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The Origin of Love (Deluxe Version)

MIKA

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Album Review

Mika has flirted with dance music and electronic sounds since Life in Cartoon Motion, but on The Origin of Love he commits to it in a much bigger way. This time, Mika worked with dance and pop producers such as Benny Benassi, Pharrell Williams, Klas Åhlund, and Empire of the Sun's Nick Littlemore, as well as his The Boy Who Knew Too Much collaborator Greg Wells, and a song from the album's writing sessions, "Gang Bang," even ended up on Madonna's MDNA album. However, bringing the dance elements to the fore doesn't really suit his music overall, and the largely electronic arrangements lack the warmth, charm, and variety of his two previous albums. Often, The Origin of Love ends up reaffirming why most dance hits don't have the kind of clever, intricate lyrics that are Mika's specialty, and at times it feels like the sounds surrounding his words and melodies are competing with them instead of supporting them. Even on his other albums, Mika's style walked a fine line between exuberant and grating, and with less nuance surrounding him, he leans more toward the latter instead of the former. His falsetto, coupled with the relentless keyboards on the Benassi track "Stardust," are a bit overwhelming, and while it's a catchy song with hit potential, it just doesn't show off Mika's skills at their best. "Make You Happy" mixes together several dance-inspired elements — including a vocodered chorus that sounds like a pleading robot — that never quite come together (however, the "Miami Edit" of this song has a calmer arrangement that better serves its affectionate and frustrated impulses). The Origin of Love fares better when it sticks closer to Mika's pure pop roots. "Celebrate," the Littlemore-Williams collaboration that served as the album's lead single and hinted at its electro leanings, is still a standout: it fuses the kind of slick beats Williams is known for with Littlemore's euphoric, post-Daft Punk dance-pop, but keeps Mika's sound and persona at the forefront at all times. The album's other highlights show that he's still a keen and witty singer/songwriter, especially when it comes to love's more confusing aspects. He has a darker attitude toward the subject than perhaps he's had before, comparing love to vices like smoking and drinking on the title track and the Buggles-esque new wave of "Love You When I'm Drunk." His character sketches are still sharp, too, with "Lola," "Emily," and "Popular Song" showcasing his knack for pairing detailed lyrics with ingratiating hooks. While it's odd that The Origin of Love doesn't work as well in practice as it might have in theory, it still has enough bright moments to please most fans. [A Deluxe Edition featured nine bonus tracks.]

Customer Reviews

The Prince of Pop Returns!

It's been a long wait since 2009, and I have to say, it has been worth the wait!
We all knew for a fact that Mika was not always going to keep his child-like sense of bubbly pop, but this album transforms his music into a really genuine and classic pop album. 'The Origin of Love' kicks off with the title track, and it packs a punch! Accompanied by a choir (all Mika songs sound better with a choir), it gives the track a very ancient feel to it, to tie in with the name.
Next, Lola. There's Mika, that's the Mika I remember! Lola is such a fun as energetic song, with such a catchy chorus, you'll be a fool not to nod your head away with this track!
Stardust, wow, even as a massive Mika fan I wasn't expecting such a BIG track near the beginning of the album! Stardust is one of those rare songs that you just get lost in the story of the song.
Make You Happy. I love this song. Although Mika's vocals are quite distorted on this track, it is such an addictive song. I have been playing it over and over again and humming it ferociously in my head at work!
Underwater. What a truly beautiful song. Another song that you can get lost in the story of it. From such a soft song it turns into a colossal extravaganza of pop perfection during the chorus. This will be a fan favourite for sure!
Overrated. I have to say this is one of my favourite tracks on the album, for the simple fact that the pre-choruses sound very 'Human League' to me. Well done Mika, an amazing song!
Kids. Oh. We have put the brakes on the album, we finally hear a softer tracks from the Origin of Love. And what a peaceful song it is. Play this when looking back at childhood photos, try not to cry!
Love You When I'm Drunk. Some people may disagree with me, but this song sounds cheap. I am a HUGE fan of Mika and all of his songs have something special. But this song just really doesn't do it for me. The fanfare horns sound like something from an electronic keyboard back in the 80's! But maybe the song will grow on me,
Step With Me. Another one of my favourites! This is a song with such a great story. I can envision the timeline of a couple in love, from dating, marriage, to having a child, to dancing at their child's wedding. Picture it in your head! Trust me, the chorus will stick in your head for days!
Popular Song. How can someone put two great songs right next to each other? Oh yeah, Mika can!! Popular Song is what you want to sing to all of the bullies from your school. It's such an uplifting song and a brilliant way to express self worth.
Emily. We all knew Elle Me Dit was coming at some point. But not in this way, lyrics changed and a whole new meaning to the song. I actually prefer this version! Not to mention us non-French speakers can now song along with looking like a plonker!
Heroes. A lovely way to chill the album down. Heroes almost feels like two different songs combined into one. Is it just me? Whatever the case, it works!
Celebrate. Just when you thought the album was calming down, oh no! Stand up, Celebrate! A truly awesome song with such a fantastic story! Mika really does want the whole world to celebrate!

Welcome back Mika, you have been truly missed, and you've returned with your best album to date!

Popular song:

The song on this album "Popular Song" will be one that holds value to its name.

Fantastic artist, fantastic collabs, fantastic album.

Superb

Full of beautifully written songs. A special album.

Biography

Born: 18 August 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Pop magpie Mika's bright, kaleidoscopic music has drawn comparisons to everyone from Queen and Elton John to the Scissor Sisters and Rufus Wainwright. Born Michael Holbrook Penniman in Beirut to a Lebanese mother and American father, Mika and his parents moved to Paris while he was still a very young child, and eventually London by the time he was nine years old. The frequent moves, incidents like his father being taken hostage at Kuwait's...
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The Origin of Love (Deluxe Version), MIKA
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