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MIKA - The Origin Of Love

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The Origin Of Love

MIKA

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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.
© Heather Phares /TiVo

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The Origin Of Love

MIKA

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1
Origin Of Love Album Version
00:04:35

Greg Wells, Producer, Mixer, Executive Producer, StudioPersonnel - Mika, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Frank Ricotti, Marimba, AssociatedPerformer - Richard Penniman, ComposerLyricist - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Andy Strange, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Daniel Cinelli, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guy Protheroe, Vocal Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Paul Steel, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Matt Knobel, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Steele, ComposerLyricist - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

2
Lola Album Version
00:03:42

Greg Wells, Producer, Executive Producer - Mika, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Executive Producer - Mathieu Jomphe, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Ian Mercel, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Angie Teo, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Billboard, Producer - Benjamin Garrett, Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Matt Knobel, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ben Butler, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

3
Stardust Album Version
00:03:17

Greg Wells, Producer, Mixer, Additional Producer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Wayne Hector, ComposerLyricist - Joel McNeely, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Mika, MainArtist - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Executive Producer - Marco Benassi, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Benny Benassi, Producer - Dan Parry, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Michael Holbrook Penniman, Jr., ComposerLyricist - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

4
Make You Happy Album Version
00:03:09

Greg Wells, Producer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Rob Harris, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Jamie Muhoberac, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Fabien Waltmann, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mika, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Frank Ricotti, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Additional Producer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Andy Strange, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ian Mercel, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ian MacGregor, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Benjamin Garrett, Producer, Additional Vocals, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Matt Knobel, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

5
Underwater Album Version
00:03:08

Greg Wells, Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Rob Harris, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mika, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Matt Chamberlain, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Additional Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Peter Mayes, Producer, Additional Producer - Andy Strange, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dan Parry, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ian MacGregor, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Paul Steel, ComposerLyricist - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

6
Overrated Album Version
00:03:36

Greg Wells, Producer, Additional Producer, Executive Producer - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mika, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Executive Producer - Dan Parry, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ian Mercel, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Klas Frans Ahlund, Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Matt Knobel, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Marcus Byrne, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

7
Kids Album Version
00:03:02

Greg Wells, Producer, Executive Producer - Mika, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Angie Teo, Mixer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Richard Hammond, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Benjamin Garrett, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Jack Milas, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Ben Butler, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

8
Love You When I'm Drunk Album Version
00:02:51

Greg Wells, Producer, Executive Producer - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mika, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Roy Hendrickson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Benjamin Garrett, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Ben Butler, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Henry Hey, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

9
Step With Me Album Version
00:03:36

Greg Wells, Producer, Mixer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Rob Harris, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Hillary Lindsey, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mika, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Shawn Pelton, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Additional Producer, Executive Producer - Andy Strange, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mathieu Jomphe, ComposerLyricist - Angie Teo, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ian MacGregor, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Martin Johnson, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

10
Popular Song Album Version
00:04:05

Greg Wells, Producer, Mixer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Mika, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Stephen Schwartz, ComposerLyricist - Roy Hendrickson, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Additional Producer, Executive Producer - Mathieu Jomphe, ComposerLyricist - Ian MacGregor, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Priscilla Renea, Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Henry Hey, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

11
Emily Album Version
00:03:33

Greg Wells, Producer, Mixer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Mika, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Executive Producer - Doriand, ComposerLyricist - Ian MacGregor, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Klas Frans Ahlund, Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

12
Heroes Album Version
00:03:16

Greg Wells, Producer, Mixer, Executive Producer, StudioPersonnel - Mika, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Executive Producer, ComposerLyricist - Angie Teo, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Oli Chang, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jack Milas, Programming, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ben Butler, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - The High Highs, Producer - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

13
Celebrate Album Version
00:03:05

Greg Wells, Producer, Additional Producer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Rob Harris, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Pharrell Williams, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Serban Ghenea, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Mika, Producer, Additional Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Executive Producer - Peter Mayes, Producer - Andy Strange, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Angie Teo, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Benjamin Garrett, Producer, Programming, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Max Taylor, AssociatedPerformer, Bass (Vocal) - Matt Knobel, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brett Mayer, Additional Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Maureen Scott, Unknown, Other - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

14
Make You Happy Miami Edit
00:03:33

Greg Wells, Producer, Mixer, Executive Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Rob Harris, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Jamie Muhoberac, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Mika, Producer, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - Frank Ricotti, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Nick Littlemore, Producer, Executive Producer - Ian Mercel, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Angie Teo, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ian MacGregor, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - John Merchant, Producer, Associate Producer - Benjamin Garrett, Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Matt Knobel, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Fabien Waltman, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Jodi Marr Horovitz, Producer, Associate Producer, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2012 Casablanca Music, LLC

Album Description

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.
© Heather Phares /TiVo

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