Cautionary Wife Posted February 17, 2007 Share Posted February 17, 2007 THE MANEATER By Hannah Hayes, Staff Writer. February 16, 2007. The album lacks originality but uses varied musical influences. Have you ever dreamt of sailing over a rainbow with Freddie Mercury on a bicycle or playing keyboards for Modern English? Well, since Freddie is permanently unavailable and uh, Modern English is too, Mika would like to take you on that rainbow cruise, and he’ll be sure to feed you gumdrops and lollipops on the way. He’s hurtful, purple, dirty, flirty, dyslexic and Lebanese, debuting with Life in Cartoon Motion, which pulsates with the beats of his idols, Queen, Michael Jackson, Prince, Elton John, The Beatles and Harry Nilsson. Talk about an identity crisis, but such a turbulent album only makes sense for a man’s turbulent past. Raised in Beirut during the height of the war in the 1980s, his father was taken hostage at an American embassy while his family fled to Paris, leaving Mika with only music to cling to. His family eventually settled in London where Mika acquired his theatrical, exaggerated performance antics from his turn in a Richard Strauss opera when he was 11. At the start of his musical career he did recordings with the Royal Opera House and even the Orbit gum jingle. But Mika’s done with chewing gum; he’s more interested in being a musical ringleader, like his idols. Although unintended, Mika’s voice is haunting almost identical to Freddie Mercury’s, especially in his song “Billy Brown,” which itself is reminiscent of Queen’s “Loverboy.” Mika even boasts his own ode to fat-bottomed girls, “Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)”. Life in Cartoon Motion continues to draw lines to Mercury and beyond. His first single “Relax (Take It Easy)” plays with the melody from Cutting Crew’s solitary hit, “(I Just) Died in Your Arms,” and “Lollipop” is a sunshiny, double-dutch rhyme set to trombones. His current single “Grace Kelly” serves as a revenge ditty for record labels that wanted him to be more mainstream. In an exercise of his confidence, Mika sent the lyrics “Should I bend over, should I look older/ just to be put on the shelf” along with the “Grace Kelly” demo to an executive who turned him away. Mika claims The Beatles taught him that he could put anything in a pop song and make it work, but is the work his own or is Life in Cartoon Motion more of a tribute album to the influence of Mercury? It no doubt delivers as a proficient collection of falsetto-fueled pop, but each track seems to lean so heavily on inspiration from the ghosts of great music past that his originality feels well, uninspired. Mika’s success might not expand past the U.K. indie scene, or he could be 2007’s breakout solo artist. His future is as much of a mystery as his sexuality. --- CW, Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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