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Don't know if this has been posted but thought I'd post it anyhow:mf_rosetinted:




Froth and bubble makes for unexpected fun

Bernard Zuel | June 4, 2007



The Forum, June 2


THE line between contrivance and sincerity is always a tricky thing to walk in pop music. Romantics like to think that everything is spontaneous, that songs come from a wellspring of inspiration. The cynics prefer to believe that everyone's a chancer, appropriating the work of betters via unvarnished ambition.


The truth straddles both camps. Because as music fans we really want to believe, even if for only three or four minutes, for many artists the most important trick is to disguise the contrivance or at least to distract us from it while the talent (they hope) dazzles.


Mika (London-based Michael Penniman) does not bother with such thoughts. His songs are the Pompidou Centre of 21st-century pop: every part of their workings is up-front, brightly coloured and in your face.


He has constructed a sound which gleefully ransacks Queen (usually Freddie Mercury doing music hall), Dolly Parton and Leo Sayer (if they had gone disco), Robbie Williams (or Queen crossed with Anthony Newley) and the Scissor Sisters (Queen in a nightclub) and puts them into place with little shame at the blatant appropriation. It can be very irritating.


But here's the rub: it can be very entertaining. Mika is a glorious bon bon, a confection completely without substance but so easy to succumb to. He works the stage and the room like a variety show king; he vamps and camps it up like a mardi gras queen; he deploys his falsetto like a guided missile; he gets silly with band members in furry animal suits in the encore. He works bloody hard.


As Grace Kelly ends the set, an hour in, grumbling seems poor form. When the appropriately named Lollipop finishes the night, with balloons and confetti raining down, you're left thinking that while this will cause a sugar high which will crash into emptiness, someone's been having fun. And it feels like you.

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