MIKA’s 5 Best Songs

I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to Lebanese-British singer-songwriter MIKA (or Michael Holbrook Penniman Jr.). Mika’s songs are unique and a complete delight to the ear. While he has a number of fantastic tunes for music lovers to enjoy, I am going to share my five favorites so you can get a real feel for his musicality and artistic style.

“Lollipop”

“Lollipop” might be MIKA’s most widespread and popular song. It was even featured in the hit film Pitch Perfect 2. This is fun and out-of-the-ordinary tune that lovers of sugar-sweet pop with a bite should appreciate. It makes for a great introduction to MIKA’s catalog.

“Dear Jealousy”

Dear Jealousy” is a very human, very relatable track that has an irresistible 80’s vibe. If you’ve ever felt jealousy over anyone or anything, this just might be your new anthem. This is one of MIKA’s newest tunes, which is reassuring. It shows that he hasn’t lost his artistry over the years.


“Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)”

This song predates the “All About That Bass” era of celebrating larger body types, which is impressive in and of itself. However, its the tune’s uplifting, empowering, and irresistibly catchy sound that really makes it stand out.

“Origin of Love”

Origin of Love” manages to mix Queen and Enya vibes. I love it. Its clever lyricism makes excellent use of metaphor and simile to demonstrate the power of love…and how it can be a positive and negative influence on one’s life at the same time.

“Lola”

This song is more classic and subdued than many of MIKA’s other tunes, but it is very catchy and enjoyable, nonetheless. I recommend it to anyone that enjoys that throwback, Eric Clapton-style sound in music. I typically don’t, but it works here because MIKA is very talented. I actually count “Lola” among my favorite songs.

Here are a fee honorable mentions to check out once you’ve decided to listen to more MIKA: “Love Today, ” “I See You,” “Blue Eyes, ” “Talk About You, ” and “Staring at the Sun.”

Have any favorite MIKA songs that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!

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Music for a Writer’s Ears

My non-writer friends often ask me:

“Do you get writer’s block?” (Who doesn’t?)

“How do you just sit down and write? (Chair? Check.)

Or,

“What do you really do when you’re writing?” (Um…)

But let’s talk about writer’s block, shall we? I’ve heard all the remedies: just write words on a page; skip around your chair for a while; perform a tight-rope routine; etc.

Truthfully, I think the solution depends on the person. (Don’t you love advice like that?) However, I’m going to tell you what I use to combat a certain form of writer’s block that I like to call fear.

That’s right, fear. You know the scene. It’s a big one—a really big one. Who knows where it is in your story except for you? It could be the opening scene that you’ve waited until now to write. It could be the climax. It could be the end. It could be a dream sequence. It could be any scene.

The best way that I’ve gotten through that apprehension that stops your fingers from typing or your hand from scribbling on the paper is—cue the drum roll—music! As I work on a project and get a feel for my characters, for the world erected between the lines, I simultaneously construct a playlist.

Eventually, this playlist becomes crucial for the writing process. Why? Because inevitably, I slow. (Which law of physics is that?) My writing bottlenecks when I get to a certain point, and it takes everything out of me to put a few sentences on the page. So, how do I continue?

M-U-S-I-C. I know the scenes I want to write, but the filter that runs from my brain to my fingers has shut off. To jump my dead battery, I need music.

You need to curate your playlist. A song that describes your character to you, whatever that may be. Perhaps you see it as a clip from a movie or a TV show. What would their theme song be? Perhaps you’re writing a space opera and a bit of the Interstellar soundtrack can get you moving.

Every story is different, every character unique, every scene its own. Find the music that helps you through and get back to writing!

Review: Ritt Momney’s Newest Singles

Utah-native Ritt Momney has done it again. He came out with new music, and, as always, it blew me away.

If you haven’t heard of Ritt Momney, what are you doing? How can you negate the cleverness, the satire, and the endearing quality of the spoonerism of Utah Senator Mitt Romney’s name?

