Mika comes back strong in third album
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 22:10
If you like Queen, David Bowie, Prince and even Michael Jackson, you will absolutely adore Mika’s latest album, “Origin of Love.” The Lebanese-American singer’s most recent endeavor continues his reign as groovy pop king, but also brings a new side to his music. While his last two albums relied on bombastic, hyperactive pop to win over the masses, this album takes a more understated approach. The pop element stays intact but Mika tones down the falsetto in favor of a smoother feel to his vocals. The result is a collection of beautifully orchestrated songs and a cohesive album that brings a smile to your face.
As the title indicates, this album draws heavily on themes of love. Songs, such as “Lola” and “Make You Happy” are merry, while the songs “Underwater” and “Heroes” are more heartbreaking. The mix keeps the album interesting and, more importantly, relatable. It’s definitely something to listen to during the happiest days of your life, but also easily listenable during times of darkness. I personally think that versatility is the main characteristic of a perfect album and Mika delivers on this front.
Stylistically, Mika stays true to his major influences, Prince and Freddie Mercury, by utilizing falsetto, incredible vocals and synthetic beats. This album is more simplistic than his previous albums, which used a lot of different sounds layered over one another to create an energetic and unforgettable form of pop music. “Origin of Love,” despite its more pared down style, is completely unique and experimental. The lack of complex sounds in the background finally allow the listener to concentrate on Mika’s amazing, professionally trained voice. The song “Lola,” a smooth, romantic jam, exhibits Mika’s relaxed, but still peppy vocals, while songs like “Love You When I’m Drunk” shows his flamboyant, energetic side.
With great vocals and catchy beats, the album could be complete, but the addition of stylistic elements creates a gem. In “Popular Song,” for example, Mika samples “Popular” from the musical Wicked and works his entire song around the premise of the original song. Other songs draw from 80s synth pop, true to Mika’s influences, and others seem to have a more classical flair. “Underwater” for example, starts with a very “Set Fire to the Rain” piano solo, and then transitions into a dark ballad.
All in all, “Origin of Love” is a tremendous album, with the potential to be one of the best of the year. The songs are catchy, relatable, and more importantly, interesting and relevant. They harken back to the good old days of men with soul and groove, men with impeccable voices and immense passion and creativity that they weren’t afraid to show. I think it’s fair to say that, Mika, you succeed in making us happy.