The Origin Of Love


Island/Casablanca Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr. (well, just call him Mika) has tackled some heavy themes in his music with much success. Having sold five million plus albums on his debut alone, he has garnered comparisons to artists as legendary as Queen and Prince as a result of the very adult themes and extremely textured sounds. For his third album, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Origin Of Love, Mika shifts gears a bit, describing the disc as 'more simplistic' and 'less layered.’ Additionally, the topics surround sorting through adult years and still take a serious approach but with a cheerful side, too. Stylistically, he reported Daft Punk and Fleetwood Mac were both influences.

Already a well-respected pop star despite only being the game for a short amount of time, Mika covers a lot of bases here. His playful side comes out on “Love You When I'm Drunk,” sounding like a younger Elton John. His soft moment here is "Step With Me," where a gorgeous female voice complements Mika. The '80s sensibilities come out in the vocal effects of synth-focused “Make You Happy.” “Kids” has a breezy, laidback California vibe running through it with quaint piano in the background; the pianos are used in spades on many of the tracks here. Mika's voice is extremely distinct with a wide range, and fortunately, it's not buried under the music very often. “Stardust” is where his falsetto shines brightest, a vibrant electronic pop song.

Certainly his most collaborative album to date, all the fat is trimmed here so as to let the melodies do all the work, resulting in lush atmospheres and a mature, elegant delivery. If endearing, romantic pop songs are your thing, this album has your name written all over it. The bonus disc here is even more romantic with songs in French as well as remixes of several tracks from disc one. Though Mika will probably never sell five million copies of another album, with The Origin Of Love, he's proved his songwriting skills are unpredictable and constantly evolving.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Island/Casablanca Records, and is used for informational purposes only.