Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)

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"Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)"
Single by Mika
from the album Life in Cartoon Motion
B-side "Instant Martyr"
Released 16 July 2007 (2007-07-16)
Format
Recorded 2006
Genre
Length 4:10 (album version)
3:09 (radio edit)
Label Island
Writer(s)
  • Mika (Mica Penniman)
  • Jodi Marr
  • John Merchant
  • Andres Orue
  • Dan Warner
Producer(s) Greg Wells
Certification Gold (ARIA)
Mika singles chronology
"Love Today"
(2007)
"Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)"
(2007)
"Happy Ending"
(2007)

"Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" is the fourth single from the debut album Life in Cartoon Motion of singer Mika. It reached number 9 in the UK charts after it was released on 23 July 2007. It was inspired by, and written for the Butterfly Lounge, the first Size Acceptance nightclub in Orange County, California.[1] The club is mentioned specifically in the lyrics "Get yourself to the Butterfly Lounge. Find yourself a big lady", and is now their theme song.[2] A B-side of the single is "Standing in the Way of Control".

The song was met with mixed reviews from music critics. The song peaked at number 9 in the United Kingdom (his third top 10 hit in that country), and reached the top ten in Ireland, Finland, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Background and writing[edit]

Many people speculate that Mika wrote the song as a tribute to Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls", but in promotional materials for Life In Cartoon Motion, he states that this is not the case at all:

"I was flying to Los Angeles the next day and I can never sleep because I hate flying so much. So I was watching trashy television, it was two o'clock in the morning, a Victoria Wood documentary on Channel 4. It was about fat people in the United States and she visited a club called The Butterfly Lounge, which was the first place of its kind, a club for larger women to hang out in. Skinny women were not being allowed in. The women were amazing and I absolutely felt as if I had to write about them. I muted the television and wrote it straight away. I never expected it on the album, but a few weeks later we recorded it and it's now there. So it is one of my favourite tracks and brilliant to play live. Everyone sings along!"[3]

The song features Afro-pop-inspired guitars and harmonies.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

The song received mostly mixed reviews from music critics. Beth Johnson from Entertainment Weekly referred to the song as "an update of Queen's 'Fat Bottomed Girls'."[5] Sal Cinquemani from Slant Magazine agreed, writing that the song " is nothing if not a disco-fied exaltation to Queen's 'Fat Bottomed Girls'."[6] John Murphy from musicOMH wrote a negative review, saying that the song is "an ode to the delights of the larger lady, wraps up its laudable message inside a tune that grates in the worst possible way."[7] Graham Griffith from About.com wrote that "the disco-lite 'Big Girl (You Are Beautiful),' which includes an admirable sentiment, fails to distinguish itself otherwise."[8] Liz Colville from Pitchfork Media said that it is "a pumping, chorus-infested jam session complete with gospel backup singers that tragically feels the need to reassure big girls they can be beautiful."[9]

Lizzie Ennever from BBC Music wrote a positive review, saying that the track is "upbeat, poppy, all-singing, all-dancing, big-band."[10] Alexander Berntsen from Sputnikmusic wrote a positive review, saying that the song is "an incredibly fun (and happy!) tune, a genius moment. Hilarious indeed."[11]

Music video[edit]

The video was filmed on 19 May 2007 and features several curvy women running down Croydon high street and Surrey Street Market in corsets and dresses. The finale of the video features a whole gathering of curvy women celebrating.

In pop culture[edit]

Mika has also rerecorded the track as the promo theme for the second season of the American comedy-drama series Ugly Betty, but with altered lyrics to say "Hey Betty, you are beautiful" in its chorus.[12] Mika explained to the Sun newspaper: "Betty is a real fashion icon and we should celebrate anyone like her - genuine individuals who stay true to their own identity. That's what 'Big Girl' is all about so it was the perfect fit to change the song for her. It was a huge honor to be asked to do it. I love the show."[3] In Australia, Crazy John TV advertisements used a sample of this song. In Spain, the Galician TV station Televisión de Galicia used samples of this song in the show O show dos Tonechos. The song is featured in the Ubisoft video game Just Dance 2 for the Nintendo Wii.

Track listing[edit]

UK CD Single
  1. "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" - 4:10
  2. "Instant Martyr"
  3. "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)" (Live)
  4. "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" (Tom Middleton Remix) - 5:52
Limited Edition 7" Single
  1. "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" - 4:10
  2. "Standing In The Way Of Control" (Live) (From Radio 1's Big Weekend)
UK 12" Vinyl
  1. "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" (Tom Middleton Remix) - 5:52
  2. "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" (Bonde Do Role Remix) - 3:48
  3. "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" (Lo-Fi-Fnk Remix) - 6:12
  4. "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" (Hick Nurdman Remix) - 5:44

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BFLMIKA02". Butterfly Lounge. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "UK Singer Mika and the Butterfly Lounge". Fattie Gossip. 3 July 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) by Mika Songfacts". Songfacts. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Phares, Heather. "Life in Cartoon Motion - Mika | AllMusic". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Johnson, Beth (30 March 2007). "Life in Cartoon Motion Review | Music Reviews and News - | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc. Retrieved 5 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (17 March 2007). "Mika: Life In Cartoon Motion | Music Review | Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  7. ^ Murphy, John (5 February 2007). "Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion | album reviews | musicOMH". MusicOMH. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "MIKA - Life in Cartoon Motion". About.com. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  9. ^ Colville, Liz (17 April 2007). "Mika: Life in Cartoon Motion | Album Reviews | Pitchfork". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 8 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Ennever, Lizzie (2 February 2007). "BBC - Music - Review of Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion". BBC. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  11. ^ Berntsen, Alexander (10 February 2007). "Mika - Life in Cartoon Motion (album review) | Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Mika's Ugly Moment". Sky Showbiz. 16 August 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  14. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  15. ^ "Ultratop.be – Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  16. ^ "Ultratop.be – Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  17. ^ "Mika Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Mika. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
  18. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200745 into search.
  19. ^ "Mika: Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  20. ^ "Chartverfulgong > Mika > Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  21. ^ "Chart Track: Week 9, 2000". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Mika search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  23. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)". VG-lista. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  24. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200745 into search.
  25. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  26. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Mika – Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  27. ^ "Archive Chart: 2007-08-04" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 2011-05-13.
  28. ^ "Viva Single Jahrescharts 2007". viva.tv (in German). Retrieved 14 August 2011. 
  29. ^ "Accreditations - 2008 Singles". ARIA Charts. Archived from the original on 29 August 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 

External links[edit]