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This article is about the Yours Truly single. For the Wicked song, see Popular.

"Popular Song" is a single from Ariana Grande's debut album Yours Truly and Mika's third album, The Origin of Love. It is the eleventh track off her debut album.

The song is an updated cover of the original version, as featured in the musical Wicked. The album version of the song features vocals from the original songwriter, Priscilla Renea, and features low-level expletives, as featured in Wicked. However, the single version removes Renea and replaces her with Grande, removes the expletives, and completely changes the instrumental arrangement and tempo, to create a version which heavily links to Mika's former hits, "Grace Kelly" and "We Are Golden". It peaked at #87 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Background[]

The original version of the song was made available on Mika's third studio album, The Origin of Love, and features vocals from songwriter Priscilla Renea. This version is heavily based on the original from Wicked and uses a very rough tempo and instrumentation, to fit in with the theme of the album. It also used the expletives 'b****' and 's***'. However, for the track's release as a single, Mika decided to completely change the arrangement, and create something similar to his hit single "Grace Kelly". To do this, he enlisted the help of American actress and performer Ariana Grande, rewrote some of the lyrics to remove the expletives, changed the instrumentation and tempo, and reworked the song's structure to make it more upbeat.

This song is about bullied, unpopular students eventually becoming a successful and making a “popular” song while the bullies are stuck at dead end jobs. The final message of the song is that popularity is ultimately not riches but being yourself. This song became an anti-bullying anthem, which Mika intended. As a kid who was bullied growing up, this song’s message was very personal for him, he told Windy City Times.

Music video[]

The music video was filmed on December 2012. directed by Chris Marrs Piliero. It features a gothic theme, being set in a 'spooky, dark, "Addams Family"-esque high school'. The video features product placement from Sony and Mini. Mika uses a Sony Xperia Z to text an invitation for a dinner party to his popular classmates who are bullying him. This is interlaced with scenes of the two brewing a potion in a witch's cauldron and scenes of them falling victim to bullying. Mika and Grande return to Mika's mansion in his talking car, a 2013 Mini Cooper. At the dinner party, the bullies consume their drinks drugged with the potion, and turn to stone. They are then ruthlessly smashed into pieces by Mika and Grande, with the former using a candlestick and the latter using a food tray. However, the video ends with a twist: as Mika and Grande have a toast and the former takes a sip from his drink, the video flashes back to when the two were children and Mika is seen kicking down Grande's castle made of wooden blocks. As Grande glares coldly at him, Mika subsequently turns to stone as well. The video then ends with Grande smirking evilly at the camera. The gothic theme of the video and its vengeful nature, as well as the costume worn by Mika as he and Grande are shown 'cooking', is generally considered reminiscent of the aesthetic and plot of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd, tying back to the musical theatre roots of the song established in modifying a song from Wicked.

Critical reception[]

Bryon Flitsch of MTV's Buzzworthy noted that "Popular Song" is a different view of Mika's previous efforts, stating that its "peppy beat + catchy melody + playful lyrics = perfect song to bounce around to." Furthermore, Flitsch also praised Grande's vocals in the song for being "flawless" alongside Mika's. Marques Daniels of Examiner devises that "Popular Song" is a song to inspire bullied and unpopular people to stand up. Daniels also praised the song for being a stand out track.

Gallery[]

Videos[]

Trivia[]

  • Grande is only featured on the single version and Yours Truly release of the song, not on the album version.
  • The song was recorded around the same time as "Boyfriend Material".
  • Grande had said in a live stream months prior to the album’s release that the song would not be on her album.
  • The song was released on January 8, 2013.
  • Frankie Grande tweeted about this song.
  • Grande laughs at 1:43 because the producer said "Big floppy penis" into her headphones.[1]
  • In the single version, Jason Nevins is credited with Ariana, but on the credits listed for the Yours Truly release, he isn't credited.
  • The song is the only song on Yours Truly not to be performed at The Listening Sessions.
  • This song has only been performed live once with both artists. However, Mika did perform the original version of the track at Coachella in 2022.

