A Not-So-Meek Mika
In a bouncy combination of electronic beats, simple rhythms and harmonies, and his characteristic Freddy Mercury-esque falsetto, British pop singer Mika expresses themes of freedom, passion and playful affection in his third studio album, “The Origin of Love.”
Throughout the album he wrote while in the midst of falling in love, the singer who brought you catchy tunes like “Grace Kelly” returns with a bubbly set of songs for listeners worldwide. Featuring uplifting choruses such as “All I want to do is make you happy” and “I want the whole world to celebrate,” the album will surely excite its listeners with its imaginative yet simple lyrics and energetic vibe.
The album contains a great deal of electronic dance beats and electronically enhanced voices, yet at several moments sets them against an acoustic piano and other instruments, making for a nice contrast.
During a recent interview, Mika revealed, “I write my best songs when I’m in a crush or when I’m falling in love.” He later said of his second album, “Although it is a beautifully-crafted record, it doesn’t have that urgency of ‘I have to communicate this to you.’”
Luckily, such urgency and excitement radiates through the album’s title track. Perhaps the best song on the album, it provides a clean slate for the listener’s conception of love as Mika belts, “Like stupid Adam and Eve / they found their love in a tree / God didn’t think they deserved it / He taught them, He taught them pride / gave them a leaf, made them hide / let’s push those stories aside / you know the origin is you.” It is a joy to hear a creative take on a story with which almost every listener will be familiar. Pairing his invention of a new beginning for love while showing off his several voices, Mika previews and sets the tone for the remainder of the album.
In “Love You When I’m Drunk,” the singer explores a more adult theme — intoxication. The song communicates a more relatable sensation for college students in a simple and non-serious way. Such previously unexplored topics give Mika’s work a new mature flavor.
“Step With Me,” a playfully romantic quasi-ballad, is one of the only tracks in which the listener gets to hear Mika’s deep and powerful singing voice. He gently articulates a sweet message to a lover behind a mellow drumbeat and a light guitar riff.
The soulful “Popular Song” will delight musical theater fans with its sampling of the well-known song “Popular” from the musical “Wicked.” In this song, Mika reflects on his feelings about his lack of popularity during his earlier years, including being bullied in school as a child, and contrasts it with his current status. This feel-good track will resonate with many.
Though his previous two albums each garnered a great amount of praise and attention from listeners, the first granting him a Grammy nomination, Mika’s third artistic endeavor exudes a boundless charm. Though it may lack originality in its choice of subject matter for songs — love is a very familiar theme for a pop song — “The Origin of Love’s” unique approach to love as a purely positive sensation, along with the complexity and distinctness of Mika’s vocals, make it an exciting and inspiring listen.
Final Rating: 4.5/5