After carefully releasing one single at a time for the past two years, Orange Caramel has finally released a full studio album called “Lipstick”! Although most would view them as just a trivial sub-unit of After School, I’d believe that the impression Orange Caramel emits is more vibrant and a lot stronger than the group as a whole. Due to their consistency as a stable trio and the trendy tunes they distribute, Orange Caramel can be said to be one of the most compelling sub groups there are. “Lipstick” proves this point with the musical color that radiates from the album’s thirteen tracks. Even though seven of the tracks were previous digital and single releases, all of the songs work adamantly together in order to express an inimitable story that only Orange Caramel can write.
“Bubble Bath” is the keenly written track that opens for the album. It is enveloped with electro synths and contains some of the most interesting beats in the album. The lyrics metaphorically describe the cleansing of their body as the medium for an emotional and spiritual purification of their past relationship. The long soak in the hot water, the foam freely flowing away down the drain, and the popping of the bubbles represent the eventual disappearance of all traces of the relationship that would have otherwise remained. Although this song isn’t particularly solid, I like the modish sound it has.
The title song “Lipstick” follows up with a Romanian/Latin Electro Pop arrangement. It’s more uppity, almost unsystematic but quite entertaining; the catchy factor is definitely there with this song. The lyrics cheekily describes the girls’ fain and flirtatious vibe towards a strikingly gorgeous man. They wish to leave a discreet but patent impression on the chosen man, similar to the misplaced lipstick smear that happened to land on his collar bone. Although this message is ballsy, it is also cleverly hidden behind the coyness that the members project. Most girls may have experienced this kind of feeling before. This is particularly the case when girls secretly watch someone they admire from afar or even when they watch their idols and biases on a computer screen. This song is wantonly sexy and full of mischievous feminine aura; it is absolutely one of their best promotional singles to date.
Initially different from the previous two songs, “Milkshake” starts with a mid tempo piano piece that would have refreshing change of musical scenery. The song could have been a lot sweeter and gentler at conveying the story of the song if this tempo was kept; however, the piano fades and rapidly changes into that same old hyper poppy synth that Orange Caramel is known for. Lyrically, the song compares the moment and the feeling of a first kiss to the consumption and taste of a milkshake. I guess this song is alright, it’s just that “Milkshake” is tiring to listen to after already hearing two other consecutive electro pop based songs.
The rest of the album consists of singles and tracks that have already been released in previous Orange Caramel mini albums. However two new solos were also added into the album. The first being Raina’s R&B and Pop influenced “Superwoman.” It spouts out misconceptions about how girls aren’t as strong as they make themselves seem to be. They aren’t superwomen who can continually take the BS that their boyfriends put them through. The second solo is Lizzy’s unique ballad, “Clara’s Dream.” The amalgamation between the traditional East Asian vocalization style and the European Waltz inspired composition is whimsical and almost fantasy like. This fascinating combination is actually my favorite track in the album because it’s very soothing.
Although “Lipstick” is Orange Caramel’s first full length album and mot tracks were recycled, it is still a full package and loaded with goodies. Most of the songs were energetically addicting while the ballads were soulful and heartfelt. I may even dare to say that it is the epitome of Orange Caramel’s distinct sound and flawlessly represents the lively and animated quality that they possess. However, note that I say this only because almost all of their songs are contained with “Lipstick.” When they come up with new songs, my epitomized view of this album my change but for now, it stands firm. It’s hard to believe that Orange Caramel has come so far since their debut in 2010 and I will further look forward to their future releases.
This is the MV for their title track “Lipstick”.
Review By: Samantha Her & Alona