Review Summary: A good pop but lacking originality
MIKA – LIFE IN CARTOON MOTION
Ehm…hope I've got it right. This "my surename and sexuality don't matter" guy doesn't take himself seriously, does he?
He's a great pop singer and I wish him just the best. His debut album is entertaining and moving at the same time. He's a gifted singer and from what I've seen so afr an extraordinary peformer as well. But I've got one problem here.
He ain't original. It's not the songs, the songs are good enough but his singing sounds like Freddie Mercury (OK, I think he admits it in "Grace Kelly", doesn't he), some late 90's/early 00's boyband, Robbie Williams and Jake Shears (which itself is something – Shears sounds like Barry Gibb, Elton John and George Michael, depends on the type of song he sings). And that's what kind of spoils the whole thing for me. I wanna listen to Mika, not to Freddie in the first song, Backstreet Boys in the third one and Scissor Sisters in the fifth one (and so on).
I said the songs were good. Not just good, VERY good. It's intelligent, well written and well produced pop music. I like pop music. I listen only to pop music - Tom Waits, The Dresden Dolls and Regina Spektor included, it's all pop to me– my definition of pop music is quite original, I know, BUT when I say that Mika's music is a very good pop, I mean "pop" at its poppiest and and at its best. He's absorbed many kind of music styles and made something entertaining, moving and very well listenable out of it. Plus the lyrics are witty and mostly intelligent (which you don't get very often).
Each of the songs could be a single, most of them are upbeat radio stuff just great for a sunny summer day, but there are some exeptions: an Elton-like balad "Any Other World" and a hidden track "Over My Shoulder" – one of the most beautiful songs I've heard recently. I wish this was the true Mika. In this song he doesn't sound like anyone else, the mood of the song may remind someone of Antony (and the Johnsons) but the voice doesn't. This is the originality I've been looking for, it's a pitty that it's just a hidden thing - but I have to admit that it wouldn't fit that well with the pop-opera monumentality of the album. It's too subtle, too fragile and everything but mainstream.
I'm really looking forward to hearing more from this man, as Brandon Flowers may say: "he's got potential".
"Is there anybody home?
Who'll believe me, won't deceive me, who'll try to teach me?
Is there anybody home?
Who wants to have me, just to love me?"
(Stuck In The Middle)