After nearly four years, Mika is back with his third album The Origin Of Love. The immense success of his first album Life In Cartoon Motion with smash hits like ‘Grace Kelly’ and ‘Big Girl You Are Beautiful’ established the flamboyant singer as a true entertainer, which he most definitely continued to be on his second album The Boy Who Knew Too Much. Will he deliver yet again?
The album opens very strongly with it’s title song, a contagiously optimistic pop song escalating in almost gospel-like euphoria. Absolute highlights are songs like ‘Stardust’ and ‘Emily’, which can compete with previous hits such as ‘Relax’ and ‘Rain’ in the category of energetic dance songs that instantly make you feel like putting on glitter shoes and running to the nearest dance floor. And no one can accuse Mika of not being musically diverse, a classic piano ballad like ‘Underwater’ is quickly followed by the dub-step influenced ‘Overrated’, before he serves up some sensual reggae-influenced realness in the insanely catchy ‘Step With Me’.
One thing that separates this album from its predecessors is that overall it sounds way more mature. There is a clear development going on between the first album, which was sometimes mistaken for children’s music, the second album which can be seen more as a teenager’s approach, and then this fully grown up record. Less lollipops and rainbows, more earnest quality pop music. Exactly for this reason, ‘Celebrate’ was maybe not the best choice for a first single. Whilst it is certainly a cheerful song, it’s rather fluffy pop-vibe is not at all representative of the album. On the other end of the spectrum are the perhaps slightly pretentious songs (‘Heroes’) that Mika can never seem to resist.
All in all, The Origin Of Love is just nothing more and nothing less than a really good, slightly kitschy pop album. It is exactly what a Mika fan wants from a new Mika album, without simply being a repeat of his previous successes. It is debatable whether or not this record was all that eagerly anticipated by the general public (‘Remember when Mika was a thing? What was that all about?’ says one apparently underwhelmed tweeter), and if you weren’t a fan of the Lebanese-British singer’s high pitched voiced and over-the-top glam aesthetics before, it is unlikely you will become one now. However, his large and enthusiastic fan base will no doubt be all over this album, and rightly so. If you enjoyed drunkenly singing along to ‘Grace Kelly’ in 2007, definitely give it a spin.