tue 16/10/2018

CD: Mika - The Origin of Love | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Mika - The Origin of Love

CD: Mika - The Origin of Love

Lebanese-British star delivers more lethally effective songs with a vacuum at their core

Mika, bespattered with pop gold

“Killer Queen” by Queen, “Rocket Man” by Elton John and “Laura” by the Scissor Sisters are all songs that reek of design. Their finest details have been engineered to their smallest component parts, yet the tone is light, almost throwaway. They’re crafted, calculated classics, but they revel raw in pop glee. This is the feeling Mika constantly strives for and which, despite his brilliance at constructing songs, continues to evade him. Not that the world minds too much: his records are globally successful on a huge scale, especially his first album, Life in Cartoon Motion. He has sold multi-millions. In France he is superstar.

Mika’s third album was put together with production heavyweights who have worked with Katy Perry and Robyn, as well as the likes of Pnau’s Nick Littlemore, William Orbit and Pharrell Williams, the latter appearing on the brash opening single “Celebrate”. Throughout, Mika's usual appealingly insouciant way with a lyric remains intact – “Stupid Adam and Eve, they found their love in a tree, but God didn’t think they deserved it” – but has a new, polished, synthesised quality that brings to mind what Air might sound like if they decided to be Supertramp. It’s as contagious as the Ebola virus but there’s an audible sense that this 29-year-old, classically educated in music to the very highest level, does this because he can rather than that his blood boils with it. It undermines everything. Whether it’s the Bee Gees-gone-trance of “Stardust”, the balladic piano simplicity of “Underwater”, the pumping tech-disco of “Overrrated” or the super-catchy “Emily”, it’s utterly effective on an immediate level but the froth lacks heart.

The truth is I want to like Mika. He’s just the sort of artist sneering music journos, clutching their tedious Radiohead and Bon Iver albums to their bosoms, dislike intensely. But it’s not his ditzy frivolousness that’s off-putting - that only makes him more appealing. It’s the sense that he’s a dilettante pop star whose music really is vapid.

Watch the video for "Celebrate"

He has a new, polished, synthesized quality that brings to mind what Air might sound like if they decided to be Supertramp

rating

Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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