
  1. "Forever Love" (영원한 사랑)
  2. "Waiting for You"
  3. "The Beginning"
  4. "Fairytale in the Drawer" (서랍 속의 동화)
  5. "Oh! Boy"
  6. "I'm Right Now"
  7. "So We" (그래서 우린)
  8. "Pride" (자존심)
  9. "Still in Love"
  10. "Kiss Me? Alright!"
  11. "Glass" (유리)
  12. "My Prayer" (나의 기도)
  • KOR: 680,000+
2.5th S.P.E.C.I.A.L
  • Released date: November 26, 1999
  • Label: DSP Media
  • Publisher: Mnet Media
  • Formats: CD
  1. "To My Prince" (나의 왕자님께)
  2. "Time of Mask" (가면의 시간)
  3. "White" (화이트)
  4. "Blind Love"
  5. "Without You" (기도)
  6. "Rose" (로즈)
  7. "To My Friend" (숨겨진 그림자)
  8. "Just a Little Bit" (아주 잠시만)
  9. "Addiction" (중독)
  10. "Tonight"
  11. "Your Memories" (너의 기억)
  12. "Maybe"
  13. "Like an Indian Doll" (인디언 인형처럼)
  • KOR: 350,000+
3rd Now
  • Release date: October 6, 2000
  • Label: DSP Media
  • Publisher: Mnet Media
  • Formats: CD
  1. "Now"
  2. "Feel Your Love"
  3. "Eternal Love"
  4. "My Love"
  5. "Waiting for Something" (어떤 기다림)
  6. "One Fine Day"
  7. "Basics of Love" (연애의 기초)
  8. "First Kiss" (첫 키스)
  9. "Pure Love"
  10. "My Own Secrets" (나만의 비밀)
  11. "Sting..."
  12. "Please Remember Me" (날 기억해 줘요)
  13. "Dear Man"
  • KOR: 400,000+
3.5th Melodies & Memories
  • Release date: April 13, 2001
  • Label: DSP Media
  • Publisher: Mnet Media
  • Formats: CD
  1. "Behind You" (너의 뒤에서)
  2. "Always Like This Moment" (늘 지금처럼)
  3. "You Wouldn't Know" (당신은 모르실 거야)
  4. "Eyes" (눈동자)
  5. "Jealousy" (질투)
  6. "If You Give Your Heart for Me" (너의 마음을 내게 준다면)
  7. "One More Time" (한 번만 더)
  8. "Something Nostalgic" (어떤 그리움)
  9. "Scent in Time" (시간 속의 향기)
  10. "Looks" (보이네)
  11. "Love Is Like Fragile Glass" (사랑은 유리 같은 것)
  12. "Though You're Laughing Like a Doll" (그대는 인형처럼 웃고 있지만)
  • KOR: 300,000+
4th Eternity
  • Release date: March 8, 2002
  • Label: DSP Media
  • Publisher: Mnet Media
  • Formats: CD
  1. "Good Bye"
  2. "Forever" (영원)
  3. "Change"
  4. "If You're Like Me" (나와 같다면)
  5. "Never"
  6. "Happy"
  7. "Fortune" (For 春)
  8. "You're My Boy"
  9. "Bell"
  10. "So for Your Love"
  11. "I'm Inside of You" (그대 안의 나)
  12. "The Saddest Thing in the World" (세상에서 가장 슬픈 일)
  13. "Don't Go Away"
  14. "Rejection" (외면)
  15. "One More Time"
  • KOR: 250,000+
Digital single Fine Killing Liberty
  • Release date: October 26, 2005
  • Label: DSP Media
  • Publisher: Mnet Media
  • Formats: CD, Digital download
  1. "Butterfly"
  2. "Fin.K.L"
  3. "I'm Crazy About You"


Mnet Asian Music Awards[edit]

Year Category Recipient Result
1999 Best Group "Forever Love" (영원한 사랑)[12] Nominated
2000 Best Female Group "Now"[13][14] Won
Best Dance Performance Nominated
2001 Best Female Group "You Will Never Know" (당신은 모르실거야)[15] Nominated
2002 "Forever" (영원)[16] Nominated
2005 "Fin.K.L" (핑클)[17] Nominated

Music show awards[edit]

These are a collection of Fin.K.L's wins on South Korea's televised music shows. The Music Trend airs on SBS and Music Bank airs on KBS.

The Music Trend[edit]

Year Date Song
1998 September 6 "To My Boyfriend"
September 13
November 15 "Sad Tears"
November 22
1999 June 13 "Forever Love"
June 20
June 27
August 1 "Pride"
December 12 "To My Prince"
2000 November 12 "Now"
November 19
November 26
2001 May 13 "You Wouldn't Know"
May 27
2002 March 31 "Forever"
April 7
April 14

Music Bank[edit]

Year Date Song
1998 September 10 "To My Boyfriend"
September 24
1999 May 27 "Forever Love"
June 3
2000 November 23 "Now"
2001 May 31 "You'll Never Know"
June 7


External links[edit]