Lyrics[]

[Intro: Ariana Grande]
La-la, la-la

[Verse 1: Ariana Grande, MIKA & Both]
You were the popular one, the popular chick
It is what it is, now I'm popular-ish
Standin' on the field with your pretty pompom
Now you're workin' at the movies sellin' popular corn
I coulda been a mess, but I never went wrong
'Cause I'm puttin' down my story in a popular song (La-la, la-la)
Ah-ah, I said I'm puttin' down my story in a popular song

[Pre-Chorus: MIKA & Ariana Grande]
My problem, I never was a model
I never was a scholar, but you were always popular
You were singin' all the songs I don't know
Now you're in the front row 'cause my song is popular

[Chorus: MIKA & Both]
Popular, I know about popular
It's not about who you are or your fancy car
You're only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do is be true to you
That's all you ever need to know
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[Post-Chorus: Both, Ariana Grande]
So catch up 'cause you got an awful long way to go
So catch up 'cause you got an awful long way to go (Hey)

[Verse 2: Ariana Grande, MIKA & Both]
Always on the lookout for someone to hate
Pickin' on me like a dinner plate
You hid during classes and in-between 'em
Dunk me in the toilets, now it's you that cleans them
You tried to make me feel bad with the things you do
It ain't so funny when the joke's on you
Ooh, the joke's on you
Got everyone laughin', got everyone clappin', askin'
How come you look so cool?
'Cause that's the only thing that I learned at school, boy
Uh-huh, I said that's the only thing that I learned at school

[Pre-Chorus: MIKA & Ariana Grande]
My problem, I never was a model
I never was a scholar, but you were always popular
You were singin' all the songs I don't know
Now you're in the front row, 'cause my song is popular

[Chorus: MIKA, Both & Ariana Grande]
Popular, I know about popular
It's not about who you are or your fancy car
You're only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do is be true to you
That's all you ever need to know (That's all you ever need to know)
[Post-Chorus: MIKA & Ariana Grande]
So catch up 'cause you got an awful long way to go
So catch up 'cause you got an awful long way to go

[Bridge: Ariana Grande & MIKA]
That's all you ever need to know
You're only ever who you were (Oh, baby)
That's all you ever need to know (Oh, baby)
You're only ever who you were (Hey, hey)
That's all you ever need to know (Ooh-ooh)
That's all you ever need to know

[Chorus: MIKA, Ariana Grande & Both]
Popular, I know about popular
It's not about who you are or your fancy car
You're only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular (That's all you ever need to know)
It's not about who you are or your fancy car
You're only ever who you were (That's all you ever need to know)
Popular, I know about popular (That's all you ever need to know)
And all that you have to do is be true to you
That's all you ever need to know
That's all you ever need to know

References[]

Yours Truly
August 30, 2013 • 46:28 • Republic Records
Songs
Released Almost Is Never EnoughBaby IBetter Left UnsaidDaydreamin'Honeymoon AvenueLovin' ItPianoPopular SongRight ThereTattooed HeartThe WayYou'll Never Know
Unreleased 3OH!3 OuttakeBoyfriend MaterialButterfliesDo You Love MeFirst TimeHumanILABLa Vie En RoseNobody Does It BetterOh, DarlingParachutePink ChampagnePlease Don't Let Me GoPut Your Hearts UpRealSandmanSaturday Love'Til We Finally MeetUnknown Nick Jonas DuetUnknown Nick Jonas BalladUnknown Sean Kingston CollaborationVoodoo LoveYoung LoveYou're My Only Shawty
Artists
Ariana GrandeBig SeanDemi LovatoGreyson ChanceJ BalvinJade NovahKing LosMac MillerMIKANathan SykesPebe SebertSean KingstonTaro HakaseThe Dap Kings • 3OH!3
Tour
The Listening Sessions
Featured Songs
Republic Records
Songs
Released AdoreA Hand For Mrs. ClausAll My LoveArturo SandovalBedBetter DaysBoys Like YouDance To ThisDie For You (Remix)FaithGet On Your KneesGood As Hell (Remix)HeatstrokeI Don't Do DrugsIt Was A... (Masked Christmas)Just Look UpMet Him Last NightMy Favorite PartOh Santa!Over And Over AgainPopular SongQuitResearchRule The WorldSave Your Tears (Remix)Santa, Can't You Hear MeTake CareTimeWhat Do You Mean? (Remix)You Don't Own Me
Unreleased Best FriendsBlessedBRBCheck InDon't Be Gone Too LongEsta NocheFuckin' With YouIn Your HandsJust BecauseMachine Gun Kelly CollaborationMyronNo Love for the LonelyTalk To MeThis One's For YouTill It's OverTrapstar NimaWish You Would
Artists
Ariana GrandeArturo SandovalBiaBig SeanCalvin HarrisCashmere CatDemi LovatoDoja CatDonald Glover • Idina Menzel • Jennifer HudsonJimmy FallonJustin BieberKelly ClarksonKendrick LamarKid CudiKristin ChenowethLeon Thomas IIILizzoMachine Gun KellyMac MillerMajor LazerMariah CareyMegan Thee StallionMeghan TrainorMikaNathan SykesNicki MinajPharrell WilliamsPopstar NimaStevie WonderThe WeekndTroye SivanVictoria MonétWho Is FancyYoung Thug2 Chainz
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