Sub-units are common in k-pop, but few end up being more popular than the actual group that spawned them. Though they haven’t released anything in two years, Orange Caramel has arguably leapfrogged over their parent group, After School, when it comes to awareness and chart success. Consisting of members Nana, Raina and Lizzy, the trio has one of the most colorful, offbeat sounds in all of k-pop — melding trot with dance and using a cavalcade of bonkers concepts to tie everything together in a memorable package.
10. Cookies, Cream & Mint (2013)
The girls have released three Japanese singles, but most haven’t been all that memorable. Though Cookies feels slight, its 80’s-influenced breeziness makes it a pleasant piece of pop.
9. A-ing (2010)
A rousing piece of traditional trot slams into modern k-pop, and the rest is history. A-ing improved on the group’s debut and marked Orange Caramel as a group to watch.
8. Abing Abing (2014)
As a song used primarily to promote a Korean dessert, Abing Abing goes above and beyond by being a ridiculously catchy pop track in its own right.
7. My Copycat (2014)
Jumping on the brass bandwagon before it was popular, My Copycat rides almost entirely on a wildly fun saxophone hook.
6. Funny Hunny (2011)
With its 80’s, italo-beat production and multitude of melodically novel hooks, Funny Hunny bursts with an adventurous pop spirit.
5. Shanghai Romance (2011)
Melding traditional Asian elements with their trademark, high energy dance sound, Shanghai Romance feels like a near perfect combination of the silly and the sublime.
4. Gangnam Avenue (2014)
Gangnam Avenue proved that the girls could still deliver a soaring piece of dance pop as if their lives depended on it, even if it was never promoted as an actual title track.
3. Bangkok City (2011)
As straightforward a dance song as the trio have ever recorded, Bangkok City’s addictive hook and pulsing club beat makes it one of their most enduring tracks.
2. Lipstick (2011)
Their first classic single, and a track that distills everything that makes Orange Caramel so great into a deliriously addictive piece of smart electro pop. It’s a big eye wink of a pop song, constantly egging you on with its multitude of perfectly crafted hooks.
1. Catallena (2014)
If Lipstick represents Orange Caramel’s earliest peak, Catallena is the flawless cherry on top. Placing their trademark sound over a throwback, string-assisted disco beat, Catallena is both incredibly weird and thrillingly vital. It’s also a perfect example of what k-pop can be if it refuses to fully surrender to western influences, but instead incorporate them into a very Korean landscape.