Mika is looking for something, what
that is exactly is still murky to me after listening to Life In
Cartoon Motion, the British pop star's debut album, which goes on
sale in the US today...but definitely something.
Mika offers in Life In Cartoon
Motion a fusion of pop-cultures of recent times -- including
campy Bee Gees lyrics, Elton John theatrical excess, and Scissor
Sisters tomfoolery -- intricately woven into something entirely new,
exciting, and uniquely his own.
The album's first single “Grace
Kelly”, already a hit in the UK, ironically asks “Why don't you
like me?” to a joyful piano harmony. “Grace Kelly” is full of
faux self-contempt and wit, yet its uplifting spirit gives us reasons
to dance. The single is definitely addictive. Also addictive is
“Love Today” a big re-affirming disco chorus that offers campy
feel good lyrics. Yet it's the melodrama of “Billy Brown” that
gets all the attention due to its gay-inclusive lyrics:
Brown had lived an ordinary life.
Two kids, a
dog, and a cautionary wife.
While it was
all going according to plan
Brown fell in love with another man.”
Just like that.
Yet don't be subdued into thinking Life
In Cartoon Motion is all high-falsettos, disco-strobe lights, and
feathered boas ala Scissor Sisters. OK, it is mostly, the live show
even including a full circus act. But small glimpses full of deeper
emotions can be found on the ballads “My Interpretation” and “Any
Other World”. Again Mika asks about love and acceptance, is this
what he's looking for? I'll let you decide.
In Cartoon Motion is Mika's first effort, the 22 year old
has devoted much of his young life to musical labors. Mika grew up in London, the product of a Lebanese mother and an American father.
They landed in London after living in Paris, which was after Beirut.
All this turbulence caused great distress to our young hero. On his
website, Mika talks about the experience, “It was the combination
of moving as well as a horrible time I had at school in the first few
years of living in London that lead me to forget how to read and
write, and stop talking for a little while. I was pulled out of
school for over six months; in order to sort my self out and find a
new school. This is when music really became important. It got me
back on my feet. After I started singing as a boy I started to get
jobs everywhere. With the help of a terrifyingly tough Russian
singing teacher, I got to be really good at professional gigs. I did
everything from recordings with the Royal Opera House to the Orbit
Chewing gum jingle.”
Mika was quickly listed on Rolling
Stones “10 Artist to Watch” column after Life
In Cartoon Motion was released in the UK on February 14th.
Click here to visit Amazon.com & hear samples from Life In Cartoon Motion