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Life In Cartoon Motion Review from Cape Town, SA

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An album review from SOUTH AFRICA!! Great write-up. Refreshing - makes me want to put the record on again and dance about the room.







Life In Cartoon Motion

Lance Witten

Wed, 18 Apr 2007


Infectious. That’s what it is. Infectious. MIKA  born in 1983 as Michael Holbrook Penniman in Beirut to a Lebanese mom and American dad  and his debut album 'Life in Cartoon Motion' are simply infectious.


Whether it gets up your nose, gets your head bobbing, gets on your nerves, or gets you to sing falsetto  straining your voice, drawing glances of suspicion in the traffic from fellow motorists  it’s going to get to you somehow.


You see, it touches you in a way musicians have simply not been able to since Queen and The Beatles. Of course, 'Cartoon Motion' doesn’t come anywhere near the legendary status of those aforementioned icons, it's just that a large part of the album is somewhat a tribute to the “real†music of days gone bye.


MIKA (known for the better part of his life as Mica) fled Lebanon with his folks to Paris and there attend the Lycée Francais Charles de Gaulle and the Royal College of Music where he studied, among other things, Russian opera, performing at the Royal Opera House in London.


His performance jobs have been eclectic, ranging from operatic performances to writing in-flight music for British Airways and creating a jingle for Orbit Chewing Gum. But now he's reached the solo album phase of his career.


It kicks off with his big radio debut, 'Grace Kelly' which has nothing to do with the late Matriarch of Monaco, but is just as memorable, sticking in your head long after the notes have faded into the ether.


'Lollipop' follows, leaning heavily towards bubblegum pop, but has a delightful playground feel; you could almost picture a group of kids with a skipping rope repeating the song’s contagious refrain: "Sucking too hard on your lollipop, oh love’s gonna get you down."


One or two of the tracks may have you checking to see whether they were perhaps written by David Bowie, the heavy Ziggy Stardust influence blatant, and refreshingly different from the standard mass-produced pop we're bombarded with these days.


The soulful ballad 'Any Other World', with its melodic rolling string ensemble accompaniment, is wonderfully uplifting. As is the honky-tonk piano of 'Stuck in the Middle', harking back to the Fab Foursome’s glory years before the sitar-playing, pot-smoking days of their obscure-lyric-smacked post-“Jesus remark†albums.


You’ll notice the Queen flavour too, not only in a line from one of the songs ("I tried to be like Grace Kelly, but all her looks were too sad; So I tried a little Freddie"), but also in the 'Fat-bottomed girls'-esque 'Big Girl (You are Beautiful)'.


Once you’ve listened to the tracks over and over again (you’ll want to, trust me) you’ll understand why people have compared him to the likes of Robbie Williams, Scissor Sisters, Elton John, as well as those aforementioned legends of pop music.


Look out for the achingly beautiful bonus track 'Over My Shoulder' which maybe should’ve been sung by women (it’s that high). But it works nonetheless and is in keeping with this artist’s wacky style of interpretation.


Love it or hate it, MIKA has arrived… and has the Platinum certification, and chart-topping tracks to prove it.


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