Orange Caramel, a subgroup of After School, a Kpop group known for its unique “graduation” concept (where members, after a certain period of time, “graduate” from the group as new members are added), relies heavily on the quirky, cute, and colorful concept in all of their videos, but “Catallena” takes the cake. Or rather, the sushi.
The video features the three singers as unfortunate mermaids. A lot can be said here about feminism and what a woman’s actual worth is (as the girls’ literal price is reduced, then cut again), but the video plays it all with a light hand, including the somewhat disturbing ending.
The song talks about one woman’s admiration for another:
“Oh my, she’s so great, I’ve fallen for her
Even as a girl, I can see she’s so great
She’s temperamental but I want to see her
I want to know her, I want to dance with her”*
This admiration can be seen in the way the girls react to the octopus as she slides by with a much higher price.
The chorus’ refrain of “Jutti meri, oye hoi hoi! Paula mera, oye hoi hoi!” comes from a Punjabi wedding song, leading an interesting Bollywood flair to the song.
This is one of my top 3 favorite Kpop music videos. And now I want sushi.
*lyrics found here