"Popular Song" is a song by Lebanese-British singer-songwriter Mika, released as the second single in the United States from his third studio album, The Origin of Love. The song features American singer and actress Ariana Grande. The track was written by Mika, Priscilla Renea, Mathieu Jomphe and Stephen Schwartz, and produced by Mika and Greg Wells. The new remix version featuring Ariana Grande was produced by Jason Nevins.
The song is an updated cover of the original version, based on the song "Popular" from the musical Wicked. The album version of the song features vocals from Priscilla Renea, and features expletives. However, the single version replaces Renea with Ariana Grande, removes the expletives, and modifies the instrumental arrangement and tempo to create a version which heavily links to Mika's former hits, Grace Kelly and We Are Golden. The new remix version, produced by Jason Nevins, is the main version which was officially released.
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 based on the original from Wicked, and uses a very rough tempo and instrumentation, to fit in with the theme of the album. 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, changed the instrumentation and tempo, and reworked the song's structure.
The music video was released on 29 April 2013, 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 smashed into pieces. 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. Mika subsequently turns to stone as well.
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.com devise 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.