Anyway, let’s get to it, shall we?

“Escalator”

The underlying beat of this song, a titillating techno thrum that foments an air of uncertainty, an air of eeriness…and, yet, a looming sense of want, of desire, of unfinished business. “Call me a ghost,” Ritt Momney tells us. And what is a ghost, if not an entity stuck in a world of unfinished business?

There’s an angst in this song, one that reminds me of Momney’s song “Young Adult,” an ode to those years in high school, book-ended by uncertainty, out-of-control hormones, and angst.

“I halfway dissolved/ I’m half dead/ More than phantom but less than a man,” Momney serenades us, and we can feel this hermitization, the angst and pain, and when he’s “halfway surprised at the touch of her hand,” we can see this regression from reality.

But still there persists some sort of guilt, some regret, the sort that everyone deals with yet has overtaken Momney’s moment. “Throw it away and start it all over,” he pleads; start everything over if he could, this ghost would.

And in the end, we are reminded that these are momentary musings, ones that are not separated from reality but deeply ingrained in its verity. “Lift me through a broken plane/ My open wound, my escalator,” this chorus concludes, and if nothing, we notice the acceptance of such sinusoidal moments that perhaps persist but are inseparable from life itself.

Set The Table” (feat. Claud)

(This single came out in February, but Spotify grouped it with Escalator and the next song in the review, “Not Around.”)

The upbeat sound of this song gives me energy. It makes me want to go on a run even if it’s humid and way too hot. It makes me want to clean, and I’m not a fan. However, that upbeat, lively music contrasts with what Ritt Momney is telling us.

“And every time we set the table, I flip it over/ And if you’re willing and you’re able, let’s start it over,” rings the chorus. “With all the things I have, satisfaction’s not one.”

This song doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not; in fact, it’s measured contrast presents such dichotomy perfectly.

Does our narrator have everything? Why is this narrator not happy? Perhaps there’s an expectation, material or otherwise, that they feel should make them happy…but it doesn’t.

This song is a rebellion, an insurgency against the material requirements for liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This song is a rebuke of propriety and standard, which is why, in the end, “if you’re willing and you’re able, let’s start it over.”

“Not Around”

I think we could call this song many things: an elegy to a foregone relationship or the preordained epitaph for a to-be-buried relationship that has decayed after many, many months or years or however long apart.

But not only is it putting to bed and saying goodbye to this relationship; it is also reminiscing on what sparked such feelings. “I picked you up from the airport/ Your smile didn’t feel the same.” There something chill-inducing about those two lines, about how the anticipation of something and how the actual event never lives up to those moments that precede it.

Especially when you come together with a love, or a like or a whatever, that you can now see has been snuffed out by the trials of growing separately.

The narrator recalls that singing no longer brings a smile to their lover’s face the way it did when he first sang to them, and that “I feel like it’s been a while/ Since your light shone on my account.”

Poignant.

But then, the narrator doesn’t quite seem ready to say goodbye to this relationship, or whatever fraying ropes they keep to support this waning flame.

Then, Ritt Momney takes us on a ride, on a slow devolution from a dreamy sound, a reminscence, to a lullaby-ish tune, singing, “But when you’re not around/ I turn into something/ I’m not lost or found/ I’m neither, I’m nothing,” as though they cannot be without this lover, as though their identities are inextricably interwoven.

“Hear me yelling out loud/ My love went away, hear me shout,” the narrator finally admits, as the lullaby morphs into a rockish outro, a cathartic farewell to this relationship. Ritt Momney stands at the shore, waving goodbye to a memory lost in the horizon, in the light of a setting sun, until it’s all gone in the wavy conclusion of this song.

Final Thoughts

LISTEN TO RITT MOMNEY, YOU GUYS! I can’t stress this enough. Diverse sounds, lyrical fun, and absolute musicality. Ritt Momney has yet to disappoint me.