[Single Review] Orange Caramel – My Copycat (나처럼 해봐요)

Orange Caramel - My Copycat

As if “Catallena” wasn’t enough, Orange Caramel decided to grace 2014 with another brilliant release. One can always count on Orange Caramel to be the k-pop equivalent of that kid during show-and-tell. You know who I’m talking about. You got that slob that always brings something boring like a rubber band that they found on the floor before they got to class because they forgot about the assignment. You got that rich kid that brings in a spaceship that his parents imported from Italy and brags about his parents’ financial status like no tomorrow. And then you got that kid, the kid that everyone gets excited about during show-and-tell because they always bring something interesting and exciting.

“My Copycat” is what you would get if you contemporized and k-pop-ified “I Spy” and “Where’s Waldo?”, revitalized some swing and jazz music with a bouncy beat and some electronic music, and sprinkled flooded the whole thing with some pure Orange Caramel sugar.

Being an Orange Caramel release, it is a hit-or-miss kind of ordeal but I will be optimistic and say that the interactivity of the music video and the addictive and simple dance will reel in the nonbelievers. Orange Caramel’s brilliance is too often obfuscated by their cutesiness but, if you’re willing to overlook the aegyo, you’ll find that there is nothing quite like an OC release.

Music Video

The music video is quintessential OC – brilliantly quirky and colorful. DigiPedi Studio, the studio that has been churning out some of the wackiest, most creative music videos in k-pop (some examples of their other works include OC’s “Lipstick” and “Catallena”, Ladies’ Code’s “Hate You” and “Pretty Pretty”, B1A4’s “What’s Happening” and many others), has a pretty distinct style. Even if their music videos are for songs with vastly different tones, there’s still that DigiPedi touch on the videos.

OC

 

Rather creatively, the video ditches any semblance of a plot in favor of a playful, interactive twist to the traditional MV. The sequences during the verses of the song feature split screens that show almost identical shots of one of the OC girls and it’s up to the viewer to find the differences between the two screens.

Nana Differences

 

The scenes during the choruses feature a searching game à la “Where’s Waldo?”. In fact, Pledis reassures us that the usage of this concept was legally agreed upon as a collaboration between OC and Dreamworks, which owns the copyright on “Where’s Waldo?”, dashing the hopes of evil netizens who would try to cry foul on Orange Caramel for copyright infringement. Exemplary work, Pledis.

Where's OC?

Thus, it was obvious that a lot of care was put into crafting this ambitious music video. The hodgepodge of randomly-clad people dancing and the copious amounts of whimsical props and visuals used in the video were all brilliantly utilized to say the least. It seems that you can always notice something you hadn’t before with every iteration of watching the video.

OC My Copycat

The choreography is simple and cutesy, making it an invitation for all to dance along to the song (they released a dance-only version for the dancing-inclined) and sartorial choices were once again on point. The Waldo-inspired costumes were particularly cute and the pink feather hats were very whimsical.

My Copycat Stage

All in all, this was a visually stunning package that invites re-watching.

Single

The single begins with some bombastic horns that is quickly accompanied by an equally bombastic and bouncy beat. The electroswing and eurodance influences are heavy in this track as you got some exciting electronic dance instrumentation during the choruses while a swinging beat adorned by jazzy flourishes from a saxophone sample drive along the more hushed verses. The combination of the electroswing beat and the electronic loop  during the verses are very reminiscent of Alexandra Stan’s hit “Mr. Saxobeat” although whereas “Mr. Saxobeat” took a more subdued, sexier route, “My Copycat” has a playfully mischievous kind of tone, which definitely fits Orange Caramel’s reputation much better.

Lizzy

I’ll be blunt; vocals are cringeworthy if you aren’t prepared for aegyo vocals. One of the biggest reasons why Orange Caramel’s works are hit or miss is because they are marketed as that aegyo-quirky group – weird enough to set them apart from the more “normal” k-pop fare but cute enough to reel in their target audience. Their musically-inspired singles are oft accompanied by sugary vocals and, while it may seem extremely unnecessary for them to sing in such an obnoxiously saccharine register, at this point in k-pop history, aegyo vocals just have become part and parcel of the Orange Caramel package. If you want to enjoy an OC single, you just gotta deal with the vocal diabetes.

Raina

Line distribution in this song is skewed in favor of Nana oddly but she does do aegyo the most annoyingly so it works. The harmonies during the verses sound rather nice despite the cutesy distortions to their vocals and I think that’s pretty much the only positive thing I can find about the vocals on this track. “My Copycat” is not a particularly vocally challenging song – the range of the notes the girls have to utter is pretty small and lines are spaced out – so vocals are obviously not the focus of the release. Thus, while I don’t really enjoy the vocals, at least I don’t have to be bombarded by overly cutesy vocals for the entirety of the song – I’m more interested in the popping beat and instrumentation anyways.

Nana

 

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Conclusion:

Orange Caramel doesn’t take themselves too seriously on the vocal front of lead singles because the focus is elsewhere – the vibrance of the instrumentation, the quirkiness of the music video and visuals, the lightheartedness of the general release. The music video is a visual searching game and so obviously the visuals take precedence over the audio in this release. The ladies of OC have already proved their vocal prowess elsewhere, either through their other tracks on OC albums or After School albums. An Orange Caramel single is all about cutesy fun and quirkiness – something that a lot of listeners from the J-pop audience would probably feel right home about. The interactive nature of the music video and the creative flourishes on this release in general are all well-executed; I would expect nothing less from an Orange Caramel release. It was a huge risk for Pledis to continue marketing a subunit that capitalizes on quirkiness and hit-or-miss concepts and songs but I am glad they took that risk. K-pop can sure get vapid and uninspired at times so creative and interesting groups like Orange Caramel are like a breath of fresh air.

OC 2

 

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TL;DR

Colorful and interactive MV to a bouncy, bombastic electroswing track filled with OC-approved aegyo. 

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