I remember hearing British singer-songwriter MIKA's first album Life in Cartoon Motion and thinking that his stuff was pretty good and catchy (especially the single, "Grace Kelly"). The Origin Of Love covers all the pop bases. He busts out the theatricality of Queen in the title track, shows his range of vocal ability in “Underwater” and seamlessly combines '80s synth and Europop in “Overrated.” For me it’s less about what the songs sounded like and more about what was behind the songs. Sure, some of the album sounds like mindless top-40 pop, however, there is something more here, something with a little more substance and positivity, such as “Popular Song” (which borrows from the tune with the same name from the musical Wicked), which talks about how ridiculous it is to strive for popularity in life. Then there is this overall feeling that these songs have been through some growing pains. You can hear these songs starting out with just a piano and a voice. Everything else was added to better serve the song from there. His personality, lyrics and message take center stage, and everything else is there for fun and support.
I must admit that I liked this album a lot more than I thought I would. My original feelings were that this was going to be something my high school theater friends would have enjoyed and sang along to on bus rides to show choir competitions. But then I quickly remembered that I was in high school theater and show choir too, and this satisfied that portion of my brain as well. I’m glad that good, unapologetic, meaningful, inspired and overall fun pop music still exists today. Don’t worry people, the Rebecca Blacks of the world will only ever be flavors of the week.
Grade: I didn’t know I could dance like that!