Genetically modified perfection: Orange Caramel’s new single is the K-pop ideal. Named “까탈레나(Catallena),” this rare treat comes in a fluffy, filter swept emulsion of ABBA-grade orchestration, ghazal folk samples flown in from a Pakistani wedding (!), runny ‘80s snare, Bollywood dyes, imitation Chic guitar, and a compression-lacquered coating of bass synth à la “Blue Monday.” The vocal frosting is perfectly piped atop it all, lyrics flirting with bi-curious urges and an exorcized other (the Caramel girls even sing a bit of Punjabi for the hook). Tastes odd on first bite, but perfect by the second — the addictive riddle that is the music video being what brings you back.
With Orange Caramel being a “sub-unit” (read: subsidiary) of its larger, parent pop group After School, “까탈레나(Catallena)” even comes with a taste of K-pop’s strangely corporate approach to not only the marketing of art but even the art itself. When the end product’s this absurdly good, just pay up and dig in.
• Orange Caramel: http://www.orangecaramel.co.kr