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Mika, whose full name is Michael Holbrook Penniman, Jr., was born in Beirut to a family of seven. His family later moved from the war-torn state of Lebanon to London, where he experienced bullying over his dyslexia and musical talents. His story is that of the classic underdog, growing from an outcast teenager to the internationally successful artist he is today.
This album especially shows off his fantastic falsetto and vocal range of three and a half octaves, comparable to that of Freddie Mercury. The first single off the album, "Celebrate", features American rapper Pharrell Williams and a new electronic hook that fans have not heard before. Mika, who confirmed in August that he is gay, explores anti-bullying themes and advocates acceptance for LGBT people throughout the album.
He has a penchant for telling the truth, which is obvious in the track "I Only Love You When I'm Drunk". He also demonstrates his theatricality in "Popular Song," which samples the song "Popular" from Stephen Schwartz's musical Wicked.
His bilingualism is also evident in his latest release. Mika, who is fluent in English, French and Spanish, wrote French single "Elle Me Dit" (She Told Me) for the release in France. Instead of directly translating it to English, he rewrote the song for the American release, titling it "Emily" and including the original French refrain. Both the French and English version of this song feature a catchy hook and Mika's exuberant, soaring vocals.
Overall, Mika's latest album is a worthwhile purchase for any pop lovers looking for feel-good jams that preach, as he simply put back in 2007, "Relax, take it easy."
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