It only takes two songs on Mika's third album, The Origin Of Love, to fall in love with this all-hooks-and-catches form of pop music. 'Lola', scheduled as his second single, following the Pharrell Williams collaboration, 'Celebration', is bouncy and delivers to us his moral-within-a-pop-song formula. It may not be to everyone's taste as the eye-popping high notes of his 2007 number one single, 'Grace Kelly', still shrill in our ear buds. The shrillness rears its head occasionally but Mika's voice is steadily in control, like a master of vocal distortion 'pon a trampoline.
Over the past year and a half, he has worked with big names behind even bigger acts. Pharrell Williams, Benny Benassi, Greg Wells (Katy Perry, Adele) and Klas Åhlund (Robyn, Kylie Minogue) contribute to the album and they have done it justice.
With 'Underwater' and 'Step With Me', he proves that 2007's 'Happy Ending' wasn't a fluke. He excels at delivering power ballads but there is also a consistent level of fun to this album, much like Scissor Sisters' latest album, Magic Hour. He provides depth that's dressed up for playtime.
'Popular (I Know About...)' features Priscilla Renea and it plays on 'Popular' from the musical Wicked, which will no doubt equally delight and disgust Broadway fans across the globe. It tackles the revisited tale of being yourself and even if you're not popular as a kid, it doesn't really matter in the long run. Lyrics like "I hid in the toilets, now it's you that cleans them" hit out at any Mika haters. Hoots? He gives none and he's doing pretty well as a result.
'Emily' is designed to get your dancing before you dissect the carpe diem lyrics. It was initially released en Francais last year ('Elle Me Dit'), which explains the refrain "pourquoi tu gâches ta vie" (why are you wasting your life).
'I Only Love You When I'm Drunk', something most of us can connect to, echoes that familiar track, 'Video Killed The Radio Star'. On its own, if you find yourself nodding along to lyrics like "It was the drink that was leading me blind", not only have you got an infectious pop track on your hands, you've also reached step one in the 12 steps to recovery programme.
There are quality hit singles scattered throughout The Origin Of Love but in its entirety, this is a solid pop album that hasn't succumbed to any 'get rich quick' tricks to get ahead - it does it by itself.
Review by Louise Bruton