Lipstick is the first album released by After School sub-unit Orange Caramel. The title track was used as the promotional track and the album includes several of their previously released songs and five new ones.
Released: September 12, 2012
1. Bubble Bath
2. Milkshake (밀크쉐이크)
3. Lipstick (립스틱) [MV]
4. A~ing♡ (아잉♡) [MV]
5. Magic Girl (마법소녀) [MV]
6. Not Yet… (아직…)
8. One Love
9. Shanghai Romance (샹하이 로맨스(上海之戀)) [MV]
10. Clara’s Dream (클라라의 꿈)
11. Close Your Eyes (눈을 감아)
12. Can’t Delay Love (사랑을 미룰 순 없나요)
13. Bangkok City (2012 New Recording) [MV]
Let me just get all the older songs out of the way. On this album, 8 of the 13 songs were previously released on their singles and mini albums, although one of them is a new recording. The promotional songs, Magic Girl, A~ing♡, Shanghai Romance and even the new recording of Bangkok City (which isn’t much different from the original) are still as catchy as ever, all quality tracks and really sum up what the image of Orange Caramel is all about.
The other 4 older tracks feature a variety of sounds ranging from dance / pop to ballads. Three of these tracks (Not Yet…, Close Your Eyes, Can’t Delay Love) are actually ballads and solo tracks, with the first and last being Raina’s and the middle being Nana’s. Definitely Raina owns with hers most in part due to her voice, which I think is what makes Nana’s a bit weak. The last of the older tracks is One Love, which is a catchy dance / pop song. It has certainly grown on me since I heard it on their second mini, but it’s still missing something in the music.
From here, we hit the five new songs. Bubble Bath opens the album and we are given a funky electronic pop song with a heavy beat. Think J-Pop group Perfume as there is also a heavy amount of autotune. What I like most about this song is that the chorus isn’t so in your face, but rather tones it down compared to the verses which seems to really work here. It’s just insanely catchy despite not having any obvious hooks.
Milkshake is crazy. It continues the upbeat pop sound of the last song but with a stronger dance influence (probably because it’s by Daishi Dance). I have to say though that this is weaker than Bubble Bath. I really love the talk-rapping parts as well as the verses, but I find the chorus just annoying. The high-pitched vocals are bothersome and the melody itself is just too fast-paced and childish that it just sounds odd with the more flowing musical arrangement. I love the middle 8 though.
Lipstick is the promotional song for the album and it’s my favourite song on the album, even beating out Bangkok City. With it’s strong Romanian pop influence, funky synths and it’s cute but slightly sexy vocal arrangement, it easily stands out in both this album and just OC’s overall discography. I love Raina’s usual adlibs at the ends of their promo tracks and here is no exception.
Superwoman is one of the slower upbeat tracks on the album although it still has a consistently strong dance beat. It also features Pledis Trainee Seungchul. This is one of the stronger tracks on the album as it fuses a ballad like melody with a touch of rap and a strong dance influence. My only gripe is that the girl rap is a little annoying vocally. The vocals on the song are really good though and it really shows off Raina’s voice.
Clara’s Dream is the last of the new songs and it is Lizzy’s solo. Like the other solo songs, it is a ballad, but it stands a part from all the other songs on the album with it’s strong Mediterranean twist that almost reminds me of some of Lee Soo Young’s songs (which I love). This resemblance I really see around the end of the song as it climaxes a bit. It’s rather dark and seems to have a sadness to it although I do feel like Lizzy’s voice is a bit too sweet and not mature enough (yet) for this song.
Overall: Firstly, the newer songs on the album were quite strong and each is different enough to have their own personality. When added with the older songs which were, for the most part, already quite strong, this makes for a pretty solid album. I’m especially impressed by the title track and Lizzy’s solo because both brought something completely different. Sure there were a few blips here and there, but for the most part it’s a strong offering.