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Listen to Mika featuring Ariana Grande 'Popular Song' [Review]


Mika's "The Origin Of Love" is without a doubt of the finest and most accomplished pop records of 2012 that underlines once again that Mika is, quite frankly, one of the most gifted pop writers on the planet today. One of the highlights on the album is "Popular Song" that he co-wrote with singer Priscilla Renea who is also featured on the track  When I spent some time with Mika in Los Angeles in October, he told me he was working on a new version of the song with teen pop sensation and labelmate Ariana Grande, and I was anxious to hear how the remake would turn out.

Today, Republic Records finally unveiled the new version of "Popular Song" that captures the original's sentiment perfectly and keeps its optimistic spirit fully intact. The happy-go-lucky remake features a slightly different arrangement that neatly matches the youthful exuberance that dominates the song (and defines Mika's distinct brand of pop).

"Popular Song" is partly based on "Popular" from the musical Wicked that Mika skillfully incorporated into his own version. In a making-of series on YouTube, Mika explains that the song's original composer Stephen Schwartz came to his studio one day and listened to his second album. "Even though we never wrote together, I sent him an email after meeting to ask if I could play with ['Popular'] a little to change up its meaning," he explains. "I respect him as a songwriter and wanted to make sure he was okay with it."

Mika teamed with co-writer Priscillia Renea to create a song based on Schwartz's original that is inspired by his own story. "It's the only song on ['The Origin Of Love'] that deals with my childhood," he explains.

The track's lyrics describe in no-so subtle terms what it was like to turn from an outcast into the most popular kid of the class - so to say. "I never was a scholar/You were always popular/You were singing all the songs I don’t know/Now you’re in the front row/Cause my song is popular." Even though the song's album version is perfect as it is, young Ariana Grande gives the song a fresh new flair that helps shine a welcome new light on Mika's terrific tune.

December 18, 2012 | Permalink