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iN THE NEWS In Review - Mika: Life in Cartoon Motion

Cautionary Wife

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Casablanca, out February 5th.


In a nutshell…


Eclectic. Fun. Glam. Energetic. Different.


What's it all about?


Following the success of his first single Grace Kelly, Life in Cartoon Motion is the debut album from Mika, the colourful new young star who has burst on to the UK scene in technicolor, causing a sensation among music lovers and experts alike.


Highlights from the much-anticipated album include the current number one single Grace Kelly, Big Girl – an ego boost for the larger lady – reminiscent of Queen's Fat Bottomed Girls, and Relax, which cannot escape without Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Pet Shop Boy comparisons. Meanwhile, the simplistic Billy Brown is a catchy Penny Lane-esque tune, which would have done the Beatles proud. Happy Ending is a beautiful song, which shows off Mika's musicality and brilliant five-octave range in a calmer manner than his more flamboyant efforts at the start of the album, joined by a choir crescendo making it the perfect end to a brilliant album.


The 11-track album is jam-packed with tunes – each one very different to the one before, but yet each reminding you of some artist that has gone before, mixing electro-pop with glam rock, with 1960s ballad, with a little bit of gospel thrown in.


Who's it by?


Mika, a 23-year-old Beirut-born singer/songwriter, has already been hailed as the next Freddie Mercury. His fantastic range and rousing falsetto were perfected during music lessons organised by his mother after a period of difficulty at school when he was a young boy. Britain's next big thing even sang soprano at the Royal Opera House at the age of 15 as part of a production of Vaughan Williams' The Pilgrim's Progress.


At a young age it was clear that the flamboyant youngster was destined for greater things. Knockbacks from record labels who requested that he tone down his image led him to write the current number one single Grace Kelly, with its lyrics "Should I bend over? Should I look older just to be put on the shelf?" sending out a message of survival to the media moguls who shut the door in his face.


Now Mika has a lot of pressure on him to step into the glam, camp shoes left vacant by Freddie Mercury's death. Only time will tell whether he fills them.


As an example…

"Oh Billy Brown had lived an ordinary life

Two kids a dog and then a cautionary wife

While it was all going according to plan

Then Billy Brown fell in love with another man."

- Billy Brown


"I try to be like Grace Kelly

But all her looks were too sad

So I try a little Freddie

I've gone identity mad!"

- Grace Kelly


Likelihood of a trip to the Grammys


The Americans probably aren't ready for a character as out-there as Mika quite yet, but he's sure to win a number of UK awards.


What the others say


"The disco-panto of Scissor Sisters; the retro-MOR of the Feeling; the over-milked moo-cow that is the Guilty Pleasures franchise: Mika takes these voguish sounds and gives them a fantastic, vertiginous ultra-pop spin." – The Observer


"There's enough promise here to confirm that the hype about Mika is pretty much on the money. Expect him to be around for a lot longer than the next 12 months." – Music OMH


So is it any good?


Life in Cartoon Motion is one of the most refreshing albums to have come out of Britain in a long time. While drawing from a plethora of influences from the Scissor Sisters to Gwen Stefani to the Pet Shop Boys to Queen, Mika steals the best bits of these artists' talents and makes it his unique, flamboyant own.


There are no fillers on the album and it is full of catchy tunes which you won't be able to get out of your brain, whether you like them or not.


While it's great to see such an eclectic album with its innovative use of a variety of different styles, as Mika sings in Grace Kelly, he's gone "identity mad", and future efforts will need the star to show his own style, rather than re-branding styles gone by.




Chine Mbubaegbu

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